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Pilgri-missionaries

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The story is told about an elderly couple who were discussing how a lot of things have changed in this world and how they could hardly keep in step with the fast worldly stride.  The wife said: “Remember when Apple and Blackberry were fruits?  Now I heard they are something else!”  To which the husband replied: “I remember that Samsung was the husband of Delilah. Now I heard it’s something else, too!”

* * *

In today’s gospel (Mk. 10, 42-45), Jesus reminds us that His message remains the same. Servanthood has been, is, and will always be a core gospel value of our faith. Especially in these our times, let us listen to and ponder upon Jesus’ words: “Anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all.”

* * *

One thing that has neither changed nor diminished since Jesus’ time? Ambition! The apostles James and John were asking that they sit at His right and at His left in His kingdom. Such greed for authority and power! In these our times, look at all the people positioning themselves for the May 2013 elections. Look at the greed for longer and wider political authority and power. Public service? That’s what they call it, but it looks more like self-service to me.

* * *

Another thing has not changed—squabbling over money and power. Upon learning of the ambition of James and John, the other disciples became indignant at them. The main thrust of servanthood is being focused on the Master, and not so much on one’s fellow disciples. We must stay focused on the Lord and on the mission.

* * *

Today is World Mission Sunday. We remember the last mandate of our Lord before His Ascension into heaven:  “Go to the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation”  (Mk. 16,15).  May we as a people and as a nation carry out the special desire of Blessed John Paul II “that Filipinos will become the foremost missionaries of the Church of Asia.”

* * *

Today (Sunday) is the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod. As a country, as a people, we rejoice for this tremendous honor and gift to us. May Pedro Calungsod’s martyrdom remind us to live and share our faith, and may it deepen the awareness in each one of us that we all are missionaries wherever we go, whatever we do.

* * *

St. Pedro Calungsod was a young Filipino missionary martyred for his faith.  May the young people of our country be guided toward meaningful involvements and concerns and help build up our nation and God’s kingdom.  As St. Pedro Calungsod has shown, one is never too young to become a saint, a martyr, or a hero.

* * *

Martyrdom, the gift of dying for one’s faith, is a privilege given only to a few. But for the rest of us, the challenge is to live our faith daily in our here and now. We do experience “mini martyrdom,” too, from time to time when we are hurt, humiliated, or misjudged by others because of our faith. Let us be grateful for such moments because these are surely moments of grace.

*  * *

Mission is about being sent, and going out of one’s comfort zone. In so far as we allow something or someone greater than ourselves to move us, and insofar as we carry out our “marching orders,” we are missionaries and we are doing our mission.

* * *

It is not easy to be a missionary and to live life as a mission, but the thought that we lived a useful and meaningful life is one of the most fulfilling things we can ever experience in this world.

* * *

At the mission-sending ceremony in the Mission House last Oct. 15, Father Dante, SVD, told our two departing missionaries, Fr. Gilbert Razon, SVD, and Fr. John Marc Veloso, SVD, to remember that they are going to Argentina to do God’s work, so they should not worry or be afraid. He also reminded them to be simple and to travel light and right. Finally Father Venus, having been a missionary to Kenya himself, advised them to be one with God especially in prayer, and to remember that they are not alone “out there” because we here are always one with them in prayer. At the end of the ceremony, we all sang the “Salve Regina” and commended our missionaries to our Blessed Mother.

* * *

Take note that the statue of St. Pedro Calungsod shows the right foot as slightly elevated, to connote that he is on the go.  This reminds us that we all are pilgrims on the way, and that we are all sent for a mission.

We all must keep reminding ourselves that we are pilgrims with a mission in this world. If we do so, then we will all become less selfish, less arrogant, less vain, and less idle. Yes, we are pilgrims with a mission.  You and I are pilgri-missionaries!

* * *

Bantay Matanda invites you to a lay forum on Parkinson’s disease on Oct. 27 at Janssen Hall of Christ the King Seminary, 9 a.m to 12 noon.  For inquiries, please call 373-2262, 9982548, or 0917-4167849.

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, remind me that I am a pilgrim in this world, and that I have a mission. Yes, I am a pilgri-missionary.  Amen.


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