Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 04, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Jose "Jo" Vidamor B. Yu, LRMS (Rector, Lorenzo Mission Institute)
6:00PM Sunday Anticipated Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

Reading 1 Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet to another who has not labored over it, he must leave property.  This also is vanity and a great misfortune.  For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?  All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest.  This also is vanity.


Responsorial Psalm Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

R. (1) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
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. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
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. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
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. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.


Reading 2 Col 3:1-5, 9-11

Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.  Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.


Gospel Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”  He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”  Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.  “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.  He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.  There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”


Brothers and sisters, we are now in the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, and we are asked by the Church to remember all priests. Thank you for praying for us, as you prayed a while ago the prayer for the sanctification of priests. We, indeed, need prayers, and thank you for continuing to pray for us. Amidst this challenging world, we find strength in prayers. Once you pray for us, our faith is strengthened.

As we celebrate the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, it is nice once more to listen to the Word of God that strengthens us and brings us closer to Jesus. It is nice that every time we have the Sunday mass, the Lord speaks directly to our hearts. It is because the Lord does not want us to die; He wants us all to live. The words that we hear in the readings and the Gospel mean life for all of us. Jesus, Himself, provides us His life. No one of us wants to die; we always want to live, and to live in eternity. Today, the Lord wants to remind us, through the readings, that every time we come closer to Him, He offers us life. And the source of many blessings in life is what we hear, every time we come to the Holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Today, the Lord reminds us that life, indeed, is just a passing shadow in the world. All of us will experience death. No one will remain forever in this world. That is why in the First Reading today that we heard from the Book of Ecclesiastes, all things are vanity. All things in this world - what we see, what we experience, what we feel - will come to an end. Everything will pass away. And it is a very good reminder to all of us. Every time that we are confronted with the Word of God, we are reminded that God offers us life that will not pass away - a life that will never end, a life that is all-pervading, all encompassing, a life that is with the Lord, in eternity. Whatever it is that we are attached today, one day, we will leave these things behind. In many occasions that I have been administering the last sacraments in hospitals, I heard their confessions and last words that they are ready to leave and return to where they should go. When confronted with eternity, when confronted with death, when confronted with the Creator, death will tell us that we have to surrender our material, physical life. All things are vanity; everything shall come to an end.

I remember one song. It is an old song by Ray Conniff with his orchestra. The title of the song is "Here Today and Gone Tomorrow". In Latin, it is 'hodie adsit, cras absit." Here today and gone tomorrow. The song goes like this.....I will not sing. (laughs) I will just pronounce the stanzas in the song. It goes like this:

"I came to you in dark despair, I needed someone who would care.
You held me close against your heart, I felt a warmth right from the start.
Then one day, he took you away. Why did it happen, who can say?
Now, all that there is left for me is just a precious memory."

And this is the chorus:

"That's life, that's life. You take the joy, you take the sorrow.
That's life, that's life. You're here today, and gone tomorrow."

The song speaks about the heart seeking for satisfaction. God provides all our needs while we are here on earth - God is the Creator, the provider, the One who sustains. But when all these things come into our own senses, when it becomes part of our own consciousness and system, one day, these will be taken away from us. That's life, that's life. You're here today, and gone tomorrow. Brothers and sisters, this is the first lesson that we learn today in this Mass.

In the Second Reading from the letter of Paul to the Colossians, we are being reminded that if life will come to an end, then the longing of the heart is to see life that will never end. And St. Paul presents Jesus Christ as life itself. If you want life that will never end, come to Jesus. St. Paul tells us that life is inseparable from Christ. The very reason why we are gathered in this mass is because Jesus, Himself, is our life. Jesus is the Bread of Life; whoever eats this Bread will live forever. St. Paul tells us that when Christ, our life, appears, then we, too, will appear with Him in glory. In other words, once we link Jesus in our life, once our life ends in this world, we will be with Him in glory - and that is life eternal. The life that will never end is Jesus.

Therefore, St. Paul reminds us that if we want life and blessings in our life, then we have to give up things in favor of that life. He, therefore, tells us to put to death all parts of us that leads to death. And what are these? Immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, and put a new sense of your self, meaning to say, we should put Christ in our life, and we will experience eternal life. How beautiful is the Second Reading today, brothers and sisters.

The Gospel today reminds us that life is not all about the law, it is not all about traditions, rules, our plans, securities in life. What is important is that we have to realize that life does not consist in material possessions. Life consists of our faith in Christ. It is true that every time we gather together, we rely on our memory, and that is faith. We go to mass because we remember the Lord telling us to 'do this in memory of Me'. In this Mass, we bring ourselves to the Lord who provides us life and the way to escape all vanities. Jesus, Himself, is life.

Thanks to the Word of God. Every time we listen to God's Word before we receive the Holy Communion, we learn the words that the Lord desires to speak into our hearts. Let us remind ourselves of this - everything in this world will come to an end. We are here today, and gone tomorrow. Let us cling to Jesus, who will bring us to eternal glory. Amen.

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