I joined the other three servers at the front pew just as Fr. Thomas was about to give his homily. Right after this mass, the four of us would be giving our yes—our commitment—to Pure Heart Philippines. Would would be promising to try to live and promote purity of heart for the next year. Still feeling helpless from what we learned during the monthly formation about the sad reality of child sex trafficking in the country, I tried to process how all these came to be. I mean, it is such a great shame that we are letting these things happen to our poor children. It is such a shame that we think we are powerless.
I think it was no mere coincidence we were making our commitment as Pure Heart servers on the day the gospel reading was about the parable of the talents. This passage is about a servant being punished by his master for not doing anything with the possessions entrusted to him. It is called the parable of the talents because each servant was given talents of property. A talent was actually an ancient unit of currency. However, this talent in the parable could very well be interpreted as….a talent—our personal abilities! So it was fitting that, on the day we were saying yes to God’s call, He reminded us we have been given gifts that we can use to serve Him.
In his sermon, Fr. Thomas posed this question, “What is holding us back from serving?” Really, what is holding a server back from serving? (Well, aside from the fact that most of us have full-time jobs.) While I pondered on this, I couldn't help but recall the first time I went on a mission with Pure Heart. I wasn’t really excited to go because I still had some self-doubts. What business does a sinner like me have sharing the Word of God? I was happy to be there, but felt a bit out of place. It didn’t help that we were greeted by a rowdy audience—those supposedly more intellectual students! I started to wonder if all the other missions were like this. I was slowly losing faith that we would ever get our message across. However, as the talks started, the students started behaving and listened intently. At that moment, I was instantly reminded that Jesus is with us. Yes, Jesus is with us—after all, He is the mission captain. He is the one sending us, and He is with us all the time.
As I made my promises to Pure Heart that night, my thoughts were brought again to those children suffering from abuse and exploitation. I prayed that in answering yes to God's call, I may be His instrument in helping alleviate the pain of those abused and keep others from suffering the same plight.
So what is holding you back from giving your yes? Be not afraid! We have the Son of God for a mission captain. Whatever is holding us back, we just need to surrender everything to Him and trust that He can use us to spread His light!
Written by Tony Quilling