Reflection done by Fr. Thiago, sx. –
We have listened to in the first reading the apostle Paul saying to the Corinthians: “Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ…”
Why did the apostle Paul choose the fragrance as a symbol of the mission of the disciples in spreading everywhere Christ´s Gospel? I found out three reasons which can be possible answers to this question.
First, the fragrance is something that more than described it can be recognized. For example, if I have smelled the fragrance of a rose, I can say something about that fragrance, but I cannot deeply describe it. Nevertheless, every time that I will smell that fragrance again, I will remember that flower. Similarly, the disciple of Christ is the one who doesn´t show much his-her belonging to Christ through his-her words, but first and foremost through his-her life, which should be a manifestation of Jesus´ life. People approaching us should say: “Hum, smells good! Mabango! Fragrance of Christ!” And what is the fragrance of Christ? The Gospel tells us that it is: service, welcoming, attention, forgiveness, life, mercy, in one word: love.
Second, the nature of a fragrance is in itself self-giving. For instance, when a person puts on perfume, that person cannot say: “this is only for my siblings, relatives and friends” – it´s not like that. A person cannot pretend to rule over the fragrance, because the fragrance is the liberation of its essential being, released freely and for everybody. Likewise, the Christian is the one who has received the fragrance of Christ not only for him-herself; not only for his-her own parish, but that person has become a sign of Jesus´ presence to the whole world.
Lastly, although the fragrance is not something extraordinary (apparently it seems something insignificant) its effect is really powerful. It is capable to fill a whole place with its aroma, like that perfumed poured on Jesus´ feet by Mary, which filled the whole house. Similarly, God is not asking us to accomplish extraordinary things, but he is asking us to be what we are: fragrance of Christ. In this way we will testify that humanity dreamed by God, where God is our Father, and we are his children, therefore, brothers and sisters among us. May the life and the example of Pedro Calungsod, inspire us and teach us how to spread the fragrance of Christ’s Gospel everywhere.