The WORD in other words (2016) by Fr. Teofilo S. Perey, SVD (DWST, Tagaytay City)
Tuesday 26th Week in Ordinary Time
When I was sent to Benin, West Africa for my first mission assignment, my heart was filled with fear and anxiety. Would I survive in that mission? What would happen if I got sick of malaria or other illnesses? Would the people accept me? How would I react to rejections and sufferings? Could I still go back to my hometown in the Philippines? These were some questions that lingered in my heart.
Jesus was so determined to go to Jerusalem even though he knew that he would suffer and die in that place. He knew that he would not go back anymore to his beloved village of Galilee. A very brave decision on His part! That was the true missionary spirit.
Together with His disciples, they were rejected and were not welcomed when, going to Jerusalem, they passed in Samaritan village. His disciples reacted with anger and wished for the divine intervention to destroy their enemies. But the spirit of Jesus is the spirit of non-violence, mercy and compassion. He demanded that the disciples respect the delay or slow pace of the people’s conversion. Jesus shows us the true image of God – humble and patient in awaiting ourconversion.
My years of work experience in our parish in Benin helped me to realize the importance of patience, understanding and dialogue as we, the SVD missionaries, shared the Word of God and lived with people of different cultures, languages and traditions. Looking at Jesus as our model, we were able to enjoy the mission and to persevere in spite of problems and difficulties.
Lord, bless us with lot of patience and perseverance as we continue to follow your Son Jesus Christ.