By Fr. Aldo –
Right now I am in Italy, participating in the 16th General Chapter of the Xaverian Missionaries. I drink red wine in almost every meal because it is just normal to do so here. In fact, Italy is one of the countries that most produce wine. Visiting some farmers here I noticed that some put barrels of wine in the cellar and they let it age and mellow for as much as ten years. Then, some people will take the first bottle of those barrels and offer the bottle of wine to the Lord – and then pour the ten year old bottle of wine into the sand.
This looks like a terrible waste of good wine – doesn’t it? But it is not considered a waste – for the people who do this believe that – nothing but the best is for God. For them, God has given them all the barrels of wine – it is for them to return to him, in thanksgiving and praise, the first fruits of the vineyard.
Now I remember that in the Philippines some people contribute expensive candles to be burnt on the altar of St Francis Xavier Parish and Sto. Niño de Maligaya. I once asked myself why don’t they just donate ordinary candles – these candles give off just as much light? Such people also believe that God deserves – nothing but the best.
God doesn’t need expensive wines or expensive candles – but we need to conquer our selfishness and greed, and our desires to keep everything – or at least, the best – for ourselves.
Once there was a sampagita (flowers) vendor who would offer her unsold flowers to the church. Her intention was good but – without realizing it – her act was insulting. God must be offered the best – not the leftovers.
Sometimes there are some parents who are willing to allow their least talented child to enter the seminary or convent – but not their more talented children. Sometimes a parent will threaten to have a heart attack and die if a child leaves the parent and gives himself or herself to religious life – but the same parent would encourage his or her children to leave home to go to far off countries in order to have a “better future.” In today’s gospel, Jesus tells us to “ask the harvest master to sent workers to his harvest.” Some parents take these words to heart. They pray to God that he might choose young laborers for the harvest – but somebody else’s child – not their own.
Let us pray that more young people may consider answering to the Lord’s call to work in his vineyard as Xaverian Missionaries so that while offering our best to the Lord, we contribute to the missionary work of the Church and make our world better, living as one family!