September 04, 2012
by Rev. Fr. Jomar Burgos (LMI), Rev.Fr. Joseph Fung (LMI), Rev Fr. Thomas Chen (Priest fr. Korea)
and Msgr. Bong Lo (Megamall Chaplain)
(Afternoon Mass at Megamall)
Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
31 And he went down to Caper'na-um, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath; 32 and they were astonished at his teaching, for his word was with authority. 33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. 36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, "What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." 37 And reports of him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
(Father Bong Lo shared the story of Father Jomar Burgos, who, six years ago, texted Father Bong that he is interested to apply in the seminary. Father Jomar was a civil engineer with a good salary, and was the favorite of his Filipino-Chinese boss. When Father Jomar told his boss that he wanted to be a priest, the boss asked him "anong problema mo?" hahaha Father Jomar is now four days young as a priest.)
Let us celebrate this mass and pray for our new priest, Father Jomar, who is on his fourth day of being a priest. Let us thank God for the gift of holiness, in the person of Father Jomar. Let us also pray for all priests - and also each and everyone of us - that we may remain more and more faithful, more and more generous, and more and more joyful in the service of God and His people. Let us pray for each other, support each other, let us inspire and encourage one another.
In the Gospel reading today, the people who heard about Jesus and saw what Jesus did, were amazed and said to one another, "What is there about His word, that with authority and power, he commands unclean spirits and they come out?" Yes, the people were amazed, the people were impressed, but they did not fully understand. If we are going to apply this in our daily lives, we can see na ang hilig natin sa mga amazing things. Ang hilig natin sa mga impressive things. Gusto natin dramatic, gusto natin impressive. Especially our generation today - the bigger, the better; the louder, the stronger, the more powerful. Mukhang quantity na ang tinitingnan. Yes, impressed tayo, and yet we do not fully understand.
As St. Paul conveyed in the First Reading today - Unless you have the Spirit of God, you cannot understand God, and the things of God. The natural man understands the natural way. Six years ago, Father Jomar texted me that he wanted to apply in the seminary, and I told him "See me at the Megamall Chapel". That is the old Megamall Chapel - that is why it is fitting that he celebrates his thanksgiving mass here at the Megamall Chapel. Father Jomar's boss told him, "Entering a Catholic seminary will not do you any good." Six years later, Father Bong asks Father Jomar, "Is your boss correct?" Unless Father Jomar did not have the Spirit of God, he will not understand the message of God for him.
Communion, sacraments, the Church, the Bible, marriage, natural family planning, self-control - these are not things of the world. Unless we have the Spirit of God, we will not understand these things. Sometimes, people use the Church as a way to self-gain. Sad to say but it is true. Let us pray to Jesus that when we make our choices, when we make our decisions, we may understand with God's Spirit, not only in the short-term, medium term, or long-term, but in the context of eternity. Let us pray for each other, that we may grow in the totality of the Spirit of Jesus, in the Spirit of truth, in the Spirit of love, Amen.