Whenever I am blessed with the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage, I cannot help but notice what is the strength of the Filipino and what needs to be improved. Our best strength is that we are warm. Once the bus driver asked me if the group that I was with are all relatives. I said that most of us just met on this tour. He was amazed because it was so easy for Filipinos to be familial with everyone.
On what needs to be strengthened: Discipline. Tell the group the meeting time is 9:00 am, and there are people who will inevitably show up at 9:15am, and even asking permission if they can still go to the toilet. You request that no one eats on the bus since there will be no one to clean and that we will be stopping every two hours anyway. On the second day, no one remembers that. Further, Filipinos are notorious for bringing everything when traveling. There are ways of circumventing the 23 kgs check-in weight and 7 kgs hand carry policy. However, because of so much stuff, traveling is also made more difficult.
In discussing traveling, Jesus wanted his disciples to TRAVEL LIGHT. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, nor let no one take a second tunic.”
Three reasons for this commandment that seemingly makes life difficult for the disciples:
- FOCUS. When one travels light, one doesn’t have to think about the luggage he has. In fact, nothing will slow him down. Hence, more and more time and effort may be placed in the ministry.
- THE GENEROSITY OF PEOPLE. Peter once asked Jesus, “We have left the land, houses, and family for the Gospel, what is it in for us?” Jesus said he will have 100x more in this life. Hence, no need to bring so much stuff because the disciple will experience people’s goodness.
- TRUST. To avoid putting the security and trust in the material things, Jesus limits the material things to be brought. On the other hand, when one trusts God, he would see indeed that with God, nothing is impossible.
Hence in each Mass three things we remember:
- Life is a journey.
- Travel light on this journey. That is materially by learning to let go, and spiritually by forgiving.
- In all circumstances of life, we find ourselves in, TRUST GOD.