March 3, 2024

The Lord said to Elijah: “You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.” (Kings 19:16) Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant. (Kings 19:21)
We are born for a purpose. We just don’t live for our sake but for others. We are all called and we must reply. We are gifted with freedom that must be live out responsibly.
Vocation is God’s work. He calls us and we respond. Our negative response may speak about selfishness. We tend to focus only on our life and be indifferent to others. Our positive response is certainly an expression of willingness to be a part of God’s plan and salvation.
Priesthood is not a profession. If it is a profession, then as a priest, I expect a monthly salary. If it is a profession, I will treat my parishioners as clients or customers, not parishioners.
If it is a profession, I will also treat my ordination as an occupation to earn a living, a stable employment for myself and the parish as employment of my family. I will focus on money and profit and will eventually become my motivation.
If it is a profession, I will likewise always equate my services with money and honorarium. I will tend to neglect the grassroots who do not have the capacity to make business with me. I will treat the less privileged as insignificant people in the parish. I will also fail to live out volunteerism, creativity, and initiative.
Priests are called to the ministry of Jesus. Ministry means becoming an active part in the mission of Jesus. The ministry of Jesus entails selflessness, public service, and of the physical but above all spiritual. Ministers are not paid for the services, especially in the administration of the sacraments.
Vocation must entail God’s providence and our trust in the Lord. It means we are called to generate the truth and spread the kingdom of God, most especially in the sacraments. Hence, priesthood is not a profession but a vocation.
Teachers too are called to the ministry in the information, formation, and transformation of the youth. I keep on praying that teachers may see their work not as a sheer profession but a vocation. There are indeed a lot of teachers who remained humble in their lives. They did not become rich. The teachers’ wealth is the successes of their students and surely as spiritual sages will always exhort, “They will have their wealth in God’s manifold ways of blessing them.”
The wisdom of Jesus can be better understood when we seek divine understanding. “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest His head.”
He added, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
He all the more said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:51-62)
Every time I invite men along the way for the holy mass, they have a common answer, “You go. We are not doing wrong, anyway.” Well, I appreciate them for being righteous but I still respond to them, “Congratulations for not doing wrong but we still need to feed our souls with God’s Word and the Holy Eucharist. We need to pray as a community.”
I am saddened by many project contractors and engineers nowadays. They are so engrossed with their work, machineries, money, and profit. Eventually, they tend to forget about their faith, their Sunday responsibilities, and eventually making their wealth as their god. Worse, they turn their workers as “pagans” too for forcing them work on Sundays.
During the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting on June 29, I left a strong challenge to the council, especially to the Department of Public Works and Highways, to reorient all project contractors on public safety, morality, faith, and Sunday responsibility.
If it is not an emergency work, contractors must encourage laborers to observe Sunday responsibilities. The third commandment of God is clear, “Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.”
We are all called by God through his church leaders, we must respond well to his invitation.
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