A simple despedida (send-off party) was held a week before my entrance day in the seminary. My fellow servants in the parish had given their messages of gratitude and some words of advice to me. Most of them talked about our shared moments together, what they admired, and the things that they would never forget about me. Everything they said was good.
At some point, the feeling of being affirmed in front of many people gives me pleasure. This reaction reflects the Pharisees and scribes in the Gospel. Eight years ago, I was nobody. I was not even able to lead a group. I did not have the confidence to speak in front of many people. Now, these people, who are older than me and who served the Lord and the Church longer than I did, commended me for the little things I had done for them. This overwhelming experience could sway me away from what Jesus is asking of us in the Gospel: to remain humble. Thanks be to God that my mentor from my previous community would always remind me to stay humble and obedient despite all my achievements and growths.
The Gospel is a fitting reminder to avoid the pitfalls of being in love with power and honor. It is tempting to feel that I am above others because of my status as a seminarian, but that is not my identity. I am a “priest-in-process,” and the challenge for me is to stay humble amid all the praises and attention I may get from people. As a disciple of the Lord, I must keep in mind that it is not I who should be exalted or praised but our Lord Jesus. I am just His instrument. Everyone is gifted with talents and skills, not because of his own doing. These are because of the grace of God, who called each one of us.
By: Sem. Edward R. Miana
Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”