Last January 15, 2012, a group of Doctors from Virac, led by Dr. Joselito Urgel, and priests from the AHFI community, conducted a Medical-Ophthalmic-Relief (and Spiritual) Mission in Baras, Catanduanes. It started with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, not only because the patients were mostly Catholics, but because the group acknowledged that what they shared, their talents and skills, the goods that they brought with them to be given away, came from no one else but from God.
All of us have our own share of gifts coming from God. The life that we have is probably the first and the best of all gifts. Our achievements in life, our successes and experiences from where we learn a lot about life, all of them are gifts from God. So, we can say that we were really gifted with almost everything that we need. Of course, there are still a lot of gifts that we may ask for and are longing for to receive, but we know that we cannot force any giver to give us those lacking gifts. It will always depend on the generosity of the giver of the gifts.
We all have our gifts to open and to enjoy! This is a fact that we are all aware of. We had been gifted with gifts that can benefit not only ourselves, but also those people and everyone and everything around us. So, in order for these various gifts to have a meaning, our duty is to share them and use them to the fullest extent not only for ourselves but for others especially those who need them the most.
We have different status in life and we have different tasks to fulfill. Some are simple parents of a family, some are ordinary workers in the fields and fishermen, and some are into some special practice to help and serve other people. But no matter what we do in order to serve, our duty is to do our obligations with the heart of Christ. If you are just a father or a mother of your children, then be parents just like Mary and Joseph when the took care of the Child, Jesus. If you are working in an office, then do your job according to the letter and do what you are only asked to do with all your conscience.
Those some other guys with special tasks to serve the whole humanity, as professionals like our doctors, engineers, lawyers, and even priests, please have the courage to share your gifts, your talents and skills, without depending on the money that you can get because of the services that you give. Indeed, you are gifted and you need to share those gifts.
I was ordained some 20 years ago and I must admit I had been so selfish especially during those first years in my ministry. I did all what needed to be done but, most of the time, I did those things only when I felt like doing them. I did not allow my duties as a priest to affect my personal schedules and I always prioritized my selfish wants and needs. I am guilty of giving importance and accommodating the wishes of the rich over the requests of the poor to bury their dead or administer the anointing of the sick inside their stinking house and suffocating neighborhood. I am guilty of giving priority to bless houses built inside lucrative subdivisions rather than to bless those houses of the poor built in some squatter areas.
We all have our own ups and downs. We all have our own challenges in life that we have to face and address before it brings us down to the miry clay of our own defeat and destruction. We all need to realize the call for us to be like Christ because this is our primordial vocation to our life of holiness.
In my priestly ministry, I had a lot of chances and opportunities to enrich myself. I was assigned to various places was assigned even outside the country with a fixed salary way above my imagination. However, I still decided to go home because I believe that to be a real priest is to wear the heart of the priesthood of Christ. I may have done nasty things and things unbecoming of a priest, but now is my time to pay them back. I am still struggling, though, but I know in my heart that I can make it… not to perfect that priesthood in me, but to simply pluck out some imperfections one by one until they are all gone.
I did not set a deadline for this aspiration to come true but I have decided to do it one step at a time so it will be easier for me to do. I hope this will not take a lifetime and I hope to succeed with the grace of God and your prayers.
We all have been gifted with God’s love and we must give that love to everyone around us!