Tuesday, 6th Week in Ordinary Time              

            In 1988, Raymond Arre and I spent our summer pastoral exposure in the southernmost part of Palawan – in the town of Bataraza – for a month-long summer immersion. Practically, the only arrangement that was made for us is the place – a very poor parish – where we could sleep and put our personal things. And we did not bring much – only a few clothes, small amount of money (just enough for our transportation going back to Manila by ship).

            Part of our immersion is to go everyday to the places of the indigenous people, the Tagbanwa… mingle with them… and have the dialogue of life with them. We would go out every day without any idea where we could eat our breakfast, lunch, and dinner – no need for Merienda – we had no food provision. Being a very shy person, it was really a great struggle for me. And I panicked every night just thinking about it: Where and how are we going to take our meals? This panic plagued me night after night, even though previous nights had taught me that someone always took us and fed us.

            I went back to what I had written in my journal based on my experience from that summer mission – and this is what I had written 29 years ago. “I did not expect, I did not anticipate, that this immersion would force me to learn firsthand what it was like to have to practically beg for food and put my trust in God.” “I have to humbly admit that it was just too hard for me to learn to really trust in God’s providence – in spite of my own experience telling me that God is absolutely trustworthy because he provides.”

            In today’s gospel we see the same concern or ‘panic’ plague the disciples. They continue to fret about not having enough to eat even after Jesus has fed thousands of people. That is why Jesus says, “Do you still not understand?”

            We often fail to understand what the Lord has done and is doing because, as Jesus said, we have “eyes that cannot see” and “ears that cannot hear.” We have not really learned to trust in God – that is because we fail to see the signs of God’s love and to hear his good news… that is why we also fail to put our trust in his providence.

            My dear friends, Jesus is asking each one of us, right at this moment: “Where is your trust that I care about you and I will take care of you?” Gaano nga ba ang pagtitiwala natin sa Panginoon? Let this be our simple prayer for today: “Lord, help us realize that you love us more than we do ourselves.”

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