Thursday, March 21, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 21, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Lenten Seasons
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 Gn 17:3-9

When Abram prostrated himself, God spoke to him: “My covenant with you is this: you are to become the father of a host of nations. No longer shall you be called Abram; your name shall be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a host of nations. I will render you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings shall stem from you. I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now staying, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.”

God also said to Abraham: “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 105:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8a) The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
You descendants of Abraham, his servants,
sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the LORD, is our God;
throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
He remembers forever his covenant
which he made binding for a thousand generations –
Which he entered into with Abraham
and by his oath to Isaac.
R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Gospel Jn 8:51-59

Jesus said to the Jews: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”  So the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died?  Or the prophets, who died? Who do you make yourself out to be?”  Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worth nothing; but it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ You do not know him, but I know him. And if I should say that I do not know him, I would be like you a liar. But I do know him and I keep his word.  Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”  So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.


In both of our readings, we speak about identities. In the First Reading, Abraham - formerly know as Abram - was given a new identity by God because of His covenant with him and His people. The covenant that God will always be there for them, and will always be protecting them, and will always be providing for them as a Father would.

In our Gospel, we heard that people wanted to kill Jesus Christ, for speaking about His true identity. In the entire Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, there are four things about Jesus Christ. First, Jesus says that He is the light of the world. Second, whoever accepts His Word will be among His chosen ones. And now we hear His two other claims - whoever keeps His word will never see death, and the supreme claim of all - "I am Who am", thereby claiming Jesus to be one with God and Jesus claiming to be God.

But how come people do not accept this truth, when it is Jesus Himself proclaiming it? We are not surprised when we hear about groups of atheists present in our society. Have you heard about a Facebook page with the title 'Si Hesus ay Isang _ _ _ _ _ na Panginoon'. K.U.P.A.L People who do not accept that there is God, ridicule and attack our faith. Why? Because we have failed. We have failed to be witnesses of our true identity. We claim to be Christians, yet how are we, when we relate to other people? We say that we are Christians and that we are holy. And we try to be holy when we are inside the church. But when we are in our work areas, when we are at our homes, when we are at different places, who are we? Do people see that Jesus is alive in us? Do people see that we accept His teachings? Do people see that we accept and keep His words?

Obedience to the Word of God - obedience to God - has its price. It is the price of being ridiculed, of being ostracized, of being attacked. If that is the only way to show our real identities as children of God, so be it. We must not be afraid. There is a cost for everything. And our lives have been paid by the life of Jesus Christ.

As we go through our Lenten journey, may we be strengthened by our faith through the Word of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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