Friday, December 14, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 14, 2012
Friday – Advent – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
by Rev. Fr. Richard James Babao (Vice Minister, Archdiocesan Ministry on Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs)
12:15PM Mass at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord, Megamall

Reading 1 Is 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go. If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river, and your vindication like the waves of the sea; Your descendants would be like the sand, and those born of your stock like its grains, Their name never cut off or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Gospel Mt 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds: "To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.' For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by her works."


Jesus was very sad when he talks about the Kingdom of heaven and speaks to the Pharisees and the Scribes. Jesus was saying that John the Baptist was preparing the way for the Lord. John the Baptist was the second Elijah, a sign that something is coming. John was preaching about penance, about going back to the Lord, about conversion. But the Pharisees and Scribes did not listen to him.

Jesus came to try to involve Himself with the people, to be part of them. He ate and drank with them. But they said that Jesus was a drunkard and a glutton, mingling with the poor and the sinners. For them, the Son of Man was supposed to be a man of dignity, that is why they could not accept him as the Son of God, as the Messiah. They were thinking of a different Messiah. That is why Jesus was saying they are like children. Either way, they did not listen, and could not accept that an ordinary son of a carpenter will be the Messiah. Remember that the Pharisees and the Scribes were schooled. They knew many things, they know the law. So for them, who is this son of a carpenter,  speaking about the Kingdom of heaven?

St. John of the Cross said that the greatest sin of man is pride. Why? Because a proud man does not see God, but sees only himself. In fact, he sees himself as God, believes only in himself, focuses on himself, and lives only for himself. Therefore, he forgets or does not realize that he is only an image of God. As we know, pride is one of the seven capitals sins - the root of our sins.

My dear brothers and sisters, as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus this Christmas, let us look at ourselves once again and realize that first and foremost, we have been made in the image and likeness of God. We were created by God, and we owe everything to Him. Unless we learn to approach God with a pure heart, we can never prepare for the coming of His Son, such that when He comes, we will never decipher, we will never know that it is He who has come. And Christmas will never be celebrated as it should be.

Christmas is supposed to be a homecoming of us to our Lord. When that happens, it will give us peace and joy, which is the purpose, the essence of Christmas. Amen.

Saint John of the Cross – Pray for us

You may also want to see: A Holy Life - Saint John of the Cross

A Holy Life

Saint John of the Cross

Doctor of the Church

Feast day – December 14

Saint John of the Cross was born near Avila in Spain. As a child, he was playing near a pond one day. He slid into the depths of the water, but came up unharmed and did not sink again. A tall and beautiful Lady came to offer him Her hand. “No,” said the child, “You are too beautiful; my hand will dirty Yours.” Then an elderly gentleman appeared on the shore and extended his staff to the child to bring him to shore. These two were Mary and Joseph. Another time he fell into a well, and it was expected he would be retrieved lifeless. But he was seated and waiting peacefully. “A beautiful lady,” he said, “took me into Her cloak and sheltered me.” Thus John grew up under the gaze of Mary.

One day he was praying Our Lord to make known his vocation to him, and an interior voice said to him: “You will enter a religious Order, whose primitive fervor you will restore.” He was twenty-one years old when he entered Carmel, and although he concealed his exceptional works, he outshone all his brethren. He dwelt in an obscure corner whose window opened upon the chapel, opposite the Most Blessed Sacrament. He wore around his waist an iron chain full of sharp points, and over it a tight vestment made of reeds joined by large knots. His disciplines were so cruel that his blood flowed in abundance. The priesthood only redoubled his desire for perfection. He thought of going to bury his existence in the Carthusian solitude, when Saint Teresa, whom God enlightened as to his merit, made him the confidant of her projects for the reform of Carmel and asked him to be her auxiliary.

John retired alone to a poor and inadequate dwelling and began a new kind of life, conformed with the primitive Rules of the Order of Carmel. Shortly afterwards two companions came to join him; the reform was founded. It was not without storms that it developed, for hell seemed to rage and labor against it, and if the people venerated John as a Saint, he had to accept, from those who should have seconded him, incredible persecutions, insults, calumnies, and even prison. When Our Lord told him He was pleased with him, and asked him what reward he wished, the humble religious replied: “To suffer and to be scorned for You.” His reform, though approved by the General of the Order, was rejected by the older friars, who condemned the Saint as a fugitive and an apostate and cast him into prison, from which he only escaped, after nine months’ suffering, with the help of Heaven and at the risk of his life. He took refuge with the Carmelite nuns for a time, saying his experience in prison had been an extraordinary grace for him. Twice again, before his death, he was shamefully persecuted by his brethren, and publicly disgraced.

When he fell ill, he was given a choice of monasteries to which he might go; he chose the one governed by a religious whom he had once reprimanded and who could never pardon him for it. In effect, he was left untended most of the time, during his last illness. But at his death the room was filled with a marvelous light, and his unhappy Prior recognized his error, and that he had mistreated a Saint. After a first exhumation of his remains, they were found intact; many others followed, the last one in 1955. The body was at that time found to be entirely moist and flexible still.

Saint John wrote spiritual books of sublime elevation. A book printed in 1923 which has now become famous, authored by a Dominican theologian,* justly attributed to Saint John and to Saint Thomas Aquinas, whom the Carmelite Saint followed, the indisputable foundations for exact ascetic and mystical theology. He was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1926 by Pope Pius XI.


Sources for this article were taken from:



O God, Who didst instill into the heart of Saint John ot the Cross, Thy Confessor and our Father, a perfect spirit of self-abnegation, and a surpassing love of Thy Cross: grant, that assiduously following in his footsteps, we may attain to eternal glory. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Saint John of the Cross – Pray for us