Unconditional Love

Before I entered the seminary, my intention to pursue a vocation to the priesthood had gained support from many, but it was also questioned by a few. Hearing their comments, such as I am too old for this kind of vocation, somehow made me think if I am enough. But I took the risk of applying, because deep in my heart, I knew that it was God who had called me on this journey. When I finally got accepted, I felt that I am ready for the mission, and that I am enough. It washed away my doubts, and I realized that what truly matters is that I am heeding His call. Criticism will always be part of it.

In the Gospel, I am reminded that accepting one’s differences is essential. I cannot please everyone. My plans and dreams are not everyone’s cup of tea. Loving someone that caused pain and suffering is hard, but with the grace of God, forgiving is possible. It would only take time.

Being here now in the seminary, I am given more opportunities to reflect on God’s unfailing love. This journey is a realization, an eye opener, that loving a difficult person entails embracing even his or her worst. Jesus says to His apostles and to us now: “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.” This may seem to be paradoxical, but it is God-given opportunity for me to be more open to the formation. I know that I will encounter difficulties ahead of me and, with God’s grace, I will be able to hurdle them. Loving those who hurt me is possible, just like what Jesus did on the cross. He is the epitome of loving others unconditionally. I will let Him transform my heart and guide me as I walk on this path.

By: Sem. Peter John D. Arao

Today’s Gospel

Lk 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“To you who hear I say, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who mistreat you.
To the person who strikes you on one cheek,
offer the other one as well,
and from the person who takes your cloak,
do not withhold even your tunic.
Give to everyone who asks of you,
and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
For if you love those who love you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who do good to you,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners do the same.
If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.
But rather, love your enemies and do good to them,
and lend expecting nothing back;
then your reward will be great
and you will be children of the Most High,
for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”

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