Today’s Gospel narrates one of Jesus’ challenges in fulfilling His ministry. One big factor was the threat from the Jewish religious leaders who were plotting to kill Jesus. But such a threat did not stop Him from doing what the Father asked Him to do. He worked covertly.
I remember when my late parish priest launched a Thursday feeding program in 2016. It all started on his birthday, which fell on a Thursday, until it became a regular apostolate. Instead of throwing a private party, he thought of going to street dwellers and giving them food packs. There were moments when we encountered people who were stranded in Manila and were not able to go back to their provinces. We provided them with transportation allowance. To make sure that they will go home, a representative would accompany them to the bus station. What struck me was that my parish priest instructed us to keep everything a secret. We did not even let those people know that the help came from the Church or from a priest; indeed, a ministry in secret.
Reflecting on this, I asked myself, “Why do I do good works? Are they for the sake of loving my neighbor or just a solicitation of affirmation?”
In the Gospel, Jesus worked in secret. He was still able to fulfill His Father’s will despite the plot against Him. He did not heal or drive out demons for praise, but rather, out of love for the people. It is an invitation for me to serve the faithful despite the risks and threats, and to keep it subtle as a priest-in-process and a future minister (God-willing). After all, it is God who acknowledges my work.
By: Sem. Niñonel Setosta
The Pharisees went out and took counsel against Jesus
to put him to death.
When Jesus realized this, he withdrew from that place.
Many people followed him, and he cured them all,
but he warned them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved in whom I delight;
I shall place my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not contend or cry out,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break,
a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory.
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.