Friday, October 26, 2012

Gospel Reflection

October 26, 2012
Friday – Weekday – Year of Faith
by Msgr. Bong Lo (Chaplain, Chapel of Eucharistic Lord)
Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Eph 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace; one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 24:1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

R. (see 6) Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
The LORD's are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
He whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.

Gospel Lk 12:54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, "When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain--and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot--and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

"Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? If you are to go with your opponent before a magistrate, make an effort to settle the matter on the way; otherwise your opponent will turn you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the constable, and the constable throw you into prison. I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."


Magandang tanghali po sa inyong lahat.

In order to communicate with one another, we need signs - signs and symbols that, we have agreed upon, stand for something. A sign always points beyond itself. The flowers at the altar is not just a decoration. It's a sign - it's a sign that points beyond itself. It's a sign that reminds us of the beauty of God. Just as these flowers are beautiful, God is much, much more beautiful. The candle is not just a decoration. The candle is a sign that points beyond itself. The light of the candle points to the light of God that keeps you and me, the light that enlightens you and me. The heat of the flame reminds us of the warmth of God's love. You and I must be able to recognize and understand signs.

Halimbawa ito po (makes the V sign with his two fingers), we have used this sign many times to express something. What does this sign stand for? (The people say 'peace'.) Depende po. To understand a sign, we must know the context. In the 1940's and the 1950's, this sign meant 'Victory Joe', after the liberalization of the Philippines, after the liberalization of Manila, after the end of the war, this sign meant 'Victory Joe'. That was the context. In the 1960's and 1970's, during the time of the Hippies, this sign meant 'peace'. In the 1980's, specifically during the 1986 snap elections, this sign meant KBL - Kilusang Bagong Lipunan ni Marcos. But for a kindergarten child, this symbolizes the number 2.

My sisters and brothers, we must be aware of signs, and read them according to their context. In the Gospel reading, Jesus castigated His contemporaries. Because they were good in reading signs, left and right, but they failed or they refused to recognize and appreciate the sign of the present moment. Jesus was the sign. Jesus was the symbol. Jesus was the sacrament of God's presence. But they refused to recognize the presence of God in Jesus. They only saw humanity; they refused to appreciate His Divinity. They refused to listen and respond to His message.

Jesus is calling and inviting you and me to recognize the sign of His presence in our life. If you remember, in one Gospel story, one day, Jesus told His Apostles, "O mauna na kayong sumakay sa bangka". Siya naman pumunta sa bundok at nagdasal the whole night. Then, early in the morning, while the Apostles were in the boat being tossed by the wind and the waves, Jesus walked towards them on the water. At nang makita nila Siyang lumalakad early in the morning on the water, they cried. They thought He was a ghost. But Jesus told them, "Take hold of yourselves. It is I. Be not afraid." The Apostles failed to recognize the presence of Jesus in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the waves. They failed to recognize His presence in the midst of darkness.

Sometimes, ikaw at ako ganyan din. Pag blessed na blessed ka, you recognize His presence. "Ay talagang may Diyos, ay talagang mahal Niya ako. Truly, God is with me." Pero pag may problema, may trials, we fail to recognize His presence. We question His presence. We ask Him, "Lord, where are you?" Tulad ng footprints in the sand, hindi ba. "Lord, I noticed that in good times, there were two sets of footprints in the sand, yours and mine, walking together, hand-in-hand. But I noticed that during the bad times, I noticed that there was only one set of footprints in the sand. Where were you, Lord, during bad times?" And Jesus said, "It was my set of footprints. I was there." My sisters and brothers, let us recognize God's presence, not only in good times, but also in bad times. Let us recognize that sometimes, even trials are blessings in disguise. That even in the midst of storms, even in the midst of darkness, Jesus is present. Let us not cry out, "It's a ghost." Rather, let us cry out, "It's the Lord. It's the Lord."

Jesus, in the Gospel Reading, also tells us to be conscious of what we must do in the present. Many times, we think so much of the past, many times we think so much of the future, that we fail to recognize the call of the moment. Jesus said we must make peace with one another, we must make peace with God in the present, before it is too late. Ganyan din po ang message ng ating First Reading, from the letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians, telling us to live according to our calling, to live humbly, gently, patiently, bearing one another through love.

Let us close our reflection in this mass by recalling a verse that has become popular. The verse says, "Minsan lamang ako daraan sa daigdig na ito. Kaya anumang kabutihan ang kaya kong gawin ngayon, anumang kabutihan ang kaya kong ipadama, hayaan ninyong gawin ko ngayon ang mga bagay na ito. Sapagkat di na ako muli daraan sa daigdig na ito." "I shall pass this world but once, any good that I can do, or any kindness that I can share, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again." The present moment is a gift, the present moment is a sign, calling you and me to do what we can do, and what we should do.