Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 31, 2013
Saturday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Dennis Edralin, Chaplain and Dean of Studies, College of Liberal Arts, Lyceum of Aparri, Cagayan
12:15PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall Chapel)
concelebrated with Rev. Fr. Lloyd Tiu, Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society (LMI-Makati)

Reading 1 1 Thes 4:9-11

Brothers and sisters: On the subject of fraternal charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another. Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Nevertheless we urge you, brothers and sisters, to progress even more, and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your own hands, as we instructed you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 98:1, 7-8, 9

R. (9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
Let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth;
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Gospel Mt 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey  called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–  to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time  the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”


First and foremost, I would like to thank Father Lloyd, for allowing me to celebrate with him this noontime Holy Mass. I am three years older than Father Lloyd by age, but in the Ministry, I am seven years older. Father Lloyd was the one who suggested that I do the Homily, and I had to be very obedient, because he is the main celebrant. (laughs)

The Gospel today is all about talents. Talents, as I understand it in the context of today's Gospel, is the power and the capacity of men to do good. If we go back to Creation, when God created the world, God said it was good. But when He created man, God saw it was very good. The goodness in us is actually a talent. It is a power that we are very creative in our own way, in order to project ourselves as true sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.

Naalala ko 'yong isang kwento....Sinasabi nga natin, we have talents, but in different degrees. God appreciates us and the manner we use our talents, which we receive as gifts from God, also in different ways. Ito 'yong kwento ko tungkol sa aking pamangkin. Seven years ago, I came here in Manila all the way from Aparri. Pagdating ko sa bahay, sabi ng pamangkin kong babae, "Tito Father, yesterday was my birthday." Sabi ko, "Ano ngayon?" And my niece said, "I want ice cream." So I told her to dress up. My niece was so excited about the idea of eating ice cream, kaya wala pang 5 minutes, bihis na bihis na siya, hindi pa nga naligo. (laughs)

We went out to one of the ice cream houses in Timog, and when we were eating our ice cream, somebody noticed her and said, "'re so beautiful." And you know what her reaction is? Nilagay niya 'yong kamay niya sa baywang niya, and she said, "Alam ko. May problema ba kayo?" (laughs) Na-shock ako. So on our way back to the house, I told my niece, "You know, those two ladies were telling you that you are so beautiful...but only on the outside. You need to become beautiful on the inside. My niece said, "Tito Father, I did not know that." Then I told her, "When somebody appreciates you, you should thank that person. When somebody wrongs you, forgive that person. And not only that, pray for that person."

Then one time, my niece had a petty quarrel with her younger brother. She was crying and went inside her room. When I had the chance to peep, I opened the door, and I saw her kneeling down before the altar, praying and crying. I went to her, patted her shoulder and asked her, "Ano'ng ginagawa mo?" And my niece said, "Tito Father, sinaktan ako ng kapatid ko." "Eh, ano'ng ginagawa mo?" "Nagdarasal po ako, para mapatawad ko siya. At pinagdarasal ko rin po na maging mabuti siyang tao." Tapos bigla siyang tumayo, at ang sabi niya sa akin, "Tito Father, am I now beautiful on the inside?" And I said, "Yes, I am very proud of you. You are now so beautiful on the inside."

My dear brothers and sisters, lahat po tayo ay binigyan ng talent. God is so good, and that goodness He inculcated in each one of us in different degrees. Kung tayo'y naging masama, hindi iyon dahil sa kagustuhan ng Diyos. Iyon ay dahil gusto mo, o ginusto mong maging masama. Kung mabuti ka, ikaw ay mabuting tao dahil pinili mong maging mabuting tao, at dahil gusto mong maging mabuting tao.

My dear friends, in this parable of talents, God is telling us that He created us in His image and likeness. But we have to keep that image and likeness in line with God's plan. Remember, Jesus said, "Be perfect, as the Heavenly Father is perfect." Kung araw-araw tumatalikod ka sa kasalanan mo, kung araw-araw ay gumagawa ka ng mabuti sa kapwa mo, God will be very happy. Kaya sa buhay natin, dapat hindi lang puro defensive ang game natin. Siguro nanonood kayo ng basketball. Kapag naglalaro po kayo ng defensive game, hindi kayo makaka-score, kaya dapat maging offensive din ang inyong plan game. Sa ating buhay, huwag mong sabihing wala ka namang ginawang masama, hindi ka naman nagnakaw, hindi ka naman nagsisinungaling, hindi ka naman sumusuway sa magulang, hindi ka naman nandaraya. Totoong hindi ka nga nandaya, hindi ka nga gumagawa ng masama, pero tanungin mo ang sarili mo. May ginawa ka bang mabuti sa iyong kapwa?

And I think that is what matters most in the eyes of God. The very reason why Jesus was telling all the people listening to Him, "When I was hungry, did you feed Me? When I was naked, did you clothe Me? When I was in prison, did you visit Me?" And the people asked when did they see the Lord hungry, thirsty, naked, in prison, a stranger...And Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of My brothers and sisters, you do it to Me." It is because that is the talent that God has given you - the power and the capacity to do good.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 30, 2013
Friday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Leo Nilo C. Mangussad, - Rector, Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)
12:15pm mass at the EDSA Shrine

Reading 1 1 Thes 4:1-8

Brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God–  and as you are conducting yourselves–  you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality, that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God; not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you before and solemnly affirmed. For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness. Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Responsorial Psalm PS 97:1 and 2b, 5-6, 10, 11-12

R. (12a) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD loves those who hate evil;
he guards the lives of his faithful ones;
from the hand of the wicked he delivers them.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Gospel Mt 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The Kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five of them were foolish and five were wise.  The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.  Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’  Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.  The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’  While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.  Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’  But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’  Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”


Once there was a mother who told her son to take care of the cheque that they were supposed to receive as payment for rent. But even after a week, the son wasn't able to do so. The mother then said, "What are we going to do? We do not have money anymore for our food, because you failed to get the cheque for the rent." The boy replied, "Don't worry mom, I'll do it tomorrow." To which the mother said, "Yes, you can do that, but tomorrow is a Saturday, and all the banks are closed. We will still not have money to buy food."

Procrastination. The action of trying to prolong or postpone something, and do what we want, instead of doing what we need to do, has now become a usual thing happening to us and our children. Procrastination - you wait until the exam is tomorrow before you study. We wait until the deadline before we do it. And it is always happening nowadays. The Lord is trying to remind us on the importance of promptly doing what we should, before matters get worse, before we lose the chance of achieving or accomplishing our goal, before it is too late.

If we cannot do that here on earth, what more with the things of heaven? Just like the ten virgins, the five ones were wise - they did not wait until the last minute to bring in oil - but the other five procrastinated.

It is good to look deep inside our hearts. What is the most important thing that I should do now, instead of later? As the saying goes, "If you follow the road called 'I'll do it later', you'll end up in the house of 'never'.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 29, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist
by Rev. Fr. Ray Victor Pascual, LRMS (Spiritual and Apostolate Director, Lorenzo Mission Institute)
12:15PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 1 Thes 3:7-13

We have been reassured about you, brothers and sisters, in our every distress and affliction, through your faith. For we now live, if you stand firm in the Lord.

What thanksgiving, then, can we render to God for you, for all the joy we feel on your account before our God? Night and day we pray beyond measure to see you in person and to remedy the deficiencies of your faith. Now may God himself, our Father, and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts,  to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm PS 90:3-5a, 12-13, 14 and 17

R. (14) Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy!

Gospel Mk 6:17-29

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias,  the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias’ own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.” He even swore many things to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


Today's feast is an unusual feast. Actually, the original name of the feast is the 'beheading of John the Baptist'. Ang pagpugot sa ulo ni Juan Bautista. The feast has been renamed today as the Passion of Saint John the Baptist - the martyrdom of John the Baptist. Why does the Church celebrate this unusual feast? It is because the Church wants us to realize how costly it is to follow Jesus. It cost the head of John the Baptist to follow Jesus. John stood for the truth until his last breath, and this is the reason why he was beheaded.

First, John was called to preach repentance and conversion to sinners, including Herod. That is why Herod could not kill John because he respects what John is telling him, even if it hurt him. Herod is like some people, too. They only like to listen to eloquent speakers and read inspiring books, but they do not want to follow what the speaker or the book is telling them to do, because they do not want change.

Second, John the Baptist was called to preach and stand for the truth. There was a song many years ago by Billy Joel. To those of you who were born yesterday, you know who Billy Joel is. (laughs) He wrote the song titled 'Honesty'. The lyrics go like this - 'Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue.' Brothers and sisters, this is happening in our society today. It seems that a lot of people do not anymore speak the truth. Honesty is such a lonely word; everyone is so untrue. The message of the song is telling us that we have an 'honesty crisis' - a true crisis. Just imagine the 10 billion peso scam in the government. People will always cover up and not tell the truth, because they are afraid that something will happen to them. At least Napoles surrendered; hopefully she will tell the truth of what she has done, and also ask those who connived with her to tell the truth. Herod knew the truth that John was telling him, yet he wanted to play deaf, because he was afraid to lose his reputation, his position, his power, and most of all, his money.

Third, the call is for John to offer his life for the Kingdom of God. This is our call. We have to give our lives for the sake of the Kingdom. This is what a true disciple of Jesus is all about - giving up one's life for the sake of the Kingdom. In the life of a disciple, he will always encounter people who do not like what he says, because the truth always hurts. But Jesus also shows us that when we accept the truth, the truth will set us free. Many saints and martyrs died because they stood for the truth.

I see a parallelism in the story of John the Baptist and in the life of Saint Thomas Moore during the time of King Henry VIII. King Henry VIII had a woman named Anne Boleyn. King Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn, a young, beautiful woman. And he asked Thomas Moore, the Chancellor of England, who was second to him, to sign the document so that he can become King and Head of the Church of England. But Thomas Moore stood his ground. Even his own daughter and his own friends persuaded him to give up, yet, Saint Thomas Moore, instead of looking at his position as the second most powerful person in England at that time, stood his ground. He was beheaded.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus challenges us today to live out our baptismal promises , by sharing in His Life, Passion, Death and Resurrection. In other words, to live a life according to the truth, and like John the Baptist, be a true witness of Jesus, even if it will cost our own life.