Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gospel Reflection

November 13, 2012
Tuesday – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin
by Rev. Fr. Roland Roberto (Parish Priest, Holy Cross Parish, U.P. Diliman Quezon City Diocese of Cubao)
Lunch Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)

Reading 1 Ti 2:1-8, 11-14

Beloved: You must say what is consistent with sound doctrine, namely, that older men should be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance. Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink,  teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech  that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of the great God and of our savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 18 and 23, 27 and 29

R. (39a) The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
The just shall possess the land
and dwell in it forever.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.

Gospel Lk 17:7-10

Jesus said to the Apostles: “Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’”


Our Gospel for today is a Gospel which serves as an admonishment for all of us to identify ourselves with the subject of the story. Perhaps our reaction would be, "Bakit naman ganoon ang sinasabi ng Panginoon?" It is as if Jesus is telling us to be masters. We know that Jesus is not anti-laborer. He is always pro-poor. He is always for the weak; He is always for the lowly. But the Gospel would somehow seem to express that Jesus is emphasizing the role of the master.

That is the way that a person will perceive the Gospel if he relates and identifies himself with the master. But the admonishment - the focus of Jesus - is not in the master, but rather the servant. The kind of service that we have. What kind of service do we give? Sometimes, service becomes confused with merely working, that which has an equivalent compensation. As if, if we do something good, utang na loob sa atin 'yon ng mundong ito. As if utang na loob sa atin 'yon ng Diyos.

I will share with you an experience. I am currently assigned as a parish priest at the Holy Cross Parish in U.P Diliman, and our parish is very poor. That is why we do not have maintenance. We ourselves clean the parish, si Father po ang nagwawalis, si Father po ang nagma-mop kasama 'yong mga tao doon kasi nga medyo mahirap 'yong parokya. Last summer, when I celebrated my first Holy Week there, I think it was Holy Thursday, after lunch we were preparing the Church for the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Naglilinis kami, I was in my working clothes. Naka-shorts and T-shirt si Father. But people there know that I am the parish priest.

Then suddenly, a woman came into the church and sat in one of the pews. She then started to look around. And then she called me. "Pssst....! Boy....." 'Yon ang tawag niya sa akin. Lumapit naman ho ako. At ang sabi niya, "Anong oras ang misa?" Ang sabi ko, "Ay 4:30pm po, 'yong Mass of the Lord's Supper, with the rite of the Washing of the Feet." "Ah ganoon ba, 4:30?". Tapos sabi niyang ganoon, "Gumagana ba yang electric fan n'yo? Buksan mo naman, ang init eh." (laughs) And so I turned on the fan. Then eventually, she attended the mass and she saw that I was the parish priest. And she was so embarrassed.

During the time when the lady was calling me, na sinusutsutan ako at pinapalapit ako, there was, of course, the human side of me, saying "Teka lang ako 'yong parish priest dito." But the experience told me that well, this is the kind of service that God is demanding from me. Yes, we have positions in the Church, yes we have authority in the Church, but then again, we are being called to be servant leaders. To recognize your power, is to recognize your own servanthood. To be lowliest among the lowly. In order for you to be great in the eyes of God, you must humble yourself. Before you can empower people to serve others, you must first serve them. 
And there is this second story. Every day, dahil mahirap nga 'yong aking parokya, kami ang nag-aayos nito. During my first two weeks in the church, araw-araw, may nakikita akong babaeng maganda 'yong suot. Pag hapon, siya ay papasok ng simbahan, and then she would start pulling out basahan from her bag and clean the altar and the pews. I was wondering, 'sino kaya iyon'? No one was talking to her, she was very silent. Nagtatrabaho lang siya, naglilinis, with her office clothes.

For two weeks, I tried to observe her. And then hindi na ako nakatiis, I asked a parishioner kung sino ba 'yong babaeng araw-araw nagpupunta sa simbahan at naglilinis. Ang sabi sa akin ng aking parishioner, "Ay Father, siya po si Attorney." A lawyer. A lawyer who practices her profession and goes to office every day, and yet spends time to go to the church, to clean the church. It is a great challenge, especially for me. Isang malaking hamon na ang isang taong tulad niya ay mag-aalay ng oras para sa simbahan upang maglinis. The precious time that she has, she will offer to the Lord. Instead of going home to rest because of the stress that she carries on her shoulder as a lawyer, she would go to the church and help people clean the church.

Doing service to people and service to the Church, is not something that God owes. Hindi ito utang na loob ng Diyos sa atin. That is the problem with people nowadays. Service, or volunteerism at that, sometimes loses its meaning. Pag sinabing volunteer ka, hindi pwedeng mag-demand sa iyo. Pag volunteer ka sa paglilingkod, pipiliin mo ang oras na gusto mo. Which is wrong. The right concept of volunteerism, of service, is giving oneself entirely to the Lord.

I remember the Gospel last Sunday. Jesus was speaking about the real meaning of giving, when the old, poor widow gave two cents to the treasury of the temple. Jesus recognized her contribution as the greatest of all. Why? Because it was her whole livelihood. Widows during the time of Jesus are considered the poorest of the poor, because they cannot work, they do not have money. They are solely dependent on their husbands who died already. The mere treasure that the widow had, ibinigay pa niya sa templo. That is real giving. A part of you is being taken away from you para pakinabangan ng iba. Masakit - that is the real kind of giving that Jesus is referring to. When we want to become servants, when we want to volunteer ourselves to the Lord, dapat makaramdam tayo ng sakit. Kung gusto mong maglingkod sa Diyos, dapat ang pag-aalay mo ay masakit. Dahil kapag hindi ka nasasaktan, ang ibinibigay mo lang ay ang sobra sa kung ano ang mayroon ka.

And this is the challenge for us, my dear friends. For those striving to become holy, for those trying to follow the Lord towards being real Christians, to be servants of Christ, every day we should ask ourselves:  Do we really understand what servanthood is? That servanthood is offering oneself to the Lord without asking or demanding any condition, without asking or demanding anything in return. Let us pray for the grace that we may always give generous and humble service.

I would like to share with you one of my favorite prayers during the time that I was still in the seminary. It is called the Litany of Humility. In silence, I would like you to join me in this prayer. 

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,  deliver me, Jesus. 
From the desire of being loved, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.  
From the fear of being despised, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That in the opinion of the world, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
others may increase, and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.  Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini – Pray for us

You may also want to see: A Holy Life - Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini

A Holy Life

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
(1850 - 1917), Virgin, Patron of Immigrants
Feast day – November 13

Frances Xavier Cabrini was the first United States citizen to be canonized. Her deep trust in the loving care of her God gave her the strength to be a valiant woman doing the work of Christ. Refused admission to the religious order which had educated her to be a teacher, she began charitable work at the House of Providence Orphanage in Cadogno, Italy. In September 1877, she made her vows there and took the religious habit.


When the bishop closed the orphanage in 1880, he named Frances prioress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Seven young women from the orphanage joined with her. Since her early childhood in Italy, Frances had wanted to be a missionary in China but, at the urging of Pope Leo XIII, Frances went west instead of east. She travelled with six sisters to New York City to work with the thousands of Italian immigrants living there. She found disappointment and difficulties with every step. When she arrived in New York City, the house intended to be her first orphanage in the United States was not available. The archbishop advised her to return to Italy. But Frances, truly a valiant woman, departed from the archbishop’s residence all the more determined to establish that orphanage. And she succeeded. In 35 years Frances Xavier Cabrini founded 67 institutions dedicated to caring for the poor, the abandoned, the uneducated and the sick. Seeing great need among Italian immigrants who were losing their faith, she organized schools and adult education classes. As a child, she was always frightened of water, unable to overcome her fear of drowning. Yet, despite this fear, she travelled across the Atlantic Ocean more than 30 times. She died of malaria in her own Columbus Hospital in Chicago.


The compassion and dedication of Mother Cabrini is still seen in hundreds of thousands of her fellow citizens, not yet canonized, who care for the sick in hospitals, nursing homes and state institutions. We complain of increased medical costs in an affluent society, but the daily news shows us millions who have little or no medical care, and who are calling for new Mother Cabrinis to become citizen-servants of their land. At her canonization on July 7, 1946, Pius XII said, "Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman."


Sources for this article were taken from:  AmericanCatholic.org



How much there can be in a name is most clearly shown in you who was called Frances Xavier, thus expressing your wonderful missionary spirit.
An emigrant from Lombardi in Italy, you in turn took care of immigrants.
You founded the Missionary Sisters and became the first American citizen to be canonized a Saint. Make us dedicated servants of God like yourself
and care for the immigrants who need your help.


Almighty and eternal Father, Giver of all Gifts, show us Thy mercy, and grant, we beseech Thee, through the merits of Thy faithful servant, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, that all who invoke her intercession may obtain what they desire according to the good pleasure of Thy Holy Will. (mention your request).
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, beloved spouse of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, intercede for us that the favor we now ask may be granted.


Saint Frances Xavier – Pray for us