Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 13, 2012
Thursday – Advent – Year of Faith
Feast of Saint Lucy, Vurgin and Martyr
by Rev. Fr. Robert T. Young, JCL, Chancellor, Prelature of Batanes
12:15PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)

Reading 1 Is 41:13-20

I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, "Fear not, I will help you." Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel; I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged, To thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff. When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off and the storm shall scatter them. But you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain, their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will open up rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the broad valleys; I will turn the desert into a marshland, and the dry ground into springs of water. I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive; I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine, That all may see and know, observe and understand, That the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:1 and 9, 10-11, 12-13ab

R. (8) The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
I will extol you, O my God and King,
and I will bless your name forever and ever.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.
Let them make known to men your might
and the glorious splendor of your Kingdom.
Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages,
and your dominion endures through all generations.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger, and of great kindness.

Gospel Mt 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds: "Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear."


I am saddened by the results of the session of Congress regarding the second reading on the RH Bill. We missed it by just 9 votes (113-104 in favor of the RH Bill). Only 9 votes. Some of our Congressmen did not vote, while others left.

The RH Bill is significant to me. Why? Because I am one of those who were supposed to be aborted by their parents. I am the third in the family of five. I am supposed to be the last - in fact, I am not the last. I was not supposed to be born. Kasi sabi ng aking lola, who is the aunt of my father, tama na ang dalawa. Then it turned out that my mother got pregnant. My grand aunt forced her. Tinakot siya, sinesermonan, sinasabihan, "Uminom ka ng Cortal. Inuman mo 'yan." I don't know how effective is Cortal. Pati buto ng duhat, pinapakain ng aking lola sa aking nanay.

But my father stood ground. He said, "A child is a gift. Let" So nag-away sila ng lola ko, lumayas sila sa bahay, at dinala ako sa ibang lugar, sa hometown ng aking mother, at doon ako ipinanganak. You see, if my father did not stand his ground, I would not have been born in this world. And today, I am celebrating my 36th birthday, thankful to God. (loud claps) Thankful to God that my parents made a choice. Had they not make a choice, I would not be here in front of you, as a priest. I am now 9 years old as a priest, and 36 years old in this world.

This is what our Gospel is telling us. The Kingdom of God is suffering violence, and the violent are taking it by force. The world sees things differently, but God sees the bigger picture. That is why He does not force Himself. Sabi Niya nga, if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah.....whoever has ears ought to hear." We realize that God does not force Himself to us; He just persuades us. He is offering to us, if we are just willing to listen. But the problem is the world does not listen anymore.

Going to the reflection on today's Gospel, what puzzles me is this - "...Among those borne of women, there has been none greater than John the Baptist. Yet, the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." John the Baptist is the forerunner of our Lord. He is great; he is the last of the prophets of the Old Testament. Once John the Baptist appears in our Readings, that means Advent has come. But why is he lesser compared to the least in the Kingdom of heaven? Akala ko greater na siya.

One great commentary said that one thing John the Baptist lacked is he never saw the Cross of Jesus. He was not able to experience the full revelation of God's love, which all of us experience every time we see the Cross. Yan ang naiba. That is why even the least among us is greater than him. John the Baptist was just at the entrance door of salvation. Parang si Moses. He led his people to the Promised Land, but he never experienced how it feels to enjoy the Promised Land.
But as I see the picture, my dear brothers and sisters, greatness - or being lesser or greater - is not the way God thinks. God sees a bigger picture. God's Kingdom is huge. Every birthday is a milestone for us. But God sees eternity. God sees the whole of our life. That is why He can tolerate our sins. And as God sees the bigger picture, He sees that each and every one of us is important, and that we have a role to play in the Kingdom of God. Bawat isa sa atin ay may halaga. St. John the Baptist played his role, napakahalaga ng kanyang role. And then the others came, and they played their role.

Our Responsorial Psalm says 'The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness'. Hindi natin nakikita ang buong picture. Pero nakikita ni God ang buong picture, kaya nakakapagtimpi Siya, nakakapagpasensiya Siya. And at the end, He is inviting us, if we are willing to accept it.

God patiently calls on us and invites us - even the grave sinners - because He wants each and every one of us to play our important role in the Kingdom. If only we could listen. Listening is a choice. May maririnig ka, pero hindi lahat 'yon ay maiintindihan mo, hindi lahat 'yon ay maaalala mo. 'Yong masasagap mo lang ang pakikinggan mo. That is why Jesus wants to give patience to us, so that eventually, once we listen, we can put ourselves into the proper perspective, and we find and discover our role in this world.

As we continue our every day lives, and as we celebrate also our birthdays, let us ask ourselves this question - what is my significant role in this world? Every year, it would be nice to ponder on this. Every Christmas, every New Year, it is nice to look back, to reflect, to check, and to see what role do we really play in the Kingdom of God, and that just in this world. Amen.

Saint Lucy – Pray for us

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

A Holy Life

Saint Lucy of Syracuse

Virgin and Martyr, Patroness of the blind and of eye problems

Feast day – December 13

Saint Lucy was a young Christian maiden of Syracuse in Sicily. She had already offered her virginity to God and refused to marry, when her mother pressed her to accept the offer of a young pagan. The mother was afflicted afterwards for several years by an issue of blood, and all human remedies were ineffectual. Lucy reminded her mother that a woman in the Gospel, suffering from the same disorder, had been healed by the divine power. They determined to make a journey to Catania, a port of Sicily, where the tomb of Saint Agatha, martyred in 251, was already a site of pilgrimage. “Saint Agatha,” Lucy said, “stands ever in the sight of Him for whom she died. Only touch her sepulchre with faith, and you will be healed.” The Saint of Catania had already saved that city, when Mount Etna had erupted the year after her martyrdom: some frightened pagans, seeing a course of lava descending directly toward the city, had uncovered her tomb, and at once it had stopped.

Saint Lucy and her mother spent an entire night praying by the tomb, until, overcome by weariness, both fell asleep. Saint Agatha appeared in vision to Saint Lucy, and addressing her sister in the faith, foretold her mother’s recovery and Lucy’s future martyrdom: “You will soon be the glory of Syracuse, as I am of Catania.” At that instant the cure was effected; and in her gratitude the mother allowed her daughter to distribute her wealth among the poor, and to conserve her virginity.

The young man who had sought her hand in marriage denounced her as a Christian during the persecution of Diocletian, but Our Lord, by a special miracle, saved from outrage this virgin He had chosen for His own. The executioners who would have taken her to a house of ill fame were unable to move her. The exasperated prefect gave orders to attach her by cords to harnessed bulls, but the bulls, too, did not succeed, and he accused her of being a magician. “How can you, a feeble woman, triumph over a thousand men?” She replied, “Bring ten thousand, and they will not be able to combat against God!” A fire kindled around her did her no harm, though she was covered with resin and oil. When a sword was plunged into her heart, the promise made at the tomb of Saint Agatha was fulfilled. Saint Lucy died, predicting peace for the Church.

Reflection: The Saints had to bear sufferings and temptations greater far than any of ours. How did they overcome them? By the love of Christ. Nourish this pure love by meditating on the mysteries of Christ’s life; and, above all, by devotion to the Holy Eucharist, which is the antidote against sin and the pledge of eternal life.


Sources for this article were taken from:



O glorious Santa Lucia, who combined the profession of faith with the glory of martyrdom, help us to openly profess the truths of the Gospel and to walk in faith according to the teachings of our Saviour.
Oh Virgin of Syracuse, be thou the light in our life and the model for our actions so that, after following in thy footsteps here on earth, we can rejoice together with thee in the vision of our Lord.

Saint Lucy – Pray for us