Readings: Acts 12:24-13:5a; John 12:44-50. The following article is the ‘homily’ given by Sister Nenita A. Juntilla, OND, during our Euntes Eucharistic celebration. May 18 is Sr. Nenita’s Birthday.
My Wednesday group mates commanded me to give “pagpaambit” today. Is this a punishment? No, definitely not. I am taking this as a blessing, with a copy so I may not drift away.
We heard it proclaimed: the word of God continued to spread and grow. And so he set apart Saul and Barnabas among prophets and teachers in Antioch, for the work to which he has called them: to proclaim the word of God. Like Paul and Barnabas, we too are called for the mission of communicating God’s compassion in the world today.
The gospel of John presents to us the last part of the Book of Signs. Though people had been present when Jesus gave so many signs, many did not believe in him. To believe in Jesus is to believe in him who sent him. Jesus is so united to the Father that he always speaks in the name of the Father. Jesus is the faithful reflection of the Father. He who sees Jesus sees the Father. If we want to know God, we look at Jesus, who himself is the Sign of the Father and the light who comes into the world, and gives light to all enduring human search.
Yesterday, we had storytelling of “Mt. Sinai and wilderness” experiences and how God through these all, in his frightening fidelity, so re-create us. This is my “Mt. Sinai”
story. In 1979, after 2 years of teaching, I left home, literally leaving home and headed for the convent, without informing, much less, asking the consent of my family. Because I knew that if I did, I won’t be permitted. I felt that I was called for a greater self-donation, or so I thought.
And enter I did, against all odds: of being fetched in the convent and persuaded by my father, who strongly opposed my vocation, to come home with him a couple of times, but refused to go home with him, a couple of times; of leaving behind a family who at that time badly needed me in all aspects; of asking the help of a bishop (Bishop Escaler) who was close by to plead my cause, as it were; of being disowned and considered dead by my father for ten years. I was finally allowed to kiss his hand again after my perpetual vows in 1989. My father was actually a very quiet, loving and kind person. I realized that he only did what he did because he wanted the best for me. And he, owing to his damaged childhood background, did not see religious life as the best option.
Like all of you, I had been through a lot:
– a difficult employer,
– a lingering, barren prayer,
– being missioned in a challenging mission area, in Basilan, where I could breathe the tension in the air every single day due to incidents of kidnapping of missionaries,
– I wrestled with a midlife crisis,
– underwent surgery,
– losing a dear 16-year old nephew to leukemia,
– the death of my palangga nga Tatay two years ago,
– and surviving a vehicular accident.
All these, but not without hope and the abiding presence and providence of God reassuring me that these are necessary part of the journey, and that all shall be well.
Today, humbly in God’s grace, I still would like proclaim that I couldn’t be any happier than being an OND religious, ever desiring to put myself at the disposal of God through
superiors, to live simply, like for example, being content in receiving monthly allowance of 400, and devoting my womanness and energy for God and his mission.
Today I wish to renew my prayer from the very beginning, that “I may die, gracious God, a religious sister.”
Blessing upon blessing we have been given. Do we recognize and count them? Thanks to Euntes, to Fr. Giulio, Srs. Stella & Roselle, to Sr. Teresa for exposing us to yet another face of the poor in the margins – the migrants, calling forth paradigms of prodigality in embracing their context. Our learning, our wonderful community at Euntes, which could be a support structure for mission, our journey on the whole, is only but a preparation for a more creative, committed response to Missio Dei.
We let Jesus address us now personally. “Anyone who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already: the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.” As agents of mission, is there something in us or something we don’t have that will condemn us? Do we discern God’s word interrupting us and our way of responding to mission?
Sister Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC, offered six paradigms, images in which one could see a manifestation of God’s Prodigality, an image that could symbolize one’ s ‘style’ and ‘disposition’ in doing his/her mission. The images are: The Good Shepherd, the Washing of the Feet, the Good Samaritan, the Visitation, the Emmaus Story and the Adulterous Woman.
Paradigm of Prodigality: Adulterous Woman
It is recognized that every single sin is adultery, an infidelity to God who established with us a covenant of love. We are dragged many times over before Jesus for adultery. Guilty as charged. In spite and despite our guilt, Jesus does not tire in forgiving us. No questions asked. As having forgiven, we too must extend his compassion to all who are “caught in adultery” and calling them to new hope and fresh start.