Opening to God

Each one of us, at some point, can be a sad story when we are not true to our identity. Take, for example, how the scribes and Pharisees in the Gospel tend to hide their sinfulness to look beautiful in the eyes of others. God can still see our tendency to sin, but He is more focused on recognizing our effort not to succumb to sin. In the seminary, I learn to recognize and be aware of this tendency through constant prayer and spiritual direction. The Gospel invites us to be always open to God.

The formation aims not so much to turn me, a seminarian, into a priest, just overnight, but to allow me to be true and to grow in my knowledge of myself and to encounter personally the God who constantly calls me in prayer. While it is a joy-filled experience, seminary life is also about crucifying my own will and patiently surrendering the rough edges in my personality, such as my sinfulness, to God’s painful cutting and pruning. Ultimately, the seminary is not so much a place but a time of grace, of preparing for a future mission, whatever it may be.

As Jesus continues to walk to Jerusalem with His disciples, He gives lessons on integrity and truthfulness. As a disciple of Christ, I also ask myself, how far can I walk with the Lord? Constantly, He invites me to leave comforts and risk exploring my growth zones. When I left my securities, I experience what it means to be with Him. These are opportunities for trust. For every experience, there is always something to learn. Sometimes it takes time and a lot of tears. But if I am open to God, my heart stops resisting, and I understand God’s lesson at the right time.

By: Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura

Today’s Gospel

Mt 23:27-32

Jesus said,
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside,
but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.
Even so, on the outside you appear righteous,
but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You build the tombs of the prophets
and adorn the memorials of the righteous,
and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors,
we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets’ blood.’
Thus you bear witness against yourselves
that you are the children of those who murdered the prophets;
now fill up what your ancestors measured out!”

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