Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 07, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Larry Tan, S.D.B. (Salesians of Don Bosco)
6:00PM Anticipated Sunday Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, (Greenbelt Chapel) Makati


Reading 1 Is 66:10-14c

Thus says the LORD: Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her, all you who love her; exult, exult with her, all you who were mourning over her! Oh, that you may suck fully of the milk of her comfort, that you may nurse with delight at her abundant breasts! For thus says the LORD: Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent. As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms, and fondled in her lap; as a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice and your bodies flourish like the grass; the LORD’s power shall be known to his servants.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (1) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Shout joyfully to God, all the earth,
sing praise to the glory of his name;
proclaim his glorious praise.
Say to God, “How tremendous are your deeds!”
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
“Let all on earth worship and sing praise to you,
sing praise to your name!”
Come and see the works of God,
his tremendous deeds among the children of Adam.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
He has changed the sea into dry land;
through the river they passed on foot;
therefore let us rejoice in him.
He rules by his might forever.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
Blessed be God who refused me not
my prayer or his kindness!
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.

Reading 2 Gal 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation.  Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit.  He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.  Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves.  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.  Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.  Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment.  Do not move about from one house to another.  Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand.  I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.”  Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky.  Behold, I have given you the power to ‘tread upon serpents’ and scorpions  and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”


When the Lord came here on earth, He had a grand plan - and it is to build His kingdom here on earth. And so He chose His Disciples - namili siya ng maaaring makatulong sa Kanya. In the Gospel for today, Jesus sent His Disciples, two by two, and sent them ahead of Him into the different towns and villages, in order to prepare for His coming. And He gave them instructions. He warned them that the mission that they were about to begin is not going to be easy, that they will be facing difficulties and persecutions. Jesus sent His Disciples like 'lambs among wolves'. Hindi madali ang kanilang magiging trabaho. They should carry no money bag, no sack. Ang dadalhin nila ay kung ano ang dapat lang. Hindi sila dapat mamahay-mahay o mamili kung saan dapat nakatira. At kung anuman ang ibigay o ihanda sa kanila - anuman ang ipakain sa kanila - ay tanggapin nila.

But Jesus realized na napakalaki ng harvest pero napaka-kaunti ng harvesters. So Jesus said that we have to pray for the harvest, and the workers who will gather the harvest. This is true, not only during the time of Jesus, but up to now. Iilan na lamang ngayon ang masasabi nating pumapasok sa kaparian, sa pagkamadre - the religious life - that is why we have to pray. As you notice, with the materialism that is all over, it is more difficult now - mas mahirap ngayon manawagan o mag-imbita ng maaaring magpari.

St. John Marie Vianney once said that people who want to destroy religion usually start from priests, because without a priest, there is no sacrifice and no religion. Alam din naman natin ang mga problema, lalong-lalo na sa simbahan, lalo na sa kaparian. And this is a particular challenge nowadays. It is precisely because of this that we need to pray for vocations. Sapul pa sa simula, kailangang magdasal na tayo; alagaan na natin 'yong mga batang gustong maging pari, dahil diyan naman talaga nagsisimula ang vocation para maging pari, sa pagsunod sa mga halimbawa na napapansin nila.

Maybe the question is - is God calling you? Sana naman ay sagutin ninyo ang panawagan ng Panginoon. Kung kayo ay hindi na pwede, the challenge for you is to be able to serve the Church and to build His Kingdom according to your own vocation, according to your own particular calling.

The priest is the one that has the most important job in the world. He also has the most powerful enemy, trying to stop him from doing his work. So, will you help him in his vocation? Alam n'yo naman, ang unang target ng lahat ay walang iba kundi ang namumuno sa Simbahan. Sabi nga nila, ang unang tinitira ng demonyo ay una, ang namumuno sa Simbahan, at pangalawa, mga mag-anak o pamilya. Dahil kung wala nang namumuno sa Simbahan, then it's just like a headless chicken. Napakaraming problemang hinaharap ang mga pari, kayo tayo ay magdasal para sa kanila, for their perseverance and holiness. This is our responsibility. In the end, tayo rin ang makikinabang.

It is true. Alam n'yo, bago ako magmisa dito, may tinanong akong kaibigan, "Nagsimba ka na ba?" Hindi na niya alam kung Sabado o Linggo. And I said, "Linggo na. Katoliko ka ba?" At ang sagot niya, "Yes, Katoliko ako, but not practicing." While it is true na napakaraming mga Katoliko ang nagsisimba, marami pa ring iba na hindi na nagsisimba. Of course, inalam ko ang dahilan kung bakit. At ang sabi ng kaibigan ko, marami raw sa Simbahan ang hindi karapat-dapat. Well, that is a reality kahit na saan. We are human; the Church is a human institution. May mga pagkakamali, but that doesn't mean that just because the leaders have problems, ay hindi ka na kinakailangang magsimba. Kailangan mo ng dokumento sa gobyerno. Eh corrupt ang opisyal, pero kailangan mo pa rin ng pirma niya. Tama o hindi? Kahit na ano'ng sabihin natin, kailangan pa rin natin ang Simbahan upang tayo ay makatanggap ng grasya't biyaya mula sa ating Panginoon.

At hindi natin masasabi sa harap ng Panginoon, pag nandoon na tayo sa Kanya, "Hindi ako nagsimba, hindi ako naging maayos na Katoliko dahil sa pari n'yo po, dahil sa madre n'yo po, dahil sa mga nakikita ko sa loob ng Simbahan." What is right is always right, no matter who is doing it, and therefore, dapat gawin natin ang tama, hindi dahil sa iba, kundi dahil iyon ang tama. 'Yan ang mahalaga sa lahat.

So, we pray for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life - pati na rin sa pagka-madre. Medyo mahirap nga pero kailangan natin dahil sila ang magiging gabay natin sa ating paglalakbay. Kung may mga anak kayo na may 'tawag', sikapin natin na i-encourage sila. Dahil ngayon, iilan na lang ang mga mag-anak na nag-e-encourage ng pagka-pari.

Natuwa ako the other night. I was at the Mt. Carmel church. May namatay doon na lola ng isang kaibigan ko. And one of the visitors said, "Father, can my son serve at your mass?" The son is an only child and is studying at Southridge, but the boy has always dreamed of becoming a priest, since he was five years old. Nakakatuwa dahil napaka-determined niyang magpari. He is so inspiring and so encouraging dahil iilan lang ang mga kabataang katulad nito. And the parents are so happy. Sila pa ang very proud na nagsasabi na ang anak nila ay gustong magpari, sapul pa no'ng five years old siya.

Remember, my dear brothers and sisters, we should pray. Gone are the days when families pray that their child becomes a priest or religious. Kasi may pangako, may promise diyan ha. Na kung magkakaroon kayo ng kamag-anak na pari, you will be saved from the first, second and even the third generation. You guarantee already your salvation. At least, that was the thought, even in the last century. And so people would encourage their young children to enter the priesthood or the religious life. Lahat ng vocations, tandaan n'yo, ay nagsisimula sa pamilya. Therefore, if the family is strong and stable, if in the family you really see religiosity and spirituality, then automatically, naturally, there will be a vocation.

Today, the Gospel reminds us that yes, the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. But the Church is not only composed of priests and religious. We are reminded by the Second Vatican Council that we are the Church - lahat tayo ay bahagi ng Simbahan. All of us have the responsibility. Dati-rati, ang mga obispo lang, mga pari at madre lang ang nagmamalasakit para sa pag-unlad ng kaharian ng Diyos. Pero ngayon, pinapa-alala na tayong lahat ay co-responsible. By virtue of our baptism, we are being called and chosen in our own little way to spread the Kingdom of God in our midst. Lahat tayo ay may responsibility. Even the ordinary people. And little by little, we should be aware of that.

Now, the Church is more open to the participation of the laity in the building of the Church. Dati, pari at madre lang ang nagbibigay ng Communion. Now we already have the ministers here. There are many announcements inviting the people in the different ministries here in Greenbelt. But you can also serve in the other ministries in your respective parishes, where you can work and help in spreading the Kingdom of God.

And so, my dear brothers and sisters, besides praying for all vocations in our country, in our own little way, let us also think - papaano ba ako makakatulong sa kaunlaran ng Simbahan, sa pagpapalaganap ng Kaharian ng Diyos dito sa atin - sa community natin, sa parokya ninyo? Dahil talaga namang napakalaki ng harvest, and yet there are so few laborers. Hindi magagawa ng pari lahat, hindi magagawa ng religious ang lahat. Kayo rin ay may katungkulan, kayo rin ay may responsibility.

My dear friends, as we reflect today on how big the harvest is, and how few the laborers are, while we pray for more vocations in the Church, let us also, in our own little way, reflect and see how we, as individuals or as lay people, can help out, in one way or another, in spreading the Kingdom of God, sa pagpapalaganap ng Kaharian ng Diyos, in our community, as well as in our respective parishes. So that masabi naman natin na tayo rin ay may nagawa para sa kaunlaran at pagpapalaganap ng Kaharian ng Diyos dito sa lupa.

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