Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gospel Reflection

October 11, 2012
Thursday – Weekday – Year of Faith
by Rev.  Fr. Chris Habal
Morning Mass at EDSA Shrine, Our Lady of Peace Quasi-Parish

Reading 1 Gal 3:1-5

O stupid Galatians! Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard? Are you so stupid? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so many things in vain?-- if indeed it was in vain. Does, then, the one who supplies the Spirit to you and works mighty deeds among you do so from works of the law or from faith in what you heard?

Responsorial Psalm Lk 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75

R. (68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
R. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to his people.

Gospel Lk 11:5-13

Jesus said to his disciples: "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"


In the reading today, St. Paul told the Christians of Galatia "stupid". Sabi nga nila, galit si St. Paul sa mga taga-Galatia. At bakit siya nagagalit sa mga Galatians? It is because St. Paul was the one who founded the Church in Galatia. He was the one who preached to them about Jesus - about the Gospel of Jesus. He was the one who gathered them for the Eucharist. He was the father of the Galatian Christian community. We know that St. Paul is ephemeral; he moved from one place to another. So when he thought that the Christian community in Galatia was a bit stable, he moved to other places. But he learned that the Galatians, whom he gathered in faith and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, reverted to their old way of life, that after their beginning in the spirit, they are now ending with the flesh.
'Yon ang dahilan ng galit ni St. Paul. And my dear brothers and sisters, we can apply this to ourselves - to our modern times. Many places, many countries are formed by Christian culture, formed by Christian ideals. Let us take for example, Europe. Europe has been formed by Christian culture - by Christian faith. But we can see now what we call secularization - the gradual setting aside of faith, gradually taking faith out of public life, out of people's lives. That is the reality of the modern times. Maraming magagandang nangyayari sa ating panahon, but we should also be on guard with regard to this secularization mindset - taking away God from the picture.
In that context, we could understand the Year of Faith. The Holy Father declared today, October 11, until November 24 next year, as the Year of Faith, inviting the whole Church to rediscover our faith in Christ once again, for each one of us to re-study and go back to our catechism, for us to re-study the truths that we believe in as Christians, to celebrate the sacraments of faith, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as real mysteries of faith, and opportunities to encounter the living Jesus. The Year of Faith is also a Year of Mission - a year of new evangelization. The bishops are now in a synod on new evangelization - thinking, reflecting on how the Church can respond anew to this challenge of bringing the Gospel to all.
And we are all invoked in this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let us not allow this Year of Faith pass without deepening our own faith and conviction, and be a witness to Jesus and his Church. Let us not allow this Year of Faith to pass without leading someone to Christ, without leading someone to His Church, without leading someone to encounter the living Jesus.
When we turn to the Gospel, Jesus continues to teach us the ways of prayer. Yesterday, we heard Jesus teaching his disciples 'the Lord's prayer'. Now, He is teaching us the basic disposition of prayer. Number one is persistence, perseverance, of not giving up in prayer. We do not give up in prayer, even at times, what we need seems to be a miracle. Even at times, what we ask for, and the things happening around us seem to be contradictory to each other, we should not give up, we persevere in prayer. Because we know that if we ask, we shall receive. If we continue to seek, we shall find. If we don't stop knocking at the heart of Jesus, He will open the door for us.
But my dear brothers and sisters, this attitude of perseverance, of persistence, of not giving up, is not simply a human effort - 'yong patatagan ng loob, patigasan ng loob - NO. This attitude, if this should be applied to prayer, must be rooted on something very basic - on trust. We don't simply give up, because we trust the Lord. We persevere because we trust He knows what we need, He knows what is best for us. That is why toward the end of the Gospel, Jesus would say, "If you then who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit, to those who ask of Him?" Yes, our persistence, our perseverance, our never giving up, is dependent on our amount of trust, our degree of faith. Our trust that the Lord knows what we need, that the Lord is Father to us, that He is caring for us.
So let us learn from Jesus' way of prayer, especially in this Year of Faith. Prayer is an indispensable way to deepen our faith, to deepen our trust in God. Because prayer is actually an encounter with a God who loves us, who knows us, who cares for us, Amen.