Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gospel Reflection

November 22, 2012
Thursday – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint Cecilia – Patron of Church Music
by Rev. Fr. Benjo Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
Lunch Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)

Reading 1 Rv 5:1-10

I, John, saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. It had writing on both sides and was sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a mighty angel who proclaimed in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to examine it. I shed many tears because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to examine it. One of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals."

Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders a Lamb that seemed to have been slain. He had seven horns and seven eyes; these are the seven spirits of God sent out into the whole world. He came and received the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones. They sang a new hymn:

"Worthy are you to receive the scroll and break open its seals, for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation. You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on earth."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (Rev. 5:10) The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lamb has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Lk 19:41-44

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, "If this day you only knew what makes for peace-- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."


Our Gospel reading speaks of the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem. Indeed, it happened forty years after Jesus' death.

When we speak of apocalyptic literature as we heard in the first readings, we hear about symbols being used about the coming of the end days - the eschatological period, or the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is not meant to scare us, but rather, to prepare us for the imminent, second coming of Jesus Christ. It cannot be denied. It will surely come, but no one knows when - the hour, or the day - except the Father.

One of the most profound, truthful and realistic characteristics of love is powerlessness. When love is imposed, it is not love. When you are truly in love, you are powerless over the person who you truly love. And you cannot control yourself. Jesus, in our Gospel passage, showed very clearly, how he was powerless over the city of Jerusalem. Powerless, in a way, and he showed it through tears. He wept over Jerusalem. The title of this passage in the Bible is "Jesus's Lamentation". Paghihinagpis. Ang paghihinagpis ay pagluha para sa isang taong minamahal. Ang pagluha ni Hesus ay para sa mga taong naroroon sa Jerusalem. The word Jerusalem comes from the original Hebrew word which means 'peace'. Pero bakit ganito ang pagtangis ni Hesus? Bakit ganito ang kanyang pagluha? It is because Jesus was there as the Messiah. He preached, He taught about the Kingdom of God, He cured the sick, He made a lot of miracles. Still, people did not listen to Him. They did not adore Him; they did not take Him seriously. They even murdered Him and nailed Him to a tree.

Ganoon din ang ginagawa natin hanggang ngayon, Kapag tayo ay patuloy na nagkakasala, patuloy nating pinahihiya at pinaluluha ang ating Panginoon. Kapag tayo ay nawalan ng isang minamahal, lumuluha tayo. Pero ang ating luhang iyon ay hindi para sa taong nawala, kundi para sa ating mga sarili, dahil tayo ang nawalan. Pero pag tayo ay lumuha para sa isang taong minamahal dahil ikaw ay naghihinagpis dahil sa pamamaraan kung paanong ang iyong minamahal ay nawala, ang tunay na pag-ibig ay naipapakita.

When Jesus Christ cried, He saw how powerless He is over us. Let us remember that we have the free will to choose God or sinfulness. What we have to realize is that at the end of the day, we can never be truly happy without God. And that is what Christ is crying over us. Amen.

Saint Cecilia – Pray for us

You may also want to see: A Holy Life - Saint Cecilia

A Holy Life

Saint Cecilia
Virgin and Martyr. Patron of Church Music
Feast day – November 22
It is under the emperor Alexander Severus that this young Saint, one of the most fragrant flowers of Christian virginity and martyrdom, suffered for the Faith she had chosen; to choose it was at that moment as certain an end to earthly felicity as it is a guarantee, at every epoch, of the eternal felicity of those who remain faithful to it. Cecilia was the daughter of an illustrious patrician, and was the only Christian of her family; she was permitted to attend the reunions held in the catacombs by the Christians, either through her parents’ condescension or out of indifference. She continually kept a copy of the holy Gospel hidden under her clothing over her heart. Her parents obliged her, however, despite her vow of virginity, which most probably they knew nothing of, to marry the young Valerian, whom she esteemed as noble and good, but who was still pagan.

During the evening of the wedding day, with the music of the nuptial feast still in the air, Cecilia, this intelligent, beautiful, and noble Roman maiden, renewed her vow. When the new spouses found themselves alone, she gently said to Valerian, “Dear friend, I have a secret to confide to you, but will you promise me to keep it?” He promised her solemnly that nothing would ever make him reveal it, and she continued, “Listen: an Angel of God watches over me, for I belong to God. If he sees that you would approach me under the influence of a sensual love, his anger will be inflamed, and you will succumb to the blows of his vengeance. But if you love me with a perfect love and conserve my virginity inviolable, he will love you as he loves me, and will lavish on you, too, his favors.” Valerian replied that if he might see this Angel, he would certainly correspond to her wishes, and Cecilia answered, “Valerian, if you consent to be purified in the fountain which wells up eternally; if you will believe in the unique, living and true God who reigns in heaven, you will be able to see the Angel.” And to his questions concerning this water and who might bestow it, she directed him to a certain holy old man named Urban.

That holy Pontiff rejoiced exceedingly when Valerian came to him the same night, to be instructed and baptized; his long prayer touched the young man greatly, and he too rejoiced with an entirely new joy in his new-found and veritable faith, so far above the religion of the pagans. He returned to his house, and on entering the room where Cecilia had continued to pray for the remainder of the night, he saw the Angel waiting, with two crowns of roses and lilies, which he would place on the head of each of them. Cecilia understood at once that if the lilies symbolized their virginity, the roses foretold for them both the grace of martyrdom. Valerian was told he might ask any grace at all of God, who was very pleased with him; and he requested that his brother Tiburtius might also receive the grace he had obtained; and the conversion of Tiburtius soon afterwards became a reality.

The two brothers, who were very wealthy, began to aid the families which had lost their support through the martyrdom of the fathers, spouses, and sons; they saw to the burial of the Christians, and continually braved the same fate as these victims. In effect they were soon captured, and their testimony was such as to convert a young officer chosen to conduct them to the site of their martyrdom. He succeeded in delaying it for a day, and took them to his house, where before the day was ended he had decided to receive Baptism with his entire family and household. The two brothers offered their heads to the sword; and soon afterward the officer they had won for Christ followed them to the eternal divine kingdom. It was Cecilia who saw to the burial of all three martyrs. She then distributed to the poor all the valuable objects of her house, in order that the property of Valerian might not be confiscated according to current Roman law, and knowing that her own time was close at hand.

She was soon arrested and arraigned, but having asked a delay after her interrogation, she assembled those who had heard her with admiration and instructed them in the faith; the Pontiff Urban baptized a large number of them. The death appointed for her was suffocation by steam. Saint Cecilia remained unharmed and calm, for a day and a night, in the calderium, or place of hot baths, in her own palace, despite a fire heated to seven times its ordinary violence. Finally, an executioner was sent to dispatch her by the sword; he struck with trembling hand the three blows which the law allowed, and left her still alive. For two days and nights Cecilia would lie with her head half severed, on the pavement of her bath, fully sensible and joyfully awaiting her crown. When her neophytes came to bury her after the departure of the executioner, they found her alive and smiling. They surrounded her there, not daring to touch her, for three days, having collected the precious blood from her wounds. On the third day, after the holy Pontiff Urban had come to bless her, the agony ended, and in the year 177 the virgin Saint gave back her glorious soul to Christ. It was the Supreme Pontiff who presided at her funeral; she was placed in a coffin in the position in which she had lain, as we often see her pictured, and interred in the vault prepared by Saint Callixtus for the Church’s pontiffs. The authentic acts of her life and martyrdom were prepared by Pope Anteros in the year 235. When the tomb was opened in 1599 her body was entirely intact still.


Sources for this article were taken from:



St. Cecilia, glorious Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, I admire the courage with which you professed your faith in the face of severe persecution, and the generous love with which you offered your life in withness to your belief in the Blessed Trinity. I thank God with you for the wonderful graces He had bestowed upon you to make your life holy and pleasing to Him even in the midst of the wealth that was yours. I thank Him for the privilege offered to you of receiving the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Saint Cecilia, I also admire the purity of love that bound you to the Savior, which was greater in your eyes than any human affection, so that you declared yourself before the enemies of the Church, "I am the bride of my Lord Jesus Christ." Pray for me that in imitation of you I may keep my body pure and my soul holy, and that I may love Jesus with all my heart.

In these times so full of pleasure seeking and so lacking in faith, teach us to profess our faith courageously and to be willing to sacrifice ourselves in practicing it, so that our good example may lead others closer to Christ and the Church He has founded.

In thanksgiving to God for the graces He bestowed on St Cecilia: Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be. St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr of Jesus Christ, pray for us.

Saint Cecilia – Pray for us