Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gospel Reflection

September 26, 2012
Wednesday – Weekday
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
Lunch Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Prv 30:5-9

Every word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Add nothing to his words, lest he reprove you, and you will be exposed as a deceiver. Two things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, "Who is the LORD?" Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:29, 72, 89, 101, 104, 163

R. (105) Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Remove from me the way of falsehood,
and favor me with your law.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
The law of your mouth is to me more precious
than thousands of gold and silver pieces.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Your word, O LORD, endures forever;
it is firm as the heavens.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Through your precepts I gain discernment;
therefore I hate every false way.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.
Falsehood I hate and abhor;
your law I love.
R. Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my feet.

Gospel Lk 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, "Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them." Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the Good News and curing diseases everywhere.


One time I read, I don't know if this is true. Sabi nila - one of the most painful, or one of the greatest pains that a man can experience, is the pain of childbirth. Di ko alam 'yon - totoo po ba 'yon? Sabi nila, it is equivalent to 26 bones being crushed simultaneously. Kaya sabi nila, this is a proof that women are not the weaker sex, but are actually the stronger sex. Sabi nila, pag lalaki daw ang nakaranas niyan, baka mamatay. Kaya naman noong nabasa ko 'yon, nasabi kong talaga namang mamahalin mo ang mga Nanay, for their ability to go through that kind of pain.

It is part of our human nature to avoid pain, to avoid suffering, to avoid lack or deficiency. That is why when we hear the Gospel today, something in us complains. Bakit parang ang lupit lupit naman ni Jesus sa mga disciples? "When you go, don't bring a second tunic. Do not bring with you a walking staff nor a stick. Do not bring with you money." Para bang lahat na lang ng pagpapahirap ay ibinibigay niya sa mga Disipulo.

What is the point of today's Gospel? Jesus is not merely endorsing an aversion towards everything that is good. Jesus is only telling us and reminding us of a spiritual attitude - a spiritual attitude that the saints call a holy detachment. Ano po 'yong holy detachment ? A holy detachment is an attitude of the heart which can appreciate the goods of this world, and realize that they are not ends in themselves. A holy detachment is an attitude of the heart that recognizes that everything is gift - but beyond this gift is a Giver, and therefore, we should not only find for the gift, but we should also long for the Giver of the gifts.

Hindi naman sinabi ni Hesus sa mga Disipulo na magpaka-dalita kayo. This is a metaphor for Jesus and the Disciples - bring only what you need, and what is excess, forgo it. At alam naman natin na kailangan nating lahat ang ganyang reminder. For all of us are very much attracted to excess.

Just this morning, I read in the news that there are over 5 million new iPhone 5's sold. In just one day of its release, there are already 5 million iPhone 5's sold. Ang tanong po dito - kailangan mo ba talaga ng iPhone 5, kung meron ka nang iPhone 4? Ano ba ang pagkakaiba ng iPhone 5 sa iPhone 4? Mas malaki lang 'yong screen, mas magaan lang. But all of these, when you look at what is happening to the world, with holy detachment, it should be able to tell us - ito bang mga bagay na ito na naglalabasan eh talagang kailangan ko? Or is the consumeristic attitude only feeding in, into my attraction for what is convenient, for what is less painful, or what is more beneficial to me?

Today, the Gospel is reminding us that if this is our domain for happiness, we could not dispense what we call a holy detachment. Without this holy detachment, we will forever be wanting, and wanting, and wanting. Believe me, it will not end with iPhone 5 - magkakaroon pa 'yan ng iPhone 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. For as long as there is in the human heart that longing for more and more and more - hindi matatapos 'yan. It is only with that attitude of holy detachment that we can say "I am contented with what I have. And because I am contented with what I have, then I can begin to be truly happy". Kapag walang holy detachment, you will never be happy - kasi ang ating attitude, there is always something missing - laging may kailangan pa ako, dapat may dumating pa. You will never be happy. It is only with holy detachment that we can recognize that all these gifts that we find in the world, are only reflections of the Giver. And it is when I long for the Giver, that I will begin to have a contented heart. Let us pray for this grace in this Eucharist, Amen.