The first time I tried to enter the seminary, it was a moment of shame because I was wondering if I was really called to this vocation. I was telling myself that whether or not I was admitted, I would wholeheartedly accept the decision. Fortunately, I got accepted. I thought seminary was a peaceful place, but I was wrong because there were disturbances that resulted in breaking moments. It unveiled all my weaknesses and sinfulness. It became an avenue to assess how I was really doing in terms of my faith. Do I remember God only during the bad times of my life? Am I just seeking God’s presence when I am in need? Do I really entrust myself to the Lord? The seminary is indeed a place of formation for those whom God calls. Despite the turmoil, I have the assurance that Christ will calm my heart and make me endure all these things to mold me in accordance with His will.
The Gospel shows that whenever Jesus is in our midst, there is no need to be sad or overcome by any negative emotions. God’s presence is a festive and joyful presence. It is Jesus, the source of true joy, that we should be grateful for. Our hearts should celebrate every moment because He gives us the grace to enjoy life in the best possible way. True repentance leads to true joy. It is only God who can fill our hearts with authentic delight in our lives. As a priest-in-process, the challenge is to see how the days of Lent can be a moment of reflection, spiritual nourishment, and the perfect opportunity to deepen our relationship with God. Fasting, prayer, and almsgiving are means to appreciate life not for the material things it brings but for God’s fulfillment of His promise of being with us forever. It is a call to share the love Jesus brings as an expression of our gratitude through service to our neighbors.
By: Sem. Bryan S. Valenzuela
Gospel: Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,
“Why do we and the Pharisees fast much,
but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn
as long as the bridegroom is with them?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast.”