Friday, August 31, 2012

Gospel Reflection

August 31, 2012
by Rev. Fr. Chris Habal
(Morning Mass at Edsa Shrine)

First Reading:               1 Corinthians 1:17-25
Psalm:                         Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 10-11
Gospel:                        Matthew 25:1-13           

1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7 Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' 9 But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' 12 But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.


St. Paul portrayed in the Gospel the person of Christ, as the strength and wisdom of God. For St. Paul, the signs being looked for, being awakened for by the Jews were all fulfilled in Christ. The wisdom being searched for by the Greeks are all found in Christ. That's why he said,
"For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified, 
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, 
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."

So clearly St. Paul is presenting here, Jesus Christ - His teaching, His life, His person, His cross - as the power and the wisdom of God. It is the power and wisdom that comes from God, that brings us salvation. It is the power to save us - to bring us to eternal life. And it is a good reminder, my dear brothers and sisters, that our salvation, eternal life, and all we long for, is not simply a product of our own human strength. It is not simply a product or a result of our own human wisdom. It is always Jesus crucified - the strength of God, the power of God, the wisdom of God, that saves us.

That is why it is very important that we stay close to Him. That His life will live in our own life. It is very important that we are faithful to His teachings. It is very important that we follow the way of the Cross. Although at times, we may find the Cross foolishness or weakness, but with faith, we know that if we are united in Christ, we are strong, we are wise, not only on human estimation, but with the strength that comes from God. This is something very clear to St. Paul.

And when we turn to the Gospel, we are presented with the ten virgins - five of them were foolish, five of them were wise. What was the basis of their being foolish or their being wise? The foolish ones brought no extra oil for them. They failed to anticipate that the bridegroom whom they await might come late, that their oil might not be enough. But the wise ones anticipated all these things. They brought with them flasks of oil - extra oil, sufficient enough, even though the bridegroom might be late.

The Fathers of the Church explain this image, this symbol of extra oil, this lamp filled with oil and a light waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. The Fathers of the Church said that this image can be compared to faith. The oil, the lighted lamp that is sufficient to wait until the coming of the bridegroom, pertains to faith. And so we ask ourselves - are we really the five foolish virgins, or are we the wise ones? Is our faith in Jesus crucified - is our faith affiliation, identification to His teaching, to His Cross, enough to persist until He comes again? Is our faith in Him persisting, persevering, until He comes again?

Pwedeng mangyari na at the middle of it, mauubusan tayo. But let us be like the wise virgins - ready, and who have brought extra oil - sufficient oil. Let our faith be also sufficient, lasting, persevering - so that when the bridegroom comes, when the Lord Jesus comes again, He may find our lamps alive, our lives alight with faith. We pray for this grace. We pray for persevering faith. We pray for constancy in faith in Jesus Christ - the wisdom of God, the strength of God, Amen.

Food for Our Soul

You Are A Son And An Heir Of God    

Galatians 4:6–7
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. 

Perhaps these questions have been popping into your head lately: “If you are a Christian, why are you sick? If your heavenly Father is so wonderful, why do you have so many problems? Doesn’t your God help you, His child?” 

And if you have been tempted to ask, “God, I am Your child. Why is this happening to me?” know that Jesus knows exactly how you feel because 2,000 years ago, the devil played the same trick on Him — “If You are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3) You see, the devil’s intention was to make Jesus doubt His Sonship, and the devil wants to do the same thing to you today.
He wants to destroy the Spirit of sonship in you and in the body of believers. He knows that once you really believe that you are a son of God, something happens — you begin to live life as “an heir of God through Christ”. 

As a son and an heir of God, you inherit all the blessings of God which Jesus died to give you, including salvation, healing, prosperity, wholeness, favor, intimacy with God and answered prayers. And Jesus rose from the dead to make sure that what He died to give you, you get. He is alive today to enforce this rich, blood-bought inheritance in your life! 

My friend, you are an heir of God through Christ. This means that you are joint heirs with Jesus. (Romans 8:17) So His inheritance is your inheritance too! 

What is prosperity when you are an heir of God? All the diamonds and gold came from Him. What is provision when you are an heir of God? He owns every beast in the forest and the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) What is healing when you are an heir of God? He is your Creator and the very breath of your life
Beloved, enjoy every bit of your inheritance in Christ, not because you deserve it, but because it was paid for by Jesus’ blood!