Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 30, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Hans Magdurulang (Parochial Vicar, Holy Spirit Parish, Santa Cruz, Manila)
6:00PM Anticipated Sunday Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

Reading 1 1 Kgs 19:16b, 19-21

The LORD said to Elijah: “You shall anoint Elisha, son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah, as prophet to succeed you.”

Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” Elijah answered, “Go back! Have I done anything to you?” Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (cf. 5a) You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Reading 2 Gal 5:1, 13-18

Brothers and sisters: For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

For you were called for freedom, brothers and sisters. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.

I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gospel Lk 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem, and he sent messengers ahead of him.  On the way they entered a Samaritan village  to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.  When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?”  Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”  But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”  But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.  But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”  To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Let us greet each other a good evening, and tell the person next to you, 'God will save you'. (people greet each other) Bakit ayaw n'yo po sabihin? Gusto n'yo kayo lang ang maliligtas. (laughs) Do you believe that God will save you? If you believe that God will save you, then give Him a round of applause. (loud applause) Now the question is - God will save you...on what?

I am teaching now in the seminary, and my first subject in the seminary is salvation history. And my students are first year high school. Salvation history is about the love story of God and man - how God saved man. So I discussed with them - ang lilikot nga lang, ang hirap patahimikin, ang 30 minutes ko pagpapatahimik pa lang. So I ask them - How do you describe God? What is salvation? And then the bell rings. And my students tell me, 'O, Father, saved by the bell.' (laughs) My goodness, 'yon ang paborito nilang salvation.

My dear friends, we celebrate and honor these two great disciples of Jesus Christ, who experienced great salvation from God. Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the greatest disciples of the Church of Christ. We have Peter, called the Rock, in whom Christ built His Church. We have Paul, the fearless messenger and preacher of the Gospel. They were both persecuted; they were both martyrs under emperor Nero. They were persecuted because of their faith.

Peter was crucified upside down because according to him, he was not worthy to die like his Lord. Look at the humility of Peter. Eh tayo minsan konting sakripisyo lang, sasabihin nating it is for Christ. Eh ginawa mo lang naman mahina ang aircon mo, sakripisyo na, for Christ na. Minsang konting sakripisyo lang, feeling natin tinorture na tayo. Mayabang na, ano. But for Peter, he said that he was not even worthy to die like the way of Christ. Kaya upside down siya.

Paul was beheaded. We know how many times Paul was persecuted because of his preaching. The number one persecutor of Christ, became the number one defender of Christ. The number one defender of Christians.

Both Peter and Paul were crucified. They were both persecuted because of Christ, and for the sake of Christ. Now that is their challenge to us. Are we willing to die for Christ? Naku yumuko na lahat. (laughs) Maybe not now. We are so worried. We are so worried to die. Why? Because we have so many anxieties and concerns. Do not forget the word of Christ. Do not forget the Responsorial Psalm today. 'The angel of the Lord will rescue those who fear him.' He will save you. Do not be afraid to die for Christ. Do not be afraid to give your life in the name of your faith, because God will save you.

We are so afraid to lose material things, to lose our name, to lose our title, to lose our position. Why so worried? God will save you. Because these things are not the promise of God for you. He promised more than these things, because He promised heaven for you. Therefore, He will save you forever.

Peter experienced the salvation of Christ in our First Reading. We have heard the story of Peter, how the angel of the Lord saved Peter from jail, from being imprisoned. God rescued Peter - the miracle of Peter. Paul, on the other hand, experienced salvation several times from God. But you know, my dear friends, even before he died, the first experience of Paul being rescued by God is when Christ appeared to him and rescued him from sinfulness. Christ saved Paul from death, from hell.

My dear friends, how many times did you experience the salvation of God for you? When was the last time that you said, 'God, thank you for saving me. You are my savior.' Di ba tayo minsan, if somebody will help us, if somebody will answer our prayer, if somebody will do something good to us, what do we say? 'You're my savior.' We always say that to people among us. But when was the last time that you looked at this man on the Cross and you said, "Thank you for saving me. Thank you. You are my Savior."

God will save you, not only after you die, but every day. Every time you wake up in the morning, there is salvation. God is saving you, because He is giving you another chance to be saved. And so you are still alive. And so my dear friends, do not leave this chapel without thanking God for saving you again. God will save you from poverty, from every illness. Sana naman po, hindi last option si God. Sometimes, we say wala nang pag-asa. Magdasal ka na lang. Pwede ba - bakit napunta sa huli 'yong prayer? Bakit last option na 'yong prayer? Bakit after you go to several doctors and experts - nag-abroad ka pa - tapos uuwi ka at sasabihin mo, wala na eh. Magdasal na lang daw ako. Bakit last?

Do not forget that the Lord is the Divine Healer; He will save you from any illness, from any form of poverty. And God will save you from the people who cannot love you, from the people who cannot accept you, from the people who keep on persecuting you. God will save you from them. Kaya huwag kang matakot maging mabuting tao pa rin. I hope that just like the prayer of Paul in our Second Reading, at the end of our life, we can say, 'Lord, I finished the race. I kept the faith, because You saved me.'

My dear friends, in this Eucharist, God is reminding us that He can rescue in different ways. You know, somebody asked me after I got sick. I had this serious illness and the doctor said, 'You take care, this is your second life.' I said, 'No, this is my third life.' 'How come?' Kasi, ako po ay ipinanganak sa bahay lang, sa midwife. Only my Ate was born in the hospital. Kami ng Kuya ko, nagtipid na, sa bahay na lang. I was born with the midwife, my mama and my auntie. And when my mom gave birth to me, the first word that my auntie said was 'patay'. I was dead, because my mom was supposed to give birth to me on the last week of August, but I was born on October 15. Expired na. Kaya ako po ay expired baby. (laughs) Kaya patay na ako noong ipinanganak. My auntie said, 'patay na'. Sabi ng kumadrona, 'huwag kang maingay'. Ang ginawa ng kumadrona, sinipsip 'yong bibig ko, sinipsip 'yong ilong, at pagkasipsip ng aking ilong, nakuha niya ang maraming dugo. And then pinalo niya nang pinalo ang pwet ko - kaya wala tuloy akong magandang pwet ngayon (laughs). Pinalo nang pinalo ang pwet ko hanggang ako ay umiyak. At 'yong batang 'yon ay nandito na sa harap n'yo ngayon. (applause) When I became a priest, when I was about to be ordained, I looked for Aling Biring, the midwife. She is still alive. And I said, "Aling Biring, kung hindi dahil sa iyo, hindi ako magiging pari. You are my savior.'

As we continue this celebration, my dear friends, do not be afraid to become a savior. Do not let your day end without saving somebody. In your own little way, you can save a life. Like Peter and Paul, do not be afraid. God will save you; just keep your faith. Amen.

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