The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr Alan Meechan (Sta Rosa de Lima Mission Area, Aurora, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro)
Thursday 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Traveling from Kamuning to Quiapo, a man sitting in the middle of the jeep kept up a running commentary on the different places we passed. In front of Christ the King Seminary, he announced, “And here is Christ the King where these priests who don’t pray reside!”
I found myself becoming angry and wanted to challenge him: “What about Fr Gerry Orbos, Fr Bel San Luis, Fr Bong, and other holy priests who live there? What about the retired elderly priests who worked in remote places devoid of comforts?
However, not wishing to disturb the other passengers, and feeling that my anger was bordering on arrogance and inconsistent with following Christ, I kept my peace.
This man was perhaps correct in his inadvertent echo of Jesus’ words: “By their fruits you will know them.” However, like the Pharisees and scribes in today’s Gospel passage, he is anxious to condemn the fruits that he must surely see in the Church if he will only open his eyes.
Of course, prayer in itself is difficult to measure, but Jesus is tangibly present every day in the Church, and we should not blind ourselves to this with naive and thoughtless condemnation.
We are all called to communion in the work of the Church, in the hope that she fosters, in her service to humanity, her healing and forgiveness, the inspiration she gives to help others grow, and in her leading others to God. We cannot and must not simply live passively amid so much human need and vocal opposition.
I think now that I should have spoken out in the jeep and at least invited the man to get involved in Christian life.