Living in a community entails following certain guidelines and norms laid down by the institution. Here in the seminary, we have our Mission-Vision, Core Values, a code of conduct called “Norms of Community Living,” the Pillars of Formation known as “CASA” (Community, Academic, Spirituality, and Apostolate), and other unique traditions that have been passed down from one generation of seminarians to the next. As we commit ourselves to the formation, we consent and voluntarily bind ourselves to these and we are expected to follow and live them out.
When I was in my first year of formation, I must admit that I was following these norms out of fear and compliance. But as I advanced in years, I began to appreciate that these guidelines and norms were set in place not to restrict our “freedom” and limit our movements, rather, they are meant to usher us towards greater and more genuine freedom as God configures our hearts to His. Further, I also observed that, at this stage, I already imbibed most of them in my system, that I no longer do them for the sake of compliance, but for the love of this vocation, the institution, of God, and the Church.
Today’s Gospel tells me that if there is one thing that the law teaches us, it is love. More than the “letters” of the law, we must look at the “spirit” of the law. Because if we will stick to the former, we will become rigid and blind followers of the law. But if we try to look beyond what is written, we will be awed to see that the very foundation of these laws is love. This will then usher us to be more free, more loving, more compassionate, and more generous because the God, who etched these laws, is Love Himself.
By: Sem. John Paul T. Toting
While Jesus was going through a field of grain on a sabbath,
his disciples were picking the heads of grain,
rubbing them in their hands, and eating them.
Some Pharisees said,
“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”