One of the memorable figures in my life as a Knight of the Altar was the late Fr. Codilla, our parish priest then, who was also an agriculturist. Times outside God’s service you can see him in his garden, tending to plants of every kind: from herbs to vegetables to fruit trees. I learned from him how to grow grapes and in the process realized it took a lot of caring and nurturing. You have to dig a hole quite deep and very wide for a cutting that is even barely a foot in length. Really! Even in the early stages of growth, I observed his help in the farm putting in lots (as in lots!) of fertilizer, care with abundant water and these efforts did produce great-tasting berries. He planted a lot of different varieties, each distinct from the other in appearance and most notably in sweetness. Yet without patient nurturing, I know it wouldn’t have produced these results.
The early Christian Church was no exception as it also had to manage a lot of challenges. Humans as they were, the disciples and the early Christians have to endure trials but despite that, they were very focused in their mission. They knew the distractions and managed these with wisdom from above. As a result,
“The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6: 7)
Similarly, as we grow in faith and wisdom, we are called to keep and nurture our faith. The Lord Jesus Christ assures us not to be troubled, and to have faith in Him. (Jn. 14: 1)
St. Peter exhorts us to come to the Lord,
“… a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pt.2: 5)
The story of salvation is one that is of love and generous, caring, borne out of the Father’s intention to make His people like himself. He made us like him, provided us life, shared with us the gift of intellect and understanding, and a soul just like his own. But He even more deeply shared His love by offering us the gift of salvation and everlasting life through His Son Jesus Christ.
Even with difficulties and sometimes being burdened with the feeling that God is distant and far away, we are being reminded that we are “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own.” (1 Pt. 2: 9a) Let us therefore build on this assurance and persevere given this invitation to love and the call to Eternal Life.
“I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.” (Jn. 14: 6)