September 21, 2017
Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and evangelist
The Gospel Today
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
Reflection (Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco)
Matthew promptly responded to the call of Jesus, without letting any confusion and doubts get in the way. I just thought that maybe, it will be a lot easier to respond to a call if you heard it as an audible ‘voice’. But Jesus is not always calling that way.
I remembered that when I was still studying at the University of Santo Tomas, the time when I can say that I went back to the faith after years of indifference towards it. It was then that I started considering becoming a priest.
I recalled then, I had my spiritual director, who told me to take things slowly, because I might just be carried away by my emotions. I listened. I have postponed my response to what seems to me, Jesus’ call.
The inner desire to become a priest never left me until I have applied again for two other seminaries but rejected me. In face of rejection, I began to think differently. Maybe, priesthood was not for me, after all.
But the following years after the bitter rejections, that “inner force” gave me no rest. That is why last year, I have again taken steps to apply to the seminary. And now I am a seminarian.
I do not know what God holds for me in the future but I know that what is more important is to respond to His call. I might not be like Matthew and other apostles who were prompt in responding to Jesus’ call but I want to be the one who is always ready to respond even in face of rejection.
Jesus’ call can be as powerful as an audible voice but it can also be as gentle as a silent and peaceful prompting in the heart. Whatever it might be, one cannot help but follow.