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The Word, The Truth

What – and who – is really “good”?

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The Lord Is My Chef Daily Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday, Memorial of St. Pope Pius X, 21 August 2023
Judges 2:11-19   ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'> + ><]]]]'>   Matthew 19:16-22
Photo by author, La Trinidad, Benguet, 11 July 2023.

It is nice to be back here in Baguio City, this time with my brother priests for our annual clergy retreat at the St. Scholastica Spirituality Center. As usual, we started our brief “vacare Deo” with the Holy Mass and the gospel brought me to the start of my vocation history in elementary school as I found myself in that young man asking Jesus almost the same question:

a young man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments… If you wish to be perfect, go sell, what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Matthew 19:16-17, 21-22

Photo by author, Sacristy of the Manila Cathedral, 07 July 2023.

Indeed, there is only One good, God himself. Him is what we all seek in life. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross – St. Edith Stein – said anyone who seeks the truth seeks God, whether or not he realizes it.”

That is easier. In fact, it is God who seeks and finds us always. Not us. Our own seeking for him is a pure grace from him.

The problematique is seeking what is good.

Especially after finding God.

And that is priesthood, which is to constantly affirm and and say yes to God.

More than just obeying his commandments, doing what is good is saying yes to God every day, choosing him above all things and even person, even one’s self! Many times, I must admit, I have been like the Israelites in the first reading: after having God’s immense blessings in life, I turn away from him with my many other new gods.

What is really good who is God is contrary to what is good according to the world like wealth and power, pleasures and comforts, fame and honor, adulations and recognition, and so many other things that exaggerate our bloated ego especially in this age of instant fame and glory. They are not really good because they wane and dissipate like every wealth the world offers. Worst, when gone, we are left empty.

Photo by author, St. Scholastica Spirituality Center, Baguio City, 21 August 2023.

There is only One good, God himself whom we must only have as our only wealth, our only treasure, our only valuable. And to have him, we must divest ourselves of our worldly riches, of everything that massages and inflates our ego.

How lovely is that scene when Matthew noted “A young man approached Jesus”.

That is the beauty of every retreat, of every sabbath break. We become young again, we go back to our beginning when we were so simple in seeking what is good. How sad that after finding God in Jesus, we become old not in age but in our face, in our heart because we have become sad and saddled with our many possessions that possess us!

Lord Jesus Christ,
thank you for this retreat,
thank you for making me young again,
for making me go back 
to those days of innocence,
of simplicity in seeking you,
in having you,
and being like you;
help me "divest" of myself,
empty me of my pride
and other "possessions"
to fill me with your humility,
justice and love.
Amen.
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Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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