James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus with an ambitious request. They wanted to be the “wing-men” of Jesus, one to sit at His right and the other to sit at His left. Perhaps, among the twelve companions of the Lord, they wanted to be the closest to Him. However, Jesus replied with a thought-provoking question, “Can you drink the cup that I drink...?” He was leading James and John to understand the CUP OF SUFFERING He was to drink. Remember when Jesus agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26, 39) James and John thought that becoming the closest apostles of Jesus was being better than the others and attaining an honorable position. Jesus had to reorient their line of thinking by telling them, “...whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant, whoever wish to be first among you will the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” {Mark 10, 43-45}

I have found the question posed by Jesus to James and John posed to me, too. Before my ordination to the priesthood, I was aware that becoming a priest, especially in both Philippine and American cultures, meant experiencing honor, respect, sometimes criticism and at times, public adulation. My spiritual director, who was an American, impressed upon me that amidst the perks of priestly and ministry, there more sacrifices ahead of me. As a priest now of 43 years, I can attest to the fact that being close to the Lord as his servant means drinking the cup of obedience, celibacy and poverty. To obey the bishop when being sent to a place where I would rather not be entails a big sacrifice. To be celibate in order to be always available for others means sacrificing my own time and convenience. To do a sacrificial fund raising for the parish and beg for our pastoral needs can sometimes be a humiliating experience. It is not easy to follow the Lord and be close to Him.

When St. John Paul II embraced the papacy, he never thought he would be serving the Universal Church for twenty seven years long. He survived an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981 which affected his health for the succeeding years. Towards the latter part of life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. He had to age with this illness as he served the Church till he died. He is an inspiring testimony of one who drank from Jesus’ cup of suffering. What is your cup of suffering?

#64. A HUMOR ON SERVICE: A pig was lamenting his lack of popularity. He complained to the cow that people were talking about her gentleness and her kind eye, while its name was used as an insult. He admitted that cows give milk and cream, but he maintained that pigs give more. “Why we give bacon and ham and bristles and people even pickle our feet,” he grumbled. “I don’t see why you cows are so highly esteemed.” The cow thought a while and then said gently, “Maybe it’s because we cows are giving while we are living.” It is service that will lead one to greatness. Jesus advocated service, so that all can become great in the Kingdom Of God. God Bless!

This Sunday is World Mission Sunday. We request our parishioners to be more generous in their sacrificial giving for the needs of our missionaries in foreign lands especially in Asia and Africa. The following three days are optional memorials of Ss. John Paul II on the 22nd, John of Capistrano on the 23rd, and on the 24th, we have Anthony Mary Claret. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin. Thanks a lot for your prayers in our pilgrimage. We are back refreshed spiritually.

Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie