MANILA--The San Sebastian Parish launches the year-long celebrations of the 4th centenary of the arrival in the Philippines of the first image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The celebrations began with the traditional novena in honor of our Lady of Mount Carmel culminating with a Solemn Thanksgiving Mass on the 16th of July 2017. No other than the Prior Provincial of the Philippines Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno, Rev. Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR was the main celebrant together with more than twenty Recollect Religious and Clergy concelebrants.
The parish priest, Rev. Fr. Antonio "Joy" Zabala, OAR took the opportunity to present the activities lined up for the year.
Right after the Mass, hundreds of parishioners and devotees joined the procession around the parish. Viva! Virgen del Carmen, Guapa!
We are like clay vessels
A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay vessels. It was like someone had rolled balls of clay and left them out in the sun to bake.
They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.
He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!
Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay vessels. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of pesos worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.
He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of pesos in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!
It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.
We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy. But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.
There is a treasure in each one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.
May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay.