‘Running priest’: Silence, simplicity needed today
Fr. Robert Reyes celebrates the first day novena Mass in preparation for the feast of St. Joseph on March 19, 2018. PHOTO FROM SAN JOSE SEMINARY
By Roel Joe Abonal
March 11, 2018
A priest known for social activism has reminded everyone about the need for silence and simplicity in life.
Citing the life of St. Joseph, Fr. Robert Reyes said “Joseph found strength in the silence of God.”
In his homily during the first day novena Mass in preparation for the feast of St. Joseph, the priest said upon learning that Mary was with a child, Joseph acted not out of his weakness and fear for scandal but “from his conviction and faith.”
Noise = weakness, clutter
According to Reyes, this is at odds with what modern society faces nowadays.
“There is noise. And from this noise, there is weakness and clutter,” noted the running priest.
He said an example of noise is a government official who wished Sen. Leila de Lima to “spend the rest of your life in jail” while extolling Mocha Uson as a “good role model for women because of her social media following.”
Reyes stressed the importance of simplicity as he shared his experience of “relative silence to near absolute silence in a Franciscan novitiate.”
In the novitiate, he said he found silence, nature, and God amid the noise and pomp of the world.
“One can be so puffed up and self-centered [but] all these [riches] of the world will not last in the final day,” he said.
Pharisee and the tax collector
The priest also pointed out the Gospel story about the tax collector and the Pharisee who were praying in the temple.
The tragedy of the Pharisee, according to him, is that while he was going “higher and higher, he became poorer and poorer, even emptier and emptier.” On the other hand, the tax collector who admitted his sinfulness in front of God became “lower and lower but richer and richer and eventually, fuller and fuller.”
Reyes, an alumnus of San Jose Seminary, presided over the Mass in a series of Masses in preparation for the feast of St. Joseph. For several decades, he became known to the media as the “running priest” for running in the name of key social issues like the death penalty.
With the theme, “San Jose: Gabay at Modelo Sa Buhay Na Inialay Kay Kristo,” the novena will end with a feast day Mass on March 19 with Fr. Renato Repole, SJ, rector of San Jose Seminary, as presider.
For more details, interested groups and individuals may contact Sem. Paul John Banaybanay, liturgical celebrations coordinator, through email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone number (02) 426-6091, or through the official Facebook page of San Jose Seminary.