I remember the first time I journeyed this road to the priesthood, my foster parent told me, “Remember this: the poorest among us are not those who do not have money, but those who do not have ambitions.” As they brought me to the seminary, I pondered if entering the seminary was really an ambition. I kept asking myself if I was ambitious for the priesthood.
Later, another word served as a point for reflection. That is the word “desire.” I could say it is desire, and not ambition, that moved me to enter the seminary. It is a free and willful desire because I see that God is always of the greatest value than anything the world has. I desire the priesthood as a sign of thanksgiving and gratitude to God, who has touched my life even as a little child.
While in the seminary, I encountered a lot of challenges, and struggled to the extent that I left formation. I thought then that it was the best decision, even if I was not sent out from the seminary itself. I realized that, in following the Lord, there is one thing that I was not yet ready to give up. I was not ready to die for the sake of others. I was more egocentric and always looked for the safest way to protect myself.
In today’s Gospel, the Lord invites me to die from my own interests, possessions and undertakings, so that I may live in him. Dying does not necessarily mean a physical death but rather a kind of mortification that forgets the interests that please oneself, for the sake of God’s kingdom and for the sake of others. So long as I do not learn to die to myself, I am far from being a follower of Christ. I thank God that I was given another chance to continue the journey of becoming a priest. It is a process of configuring myself into the likeness of Christ who served and saved humanity from all their difficulties for God’s glorification, and in the end turned out to be condemned, abandoned and forsaken. I pray that, as I follow Christ, I will slowly embrace what he experienced in this life that God may be glorified.
By: Sem. Ace Vergel D. Quilope
When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”