October 20, 2017
Friday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
At that time:
So many people were crowding together
that they were trampling one another underfoot.
Jesus began to speak, first to his disciples,
“Beware of the leaven–that is, the hypocrisy–of the Pharisees.
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed,
nor secret that will not be known.
Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness
will be heard in the light,
and what you have whispered behind closed doors
will be proclaimed on the housetops.
I tell you, my friends,
do not be afraid of those who kill the body
but after that can do no more.
I shall show you whom to fear.
Be afraid of the one who after killing
has the power to cast into Gehenna;
yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.
Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”
Reflection (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)
“Do not be afraid.”
About three years ago, a fellow seminarian in our community, in a rather casual tone shared with me the challenges he faced from the formation. He told me how much he wished it would end the soonest. I saw him hurdle the remaining years of his formation, with a strong resolve to get it done. He is now a priest.
I think of him whenever I myself feel daunted by the demands of the formation, as I do now. I assure myself that all this will also end; that, as we often hear friends tell us, this too shall pass.
We all aspire for some great things, which we believe are more than ourselves. But it is not an easy task. It requires so much faith and courage to see it to the finish line, just as we have faith that it is truly a noble undertaking.
Abraham, the father of all nations, did not have it easy. He never knew what was forthcoming, whether the fruits of his labor or the rewards God would give him for it, but he just plunged to the challenge. St. Paul said that for just believing in God, Abraham was counted as a righteous man (Rom. 4:xx). In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples, not to be afraid. They are well accounted for.
Truly, I can say that in my own experience of discipleship, I pass through varied stages of doubt and sluggishness, for it seems that the tasks are beyond my capacity to endure. But looking at the example of some fine men in biblical history – and from my own community – there is a great future for those who wait and bravely, even though weakened sometimes by hard labor – fulfill the destiny God has carved out for them.
In faith I started my journey; in faith, I will aim to accomplish it.