February 1, 2018
Thursday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two
and gave them authority over unclean spirits.
He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick
–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.
He said to them,
“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.
Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet
in testimony against them.”
So they went off and preached repentance.
The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
Reflection (Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura)
My first semester break in the seminary became memorable because of an adventurous experience in Talim Island. This is the remotest and poorest parish in the Diocese of Antipolo. I was asked by our Bishop to accompany him as he would administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to more than 300 youth there. The Bishop left me there in the parish so I could also campaign for diocesan vocation in the Masses the next day.
I was happy to see the beauty of nature and the vibrancy of faith of the people. They were all eager to celebrate Mass in their chapel. But there was only one priest assigned there to minister the Church’s sacrament to fourteen chapels which can only be reached by riding a motor boat. I felt I was like fishing future fishers of men by campaigning for priestly vocation.
I was raised in a city whose parish is very accessible to us. After experiencing Talim Island, I was faced by the fact that a much greater work would be awaiting the future servant ministers of the Church.
The Gospel for today speaks about the kind of ministry that awaits the disciples of the Lord. Discipleship demands sacrifice, and Jesus never hid that cost. The Lord assures that trials would always come to His followers. Even if following Jesus would entail rejection, we have the Lord’s assurance that His peace is what we are bringing and sharing to the people. Just like what I have been experiencing in our weekend apostolates, whenever I am confronted with obstacles, I believe that the grace of God will never be lacking. I do not worry because, after all, the work I do is more God’s work than my own. I take courage and hope for God’s work to flourish through me.