Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 06, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Stephen Mifsud (Mission Society of St. Paul  – Quezon City)
MSSP House Chapel / Mass for the poor)

Reading 1 Hb 1:2-3; 2:2-4

How long, O LORD? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD;
let us acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us joyfully sing psalms to him.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Come, let us bow down in worship;
let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For he is our God,
and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
"Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as in the day of Massah in the desert,
Where your fathers tempted me;
they tested me though they had seen my works."
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Reading 2 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14

Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

Gospel Lk 17:5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith."  The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

"Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, 'Come here immediately and take your place at table'?  Would he not rather say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished'?  Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded?  So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'"


When I was in Malta, I used to celebrate mass at an institution (shelter) for battered women. One woman came after mass telling me how she ended there because her son was beating her repeatedly and so harshly (I think he was on drugs and alcohol)... She was asking me, 'Why is this happening to me? I forgive my son, but next time that he beats me again ... I will be a fugitive from my house! Why is it that God does not do anything? I cannot believe anymore in Christ and His words.
The words of the First Reading from Habakkuk echo very well with this woman. "How long, Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me”.
Sometimes, we say the same or similar words.
Why is this happening to me?
Why do I have such parents? Why I was born in a poor family?
Why these misfortunes? Why all these calamities / bagyo?
There is a whole list of whys!
To tell you the truth, I have no quick solutions. When the battered woman asked me why, I looked at the Crucifix and I felt the Lord telling me, “Why am I on the Cross?”
Believe... have faith!! The prophet Habakkuk continues: 'the righteous person will live by his faithfulness'.  To have faith does not only mean that you believe in the Trinity, that Jesus is God and our Savior, but to trust in a person. Trust in his presence with me. That even if I don’t understand everything, yet I trust in God.  
This relationship with God gives vision and hope in our life especially those who are passing in darkness. One day I was passing through a very difficult time. I felt lonely, useless, very sad inside... I was asking why? I was, at that time, in Pangasinan, in a remote village in the province. There was no electricity, it was very dark at night... I lied down on the ground outside on the grass and looked up... It was dark! But the view of the stars, because walang usok, was so clear, and I was looking at the most magnificent show of beauty in my life... that brought back the smile on my face. There is beauty in darkness... what is important is that we know where to look. If I am in darkness and look only at myself, I will remain in darkness and sadness. If I look at the stars... at God...I will be filled with consolation and hope.
Our founder De Piro used to say: “Look with the eyes of faith”.  Either I can see the darkness of my life and panic or I can see the same darkness and find the way out.
Faith gives you a new vision. There may be one and the same situation, but the way people look at it, makes the difference.
If I am sick, you may see it as a punishment – others see it as time to reflect. Have faith!
Someone dear dies. You may enter into depression or find in it the seed of new possibilities. Have faith!

Conflict in relationship or family – some sees it as a break in the relationship, others as a means to grow. Have faith!
Business fails
, or you lose your job, some see it as a total failure, others see it as an opportunity to try something else. Have faith!

This is what the readings today are inviting us to: to have faith.  When our faith weakens we lose this new perspective in life, and so everything becomes heavy, boring, dull. So let us continue to pray like the apostles “increase our faith”
Let us say together: “Lord increase our faith” AMEN

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