Sacerdos in Aeternum by Rev. Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla:

Travel Light

When Jesus sent out his twelve disciples on a mission, He sent them two by two and instructed them to take nothing for their journey but, a walking stick, and sandals for their feet. They were not allowed to bring food, money, and not even an extra tunic. Still, they went on their journey and they were able to preach repentance, they were able to drive away many demons, and they cured their diseases and illnesses.

They went on a mission with practically nothing to fall back on, just in case their mission failed. What they had with them was their faith and trust that the Lord would always be with them all the time. They were so confident that the places they were going to, and the people they would be meeting along the way, would surely welcome them with kindness and generosity. Of course, the reason for this confidence is very obvious, they were put on a sacred mission, and they had nothing for that mission but obedience to God’s will, their faith in His love and their trust in His providence.

In my twenty-one years in the ministry, I was assigned to so many different places and had met almost all kinds of people along the way. I met people who were so generous, and on the other hand, people who were so insensitive to the needs of their pastor. People who were genuinely friendly, and people who were created in the likeness of Judas Iscariot.  But, as I have always observed, people treated me better in those places where I really tried my best to be one among them, by eating what they eat, feeling what they feel especially in their loneliness and struggles, and by trying simply to live the lives that they live.

Now, the world has already gone into a sudden twist, an opposite direction, and our priorities had been adversely affected. Some people, who had vowed to serve the needy and the poor are now blinded by the luxuries that this world is offering. Sad to note that this phenomenon is true even to those who had previously dedicated their lives in service to the Church and to the people of God.

As an ordinary human being, I can say that I had experienced almost everything in life. I have seen the beauty and the ugly part of my life. I was the one who decided to do those things I did in my life, bad or good. I also had the taste of joys in my little victories in life, as well as the taste of all those failures and mistakes. I was happiest when I was ordained, and I felt so down when I realized that I did not have the power in me to uphold those priestly promises, which I uttered freely, knowingly, and willfully in front of my Bishop. For all those sins against my vows, I am the only one to blame and no one else, and I take the full responsibility for all those mistakes. All I can say now is, I am so deeply sorry.

“Who is perfect anyway?” This popular question can be a good excuse, so that people will find it in their hearts to understand me. But, deep within, I know that this excuse is fit only for those who are frail and immature to be responsible for their actions. If I cannot be perfect, what is the use of wasting all those time and effort trying to be one? I may never be perfect, but I will keep on trying to be one, even if the winds and the storms seem to be going against my direction. After all I am a Christian and Christian life is a life-long attempt to attain perfection.

“Take nothing for the journey!” This was the instruction given by Jesus to His disciples. This is also the same instruction that He is giving to us right now. We are to take nothing except our faith and trust in Him, that in every situation, good or bad, He will always be there for our rescue. He will not allow us to fail, if only we will focus on what He is commanding us to do.

The complexities in our lives are usually brought to us by our efforts to take almost everything that may pass us by on our journey. The lure for money and power is always on the top of the list of these temptations and, for most people, they would rather go for the gross than to embrace the cross.

Life in this world is a journey. We must travel lightly and unload all those negative stuffs which we may have picked up along the way. Most often than not, these items are there because we failed to trust and believe that God will give us all that we will ever need in our journey. Journeying with God in our hearts and doing what needs to be done in our own missionary work because it is the will of God is the essence of travelling light.

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