God of Surprises
May 28th – this day will always be special to me. Three events come to mind:
May 28th is my parents’ wedding anniversary.
May 28th, 2014: I was in my hometown (Vigan City) in the Philippines. I was preparing to go to church to celebrate my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary when I received a call from Monsignor Dan Mayall, then the Rector of Holy Name Cathedral, inviting me to come and serve as Associate Pastor.
May 28th, 2019: I was on vacation with my parents and while we were on the way to dinner to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, I checked my phone and noticed a missed call. I listened to the voicemail. It was from Father Jerry Jacob, my soon-to-be-Pastor, confirming my appointment and welcoming me to St. Mary of the Annunciation Church.
May 28th… God has been surprising me particularly on this day. Perhaps I could call it a day of being sent out for mission. As I begin my ministry at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church, how fitting it is that the Gospel this Sunday talks about Jesus commissioning the seventy-two. So let me reflect on these three points…
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals
I arrived for ministry at Holy Name Cathedral on August 21st, 2014. Having moved several times within the Diocese of Paranaque in Metro Manila (Philippines), I only brought a few set of clothes with me so that it would be easier to transfer if I moved again. I was never prepared for the real winter. I have seen snow in my past travels but I’ve never really lived in a snowy place for an extended period. I remember my first Fall season and it started to get cold. A couple who regularly attends mass at the Cathedral may have noticed my adjustment and left a bag with the rectory receptionist. When I opened it, lo and behold, a scarf and a hat with the note “for the cold days.” I was stunned. That was a moment of grace! I felt the love and protection of Jesus through that couple. He is indeed true to his words that he will take care of those He sends – that He provides. That experience taught me to trust in Him more. Sometimes, we plan too much (or too little) that we are surprised when unexpected things happen.