Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gospel Reflection

October 09, 2012
Tuesday - Weekday
by Rev.Fr. Joseph Feng (Spiritual Director and Orientationer, Lorenzo Mission Institute)
Lunch Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Gal 1:13-24

Brothers and sisters: You heard of my former way of life in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it, and progressed in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my race, since I was even more a zealot for my ancestral traditions. But when he, who from my mother's womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas and remained with him for fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the Apostles, only James the brother of the Lord. (As to what I am writing to you, behold, before God, I am not lying.) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that "the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." So they glorified God because of me.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15

R. (24b) Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
O LORD, you have probed me and you know me;
you know when I sit and when I stand;
you understand my thoughts from afar.
My journeys and my rest you scrutinize,
with all my ways you are familiar.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
Truly you have formed my inmost being;
you knit me in my mother’s womb.
I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made;
wonderful are your works.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.
My soul also you knew full well;
nor was my frame unknown to you
When I was made in secret,
when I was fashioned in the depths of the earth.
R. Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way.

Gospel Lk 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."


When the time comes that you have to stand before the Lord, and He asks you, "Why should I give you eternal life?", what will be your answer?
Maybe some of you will say "I go to Church on Sundays." "I give donations to the Church, to the poor". "I do a lot of sacrifice, and do not do things against my conscience."
I will tell you brothers and sisters, all that we have is not of our own making. Even if we have good health, even if we have the capacity to see, to speak, to hear, the ability to move around, all of these are of the Lord's making. How many people have been born blind? How many people have been born crippled? But you can see, you can walk. What have we done to deserve this?  
Have we ever thanked God for the air we breathe? Have we ever thanked the Lord for sight, for our good health? We are distracted by so many things, that we forget that all of these are of the Lord's making.
I remember Cardinal Sin sharing a story that when he was a young seminarian, he was surprised when a Bishop asked, "Brothers, I will ask you one question before your ordination. How weak are you to become a priest?" The Bishop did not ask how strong they are but how weak they are to become priests. My dear friends, I think that the Bishop is trying to point that even to become a priest, is not of our own making, but of God's. And what is important is how ready we are, how willing we are to strive, how willing we are to accept our weaknesses, yet striving to listen attentively to God and doing His will.
In the First Reading today, St. Paul told the Galatians that he was a persecutor of the Church, that he was against the Church, that he was the least of the Apostles. But it is Christ who called him, who joined him and brought him back to God. St. Paul never grew tired of speaking of his weaknesses, but then he encountered the Lord through conversion, through years of prayer and contemplation, through spending time with the Lord.
The Gospel today presents two sides of a coin. Our Christian life should be a life of prayer and of activity. We, Christians, are called to live a life of contemplation and prayer. We need to reflect on the word of God, and be nourished by Jesus through prayer. But we also need to go out and lead the faithful in our everyday life through active service. To just serve without prayer is not enough - we only become activists. And to pray without action is also not enough - we only become fanatics. Martha and Mary represent these two sides of a coin. We need prayer and a deep commitment to God, which is the better part, but we can be fully nourished when we go and fulfill our duties through service.
So my dear friends, plan your life - which part is for prayer, and which part is for active participation in charity, in service, in our duties? The Gospel today invites us to live a life of contemplation and action - of action with prayer.