Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 07 July 2021 Homily for Wednesday in the 14th Week in Ordinary Time Genesis 41:55-57;42:5-7,17-24 ><)))*> Matthew 10:1-7
There are two essential questions each of us asks in our lifetime that give meaning to our lives and existence: “Who Am ?” and “Where am I going?”. Both questions go hand in hand even if their answers unfold or evolve through time because the directions we take in life flow from how we have known ourselves (identity).
But of the two questions, it is the second one that we keep asking, thinking it is easier to answer that so often, we take many directions in life without much reflections.
Today our readings speak about “going”, directions from God that we must take in life, inviting us to pray and reflect about the many directions we have taken in life.
From the beautiful story of Joseph the “dreamer” in the Old Testament to Jesus in our gospel, God gives us directions, telling us where to go to find fulfillment and fulness in life.
When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them.Genesis 41:55
Go to Joseph…
God directs us to go find people of credibility and integrity who will mold us into better persons by discovering our true selves, harnessing our talents, learning and growing from our mistakes and painful past.
Here we see the need to have a true friend, a good spiritual director, a faithful co-journeyer in life who can nourish us with their holiness and spirituality, positive outlook in life, maturity and sincerity.
The other day I came across an anecdote from the late Filipino taipan John Gokongwei who claimed that the most important decision one has to make in life is choosing the person to marry because your spouse is your lifetime partner with whom you shall make your dreams come true, clarifying things for you when there are uncertainties and doubts, showing you other perspectives to consider, and one who would always stand and believe in you.
That’s is very true!
God speaks and comes to us most of the time through people he sends us like family and friends, colleagues and superiors, even strangers and people we hardly know.
Important thing is for us to be open not only to learning new things but to simply meeting people because life is about interacting with persons. See that the author of Genesis narrated how the Pharaoh told the Egyptians to “go to Joseph and do whatever he told them.”
Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”Matthew 10:5-6
Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
This is the most striking but also most beautiful direction of God that he sent us Jesus Christ our Savior: to go and search for the lost, the weak and sick, the forgotten and those in the margins. We find God most among those people.
This direction of God is also a call to service, to a loving charity to share and bring his Son Jesus Christ among the poor and rejected.
It is among the poor that we find Jesus because whenever we come to them sharing Jesus, we are surprised to find out that the Lord has been with them – also waiting for us to meet him among them! And that is when grace happens and blessings abound: the Christ among the marginalized affirming the Christ in those serving and proclaiming his gospel.
That is heaven, union with God who directs us to go and share life, to have life in its fullness.
This brings us to the heroism of the 50 soldiers who died in the plane crash last July 4 in Patikul, Sulu.
One of those who perished there is an alumnus of Our Lady of Fatima University’s College of Medicine, Capt. Dr. Nigel Emeterio of Batch 2015.
From what I have gathered among some people in the University and those who have known him and his wife who is pregnant with their second baby, Capt. Dr. Nigel was a “fearless fighter in life” who have selflessly given himself to everyone since medical school, helping friends and strangers alike in every way he could.
He had always wanted to serve in the Philippine Air Force and was the flight surgeon of the the C-130 that crashed in Sulu last Sunday while transporting troops from Cagayan de Oro City.
As a flight surgeon of the Air Force, Capt. Dr. Nigel was not only at the forefront of the government campaign against terrorists.
The young military doctor is also a medical frontliner against COVID-19 when the pandemic struck early last year, serving people in remote areas of the country being served by the Philippine Air Force.
In him we find the truth that life is not measured in years but the life in years. Though he died so young at the age of 30, Capt. Dr. Nigel had lived life to the fullest. In his six years of being a doctor, he had served and saved so many lives mostly those from the margins of the society.
He had lived life to the fullest most of all with his love not only for the people but most of all to his family, especially his wife, Dr. Dana who was also a classmate at Fatima University. She is now pregnant with their second child.
I have not talked to his widow but from the screen grabs of his posts to her shared with me by their friends, the more I admired this Capt. Dr. Nigel who had followed God’s directions in life.
His messages to his wife who is also a Doctor are filled with love and respect, hopes and dreams in the future.
Most of all, Capt. Dr. Nigel was fond of speaking about the beauty of life he had found in her and their first child, his gratitude for her love and support, and “after a year of prayers”, for the gift of a second baby.
Here is a man in touch with God, who followed the Lord and Master in serving the poor, who went to follow the divine direction to go and marry his wife to raise a family.
Last Sunday, Capt. Dr. Nigel was again sent to go as flight surgeon of some 90+ troops and civilian volunteers to fight terrorists in Sulu.
Like in his previous missions of saving lives, Capt. Dr. Nigel followed orders.
Their plane crashed and exploded after missing the airport.
Though they did not make it to their destination, surely, Capt. Dr. Nigel and the soldiers and civilians with him must have found fullness of life, now in the presence of God where we shall all go in the end.
It was a mission well-accomplished in the Lord.
Eternal rest grant unto Capt. Dr. Nigel, and companions, O Lord; May your perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.
*Please do pray also for those wounded, for those left behind by the casualties of this accident, their friends and colleagues as well as for our military men and women who serve selflessly our country, always going wherever the Lord directs them.