September 9, 2017
Saturday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”
Reflection (Sem. Justin G. Gatus)
Last July 28, we participated in the 4th Philippine Conference on the New Evangelization. I was excited for it was my first time to attend the said event at a famous university. Upon reaching the venue, we were called and asked by the student affairs office staff to become volunteers of the said event. This is due to the rainy weather at that time, that caused the university to declare no classes. For this reason, they cannot force their volunteer students to come and do their task. And so they opted to have seminarians as their volunteers. Initially, I felt resistant and hesitant to do the volunteer’s tasks. I said to myself, “we are here as participants and not volunteers!” During the course of the day, even though I was smiling, there was something in me that was resisting. When we got back to the seminary, I reflected on what I have felt before going to sleep. I realized that I failed to become charitable and extend my patient understanding to the organizers regarding the unforeseen event which triggered the university to ask help from us seminarians. The following day, I saw a lot of people who were happy because there were happy, polite, and courteous volunteers in the university grounds. Their smiles and nods were enough consolation for me knowing that they were satisfied with our ushering and assisting tasks.
The Gospel for today invites us to choose charity over regulations and directions. In some circumstances, we are invited to extend our charity towards others even to the point of setting aside over personal expectations. In our seminary formation, there is a constant discernment required from us between charity and regulations and laws. These must be considered with utmost care and prudence in order for us to identify which is for the greater glory of God and of greatest service to His people.
In life, we are bound by numerous rules and laws. If we abide by them without considering charity, we might become life the Pharisees who follow the laws but lose the spirit of the law. We must always remember that charity is the heart of regulations and directions. It is good to ask ourselves in such situations, “What would Jesus do?” Of course, He would always choose the rule to love—charity above all.