Some say that what happens in the end was intended all along; others, that each of us has the ability to make changes and so there are many possible endings. The Church says that both exist, predetermination and freewill, but that even though we may exercise our freewill to change what was predetermined…that, too, is predetermined.
I used to believe is that everything happens at random. We are leaves blown in the wind, merely deluding ourselves that we have the power to set our own direction. It is the events that shape us and not we to them. We cannot change the past, but we can do something about the future. And “the future, says Blessed Pope John Paul II, “is today and not tomorrow.”
In the Gospel, Jesus called each disciple by name indicating His intimate relationship to one and to all. Each disciple’s experience with the Lord is deeply personal, and also a shared experience. And in this sharing the disciples came to deepen their experience with God and respond with greater love and trust to His call.
Though our calling is personal, our way of response and how we live our vocation is a shared experience. We are not alone in this pursuit. Indeed no one travels the road of priesthood by himself.
If we trace back our steps, one will soon discover that he is not traveling alone. He will not see only his footprints, but also the footprints of his family, relatives and friends; those who supported him, prayed for him, and believed in him.
Therefore it is stupidity when a seminarian quits stops or walks away and ends his seminary formation because he gets tired with the requirements to fulfill or bored with the routinary activities. No one owns his vocation. Every vocation is meant to be shared.
So, one must refrain from doing things which is contrary to his vocation. If he insists, he is not just corrupting himself but also corrupting those people who believe in him. In the long run, Trust will soon rust, love will soon decay and he becomes filthy and rotten. Then people will depart from his company as if he is a leper.
At first glance, there is nothing exceptional about the 12 disciples. They are just ordinary people, not socially influential. But Jesus recruits them for the mission. He trusts them and risks on them.
Each disciple is distinct and unique. Each of them came from different walks of life and even some in both opposites – Peter was married while John was not, Matthew was a tax collector while Simon was a zealot, and to add the conglomeration of the 12 pioneers, the salt of the earth and the light of the world, Judas Iscariot, who later betrayed Jesus, was one of them.
In the course of their formation, there were times where the disciples argued about who among them will be great in heaven. There were even petty quarrels and some had envied others. So, one could question Jesus why he chose selfish, arrogant, foolish fishermen over a learned Pharisee? Yet, through them, we have received the good news. They became vessels of God’s love and they have set the whole in fire of God’s love.
Like the disciples we are called to the same purpose: our mission is to enkindle the heart of others, to bring Jesus to our friends. The question is: Do the way we live our identity as a seminarian resonates God’s love or in the contrary it corrupts and hinders others to know God and love Him personally? Did we draw our friends intimately closer to Christ or did we draw them intimately closer to ourselves?
Though the disciples had their share of mistakes and shortcomings, nonetheless they became true brothers to one another. They had kept the Master’s commandment, “Love one another as I loved you” in their hearts.
Truly is through our experience of living with one another, of noticing and responding to the needs of one another, of entering into permanent relationship with one another in true brotherhood love, accepting one another as we are yet encouraging one another to fully become what God has given us the power to become.
God transforms the hearts of the apostles. And transformation is not instant; it is a process – a very long process. The choice lies on our very hands.
2000 years have passed; God continues to call men for the mission. Are you in or out?