Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gospel Reflection

September 05, 2012
Wednesday – Weekday
by  Rev. Fr. Jun Sescon (Chaplain, Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel)
Evening Mass at Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel

First Reading:               1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Psalm:                         Psalm 33:12-15, 20-21
Gospel:                        Luke 4:38-44    

38 And he arose and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's house. Now Simon's mother-in-law was ill with a high fever, and they besought him for her. 39 And he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her; and immediately she rose and served them. 40 Now when the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41 And demons also came out of many, crying, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them, and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ. 42 And when it was day he departed and went into a lonely place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them; 43 but he said to them, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose." 44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.


Sometimes, we hear ourselves say, "We are very busy." But in today's Gospel, we can see that Jesus is also very busy. Our Gospel today is action-packed. It began with Jesus leaving the synagogue, going to the house of the mother-in-law of Peter, curing her, and then going to places, healing the sick, expelling demons, preaching the Good News, and then Jesus going to a deserted place to pray, then Jesus says He has to go to the next town, and it ends with Jesus entering the synagogue. It begins with leaving the synagogue, and ends in Jesus entering the synagogue - it comes into a full circle. If there is a person so busy, it is Jesus. Jesus is the exemplary multi-tasker.

But how did Jesus survive? Why is it that despite so many things to do, Jesus still found the strength? It is one saving grace also for the Lord - Jesus was focused. Despite of many concerns, Jesus had focus in life. When He was in the synagogue, Jesus' focus was in the preaching of the Kingdom of God. When he went to public places, His focus was to preach the Good News, and when He went to a deserted place to pray, His focus was the Father. And although the Disciples told Him that there were so many sick who waited to be healed, He said He had to go to the next town. See how focused Jesus was. His focus was the continuing of His mission. And that is the grace we are praying - the gift of focus. Let us ask the Lord, "Lord, let us be focused in life."

Sometimes, we are so stressed out, we are so tense, we are so burned out because we lack focus in life. In the first Reading, we heard St. Paul complaining because the people had lost focus. They say "I am for Paul, I belong to Apollos.” St. Paul says that the people are now looking more on the messengers, and not on the message. Perhaps we could learn from that - do not look at the messenger, look at the message.

Sometimes, even in life, in our work, in our relationships, we fumble because we look at the messenger, and not at the message. Siguro ngayon natapos na ang araw mo, galit na galit ka kasi may nagsabi sa iyo na hindi maganda ang trabaho mo. At ang nagkataong nagsabi sa iyo eh 'yong kinaiinisan mo pa. Baka naman totoo talagang may di maganda sa trabaho mo, but you don't want to admit because you are looking at the messenger - you fail to look at the message. Or for example, 'yong mas nakakabata sa iyo, kino-correct ka. Di mo matanggap kasi sa kultura natin, ang bata hindi dapat sumasabat sa usapan ng mga matatanda.

And so we fail to appreciate the message, because you are looking at the messenger. Today, perhaps we could ask ourselves - what are the messages that I have not taken seriously, simply because of the messenger. There are some things that we have to accept, we have to admit, but up to now we are still in denial because we are just looking at the messenger, not at the message. Or perhaps, this time, let us look at the other extreme. If you are the one delivering the message, focus on the message. Baka naman kasi in delivering the message, hindi na rin marinig ng mga tao 'yong gusto mong sabihin, kasi ang dami mo na ring garnishings - kasi mayroon tayong personal feelings na nararamdaman. Instead of saying "di maganda ang ginawa mo", may sasabihin ka pang "Alam mo, tamad ka yata eh. Bingi ka yata." Marami ka nang dinagdag. As the one delivering the message, it is also important to focus on the message.

Today, we pray for the grace that we may learn to focus - what are the messages that we receive, and what are the messages that we have to convey. Let us ask ourselves - have we focused on the message? Maraming nagkakagalit, maraming di nagkakaunawaan, maraming nagkakahiwalay, dahil lamang di nag-focus sa message. Jesus knew how to prioritize things. Jesus knew what is more important in life - had a balanced life - because He also had focus on God.

As we continue with this mass, dear brothers and sisters, we pray: Lord, we have so many concerns. I now open my heart to You. Lord, in the midst of so many problems and concerns, of so many prayers and petitions, keep me focused. There is so much division in our family, in our office. There is so much division in my heart now, Lord, because I confess Lord, I am not so focused. There are problems which are not really that serious but I make a 'mountain out of a mole' here, Lord. There are problems which are really very serious, Lord, and I have lost my focus. Dear Jesus, You knew how to do the will of the Father. Despite of the so many focuses in life, You have placed Your focus on the Father. And so Lord, in this mass, we pray - teach us, above all, to focus on the Father, because when there is a space for God in our hearts, everything else will follow, Amen.

Joy of Quotes

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
Proverbs 10:4

Food for Our Soul

The Lord, our refuge, will always deliver us....God bless ! 

Psalm 91:3
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.

Today, we hear of new strains of viruses which were unheard of only a generation ago. The world has yet to find cures for them and many people are afraid of being struck down by these viruses. 

But as believers, we are not of the world, though we are in the world. (John 17:15–16) So our protection is not of the world, but of the Lord. And when we say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust,” (Psalm 91:2) then what follows is not “maybe”, but surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
A couple in our church can testify that surely the Lord delivered and protected their two young children during a Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) outbreak, which claimed a few lives in Singapore not long ago. 

When their four-year-old daughter started vomiting and running a fever, the mother brought her to their family doctor, who found ulcers in her mouth and small red dots on her hands and feet — symptoms of the HFMD. Naturally, the doctor prescribed medication for her.
Back home, however, the little girl continued to vomit throughout the day, throwing up everything including the medication. Her fever persisted. Not able to do anything for their daughter, the parents prayed, proclaiming Jesus as their healer, and partook of the Holy Communion many times with both their children. 

That night, their daughter’s fever broke and the vomiting subsided. They continued making the Lord their refuge and fortress. Within two days, their daughter was completely delivered from the disease. And all this while, their six-year-old son was completely protected from the infectious disease. 

Beloved, you don’t need to be afraid of deadly diseases which may have claimed the lives of others. You don’t have to be fearful that you or your child may become victims of these super bugs. When the Lord is your refuge and fortress, surely He shall deliver you and your family from the snare of the fowler, such as the avian flu, and from all perilous pestilences!