Sacerdos in Aeternum (a priest forever) | Fr. Rommel M. Arcilla:


(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.)


The world is filled with so many different families! There are the rich and the poor, the big and the small, families who are hard-working and those who are simply letting their days pass them by. In this diversity of families, though, I still believe that most families are very keen on whatever inheritance or wealth that each member can take for his own. This is the sad fact in our modern families. Broken families because of too much wealth and too much selfishness and ambition.


Most parents work hard for their children. Children adore their parents’ generosity for they provided more than what they needed. But when the parents start to age and are no longer in control of the family, problems will start to show up. The children are now starting to talk about their share of the inheritance. The family, then, starts to break up. Each speaks of the way he or she has been wronged by the other members of the family. Is this the harvest of the seed sown by the hard-working and generous parents?


Pentecost means fiftieth day. It was a day of gratitude. It was a day of thanksgiving for the completion of the harvest.  We have seen Christ come into this world. We have seen him sow the Spirit of God. We have seen this Spirit work wonders among the blind, the sick, the lame and hungry.  We saw him condemned and yet, returned to those who condemned and deserted him. We saw him persuade his disciples to raise their eyes and look beyond their own little world. We saw Christ let his disciples experience His Ascension. On the day of Pentecost, he appears again. While they, the disciples, were still cloistered in a little upper room.  We do not know where that room was situated.  We only know that that room was in a house in Jerusalem where people from every nation would come to express their gratitude for their harvest.


They spoke different languages. They came with different intentions. They had different motives.  It was this diverse group who witnessed a sound that made them assemble. To their amazement, some Galileans spoke to them in their own native language. To their astonishment, some unheard-of illiterates spoke the language they understood. This was surprising! We know how difficult it is to learn another language. We know how difficult it is to speak and write in another language. It takes years of listening to the phonetics and exercising the grammatical structures of a language before we feel at ease in another language.  Yet we were told that these illiterates spoke and people, coming from various nations, understood them. It was the hearers and not the speakers who made this claim!  This was the novel experience of the new harvest, Pentecost!  Why is it that we rarely experience such a harvest today? St Paul gives us a clue. No one can say, “Jesus is Lord” unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.


It is not easy to understand one another unless we balance our mold of feelings and expression. Each does have his peculiarities that punch the sensibilities of another. Each does have to ascend out of his or her stubborn habits and expressions before reaching out to others. To understand someone else, we need to dethrone ourselves and enthrone the Other in our midst. To enthrone the Other in our midst, we surely must forgive self-centered habits and ways in others, but even more: we must forgive them in ourselves.  It is for this reason that the Lord says: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.”


Unfortunately, we often retain the sins of others and ourselves. Therefore, we do not harvest the fruits of God’s Spirit among us.  It is very striking that no mention is made of the place where the Apostles experienced that the Holy Spirit came and dwelt among them. I would like to believe that such details were intentionally left out. Why? Because such a situation could be any time and any place where people lock themselves.


Do we get the idea? Are we ready to say: Jesus is Lord? Are we ready to forget the pain, the insults, and the injustices that we must bear and experience? Are we ready to ascend beyond our horizons and see them from the vantage point of the Lord in our midst?

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