Friday, February 1, 2013

Gospel Reflection

February 01, 2013
Friday – Year of Faith – Weekday
First Friday of the Month
by  Rev. Fr. Rufino "Jun" C. Sescon, Jr., (Chaplain, Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel)
7:00PM Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 Heb 10:32-39

Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.

For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him. We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.


Responsorial Psalm Ps 37:3-4, 5-6, 23-24, 39-40

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.
Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
By the LORD are the steps of a man made firm,
and he approves his way.
Though he fall, he does not lie prostrate,
for the hand of the LORD sustains him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. The salvation of the just comes from the Lord.


Gospel Mk 4:26-34

Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.”

He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.


One time, our sacristan mayor approached me and asked permission that he would go on leave. It skipped my mind and I asked him why. And he said that his wife is about to give birth, so he is filing for a paternity leave. I told myself, oo nga pala, may paternity leave. That is something I will never avail of. (laughs) Dapat lang, ano? 

The doctor of his wife is my brother, and the doctor said that he should be there when his wife gives birth. My sacristan mayor knew that that would be the clincher, because he knows that I cannot overrule my younger brother. And so I said very quickly, "You are permitted, you may go."

But when he left and I continued my prayer, the mystery of life dawned on me. It was a complicated pregnancy for his wife, and he had to wait. His wife even had some cyst, but my brother could not operate, because we have to wait for the child to be born, otherwise, something else might happen. That is why, all they have to do is wait. 

In fact, this is the mystery of life. In spite of the many advances we have....Haven't you noticed, yes, there are many instant versions right now. But the only thing that we could not crack is the mystery of life. We could not see an instant baby. We cannot expedite pregnancy. Lahat namadali na natin. Pero 'yong hiwaga ng buhay, we have to wait. And I believe that it is a good reminder for us. Since for life, at the very beginning, the mystery of waiting unfolds - it is a good reminder for us that waiting is part and parcel of life. And that is why, as I continue my prayer, "Lord, what is Your message for me, and what could be Your message to the people?" "Now, to you, I don't know what you are undergoing right now, but if we could sum up the message of the Lord, it is to wait. Wait. Learn to wait."

That is why in the Gospel, we heard the Lord using the image of a sower who plants. But notice, after planting, the sower cannot do anything. He cannot make the seed grow. He could, yes, perhaps apply fertilizer. To those who have plants, yes, you could be a green thumb. But you know that you cannot force the seed to grow. It is the mystery of life, the mystery of the earth. You have the seed, but you have to learn to wait. Learn to trust the mystery of life. And the Lord, further in the Gospel, used the mustard seed. Again, it is the seed that would slowly grow and evolve, before it becomes the largest of all. 

There are times we must learn to wait. Why? Because there are virtues that are born, when we learn to wait. What are the virtues that could come, kapag ang isang tao ay marunong maghintay? Let me share with you three virtues. 

First is the virtue of patience. Obvious po ba? Ang marunong maghintay ay pasensiyoso. Pero ang hindi na naghihintay, pansinin n'yo po. 'Yong taong ayaw na ayaw maghintay, laging mainitin ang ulo. Iritable. Walang pasensiya. Because you can only learn patience, if you also know how to wait. 

Another virtue that is born from waiting is endurance. Those people who wait, endure. Because something is harnessed in them. Others, up to now, are puzzled with us, Filipinos - bakit tayo nag-e-endure? Maraming lindol, bagyo, sunog, sakuna. But we can afford to smile. We can afford to endure. We can endure. Buti na lang walang nagpapakamatay sa atin, dahil lang sa mga gano'n. We are resilient. Why? Because we learn how to wait. Especially our poor brothers and sisters. When I immerse myself with the poor, when we have those exposure with the poor, with the children, I notice, they endure more. They endure far better than those who are affluent. Why? Perhaps, they have no choice but to wait. 

One time, I remember very vividly, we were there in the mountains. A child got wounded but there was no medicine. We could not buy anywhere. The child just had to endure the suffering. And I believe that child could endure more, later in life. 

Some people have to even wait for food. They could not have food any time they want. But in so doing, something is harnessed in them - endurance, character. Kaya minsan, nakakalungkot pag nakakakita tayo ng mga batang konting sugat lang....parang katapusan na ng mundo. Kung maka-atungal, akala mo naman nagpa-panic na kahit 'yon lang. So wala po siyang endurance. Those who know how to wait, cultivate endurance. 

Lastly, waiting also gives birth to confidence, to faith, to trust. Why? Because if you wait, you learn how to give space, whether to the other person, or to God, or even to yourself. I remember Blessed John the 23rd, the good Pope, as he is called, he is a very workaholic Pope. He was the one who convened Vatican II. And he said that every night, he has a special prayer before he retires, before he sleeps. He would open the windows of his apartment - the Papal apartments - overlooking St. Peter's, and look up at the sky. And Pope John would say, "Lord, the day has ended. I have done my very best. I have done my job. Lord, it is Your Church, not mine. I will now go to sleep. Take care of the Church. Do Your job now." 

That is a good example of a person who also trusts in the Lord. who knows that not everything is in His Hands. There are times we simply have to wait and allow the Lord to do his part. And that is why a person who waits, also develops that confidence, that trust, that faith. 

Yes, brothers and sisters, in this mass, we pray for those three virtues - patience, endurance, confidence. And we ask ourselves, "Do I have those virtues? Perhaps, I am lacking in them, because I have never been fond of waiting. There is no more waiting in my life." Baka ayaw mo nang naghihintay, pero pinaghihintay mo na lang 'yong iba. Pero ikaw, ayaw na ayaw mong ikaw ang naghihintay. 

We ask the Lord, we ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus, "Lord, grant us those virtues." I'm not saying I am promoting delays, or be late or be tardy. No, I am not saying that. What I'm just saying is that, there are times, we simply have to wait. 

Perhaps right now, we are waiting for something. Perhaps the Lord is trying to sharpen your endurance. The Lord is trying to harness your faith. The Lord is teaching you to be patient. 

Lord Jesus, Your heart is full of patience, endurance and confidence. Your heart is wounded, but loving. Your heart is aflame and hopeful. Teach us. Teach us to wait, when it is appropriate. Grant us those virtues, so that like You, we may witness the fullness of God's time, the fullness of God's blessings, Amen.

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