(Note: this writer decided to give his reflections based on the following Sunday Gospel (after the publication), hoping that it will help the readers to reflect on the Gospel before they go to attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration.)
A lot of people say religions all over the world are just the same. There are those who believe in Buddha as their god. The Muslims rest their faith in Mohammed, while some others believe in Christ Jesus, and they are the Christians. The common contention is that all religions are the same. But I like to disagree with this erroneous belief simply because the founders or the pillars of these religions have their substantial differences. For one, and maybe the most notable, is the fact that only Christ claimed that He is God, and that He and the Father are one. We heard that in the discourse of Christ which He did right after the Last Supper. He knew that He will be taken away from His disciples in the fulfillment of His mission and so He decides to give them His words of advice and assurance of His great love for them. He is going before them simply to prepare a room for them in His Father’s house. So that where He might be so would His disciples be just the same. This is a very concrete way of showing how great God’s love for us is. He and the Father are one. Those who have seen Him had seen the Father who is dwelling in Him.
My dear friends, God loves us as a Father, and we are his children. When God was about to go back to his Father, He gave them words of assurance that soon they will be together in the Father’s house, and He is to prepare a room for them. God loves every one of us as a Father and so we must really act like His children. What He has in mind even during the moment when He knew that He is to return to His glory is nothing but to unite man with God himself. This is one aspect of love that we must always consider because true and genuine love really unites the lover and the beloved. That uniting factor is a mark of a true love and God’s love is simply like this. This celebration of the Holy Eucharist is an act of love because we are being united with God who loves us in our active participation in the sacrifice of the Mass, especially in the communion. In the mass we are being made one with God.
Incidentally, my dear friends, a priest like me, who was chosen from among men is an “alter Christus,” or another Christ. But then he is an ordinary man like everybody else except for the fact that he is the minister and the representative of Christ here on earth by virtue of the ordination which he gracefully received. In his ministry as a priest, he acts like a father to the faithful entrusted to his care and the shepherd of his flock. He gives his very life in his ministry so that Christ may well be seen in his very life. As a priest, his simple wish is to bring Christ to man and, in return, to be able to guide man to God himself. This is an extra-ordinary task that was placed on the shoulders of a priest. But aside from all these things, he is still a man like us. He is not an angel who is free from sin, and he is not an all-perfect being like God himself. He shares in the priesthood of Jesus himself in his efforts to make man one with God and in this aspect, he is just being true to his priesthood and to his being a Father. I do admire this greatest gift in my life with the fervent prayer that I may be a brother who can tell others what is right and what is wrong. I always longed to be there for you in all humility, at least, to give some advice and be a faithful friend, on whom you can lean. Some of you may not see these things in me but then what I am telling you now is for you to know the man and the priest inside each priest you see. Well, of course, we need your prayers because we are not angels, who are exempted from committing mistakes. We are human beings just like you but the task that was entrusted to us sometimes could make or break us without the support and prayers of the community.
Pray for your priests because most often than not, priests become the mirror of the community whom he serves. Let me end this by the lyrics of the song entitled; “The Priest.”
“To live in the midst of the world, without enjoying its pleasures. To be a member of every family yet belonging to none. To share all sufferings, to penetrate all secrets, to heal all wounds.
To go from men to God and offer Him their prayers, to return from God to man to bring pardon peace and hope.
To have a heart of fire for charity, and a heart of bronze for chastity; to teach and to pardon, to console and to bless, My God! What a life? And it is yours, O priest of Jesus Christ.”