I’VE already spent 30 years of service in the priesthood, and still, priestly life fascinates me!
What fascinates me most: Is the hand of God present and touching everything that I do and transforming it according to His will. I initiate, plan, and execute a project, a ministry, or a mission and God takes over, bringing it to fruition.
God must know the selfless motive in my heart. Indeed, it’s all for the progress of his mission; he plants the seeds in my soul to bring about his Kingdom of peace, justice, joy, faith, hope, and love on earth.
It’s how I interpret the Gospel this Sunday (Mark 4:26-34)
A farmer would sleep and rise night and day,
and through it all, the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord, the Lord yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
Must we not then trust one’s heart’s selfless motives to continue Christ’s mission on earth? Yet in all that we do for God’s Kingdom, still, it would be best to keep in mind this prayer by Bishop Kenneth Untener attributed to St. Oscar Romero:
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step away, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future that is not our own. Amen.
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.