12th Sunday in Ordinary Time–Year C
19 June 2016
May mga tanong na pwedeng balewalain. Pwedeng sagutin ng “Okay lang,” ng “E ‘di wow,” o kaya naman ay simpleng “naman.” Pero may mga tanong na mapapaisip ka ng matagal-tagal para sa akmang sagot dahil may malalim itong pinaghuhugutan.
One example is this question which is tossed by Jesus to His apostles in our Gospel this Sunday, “Who do you say that I am?” This same question, He continues to address to us. This one fundamental question we Christians need to confront ourselves with. Sino nga ba Siya para sa atin?
The answer to this question lies in our personal knowledge we have of Him. Consequently, this knowledge of Jesus is necessary because it makes us find reason and meaning to stick with Him when the going gets tough, when push comes to shove, when our Christian convictions get tested.
Back in the theologate, our professors reminded us that in our study of theology, what will make us earn the degree are the inputs we gather from them, the tests that we pass, and those which we read from books. But they also cautioned us that these will not assure us that we’ll become good priests, faithful priests, holy priests.
In the same manner, our bookish concept of who Christ is will not convert us to become men and women who are Christ-like, Christians who are capable of showing patience, respect, love, mercy and forgiveness.
In declaring the Jubilee Year of Mercy this year, Pope Francis couldn’t have said it any better: Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy—Ang Panginoong Hesu-Kristo ang mukha ng awa ng Ama! (Misericordiae Vultus, 1).
One gets to answer this question only if one comes to an experience of a real encounter with Christ. The Pope Emeritus, in his first ever encyclical, beautifully wrote that our being a “Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive
direction” (Deus Caritas Est, 1).
This encounter then blossoms into an intimate relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to this.
The Book of Zechariah in the first reading throws us back to a prefiguration of Jesus several centuries ago. It points to an innocent victim who sacrificed his life for the salvation of many. His offering of life becomes a source of purification for their entire nation.
Our second reading tells us that through the saving acts of Jesus, we become children of God. Our faith in Jesus allows us to partake in the inheritance the Father promise to His children. Thus, our knowledge of Jesus, our faith in Him, does not just make us followers, but this makes us instruments of His love. It transforms us to become another Christ to others, capable of healing, of forgiving, and of loving.
Just this week, one of our students, a 15-year-old boy came to me. We spoke in my office during the morning break. I was surprised that he found his way again to my office when it was time for lunch. What did we talk about? The “unspeakable joy” he feels whenever he participates in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
The Eucharist is Jesus’ memento of love to us. If we value our connection with Jesus, it will have a consequent effect in our lives. It will make us find reason to wake up in the morning, it will inject passion to us to speak about it untiringly during the day, and it will lull us to sleep with a smile assured that we did everything that we could to spread it far and wide.
And this can only be possible through our personal knowledge of Jesus.