Monday, January 7, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 07, 2013
Year of Faith
Monday after Epiphany of the Lord
by Rev. Fr. Roberto 'Bert' V. Fabillo (LRMS, Parochial Vicar, St. Peter the Apostle Parish Church, Paco, Manila)
5:45PM Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati
Reading 1 1 Jn 3:22–4:6

Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 2:7bc-8, 10-12a

R. (8ab) I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Gospel Mt 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.


Magandang gabi po sa ating lahat. Happy New Year po.

Actually, it's still Christmas. Christmas will end with our celebration of the Baptism of the Lord this coming Sunday. Pwede pa po kayong mamasko. (laughs) Kayong may mga ninong at mga ninang, mamasko na kayo at last week na po. Katulad ng mga sale, last week ng mga sale ngayon. Kayo naman pong mga ninong at mga ninang, sad to inform you, hindi pa tapos ang inyong pagtatago. (laughs)

Now, from today until the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, these days will be saturated with the theme of light - Christ as light. That is why you might be wondering why our Gospel said that after John had been arrested, Jesus went to other places, went outside Bethlehem, and preached the Good News.

The Gospel is not revealing to us or is not telling us how Jesus was affected by the arrest of his cousin. As we have heard in the Gospels during the past weeks, especially the novena masses in preparation for Christmas, the Simbang Gabi, we heard about Mary and Elizabeth praising God together. Mary went to Elizabeth, and then they praised God together. This only indicates, in simple terms, that Mary and Elizabeth were close to each other as cousins. And so, humanly speaking, we would like to conclude that John and Jesus must have also been close to each other, because their mothers knew each other. And yet, now that John had been arrested, Jesus went out to preach, as if nothing had happened.

The Gospel is not telling us that Jesus does not care about His cousin, does not care about John. That's not the point, my dear friends. The point is this - it's a little bit subtle. Darkness in the world still lingers on, but Jesus, as the Light of world, continues to conquer this darkness that even the forces or the powers of heaven cannot quench that light of Christ, or cannot even discourage Jesus from teaching. And so here we are, given the picture of Christ shining into this world which is darkened by sin, with Jesus saying that no amount of darkness can subdue or stray Him away from conquering the world with His light.

Another important point in our Gospel, my dear friends is that Jesus, the Light shining in the darkness, repeated the preaching of John for us to repent and believe in the Gospel, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom of God is at hand. It means that the Kingdom of God is with us, here and now. But if we are to ask, "Where is the Kingdom of God?"

In the preaching of Jesus, He did not only preach by words. Many people came to follow Him because He preached through action. That is why the Gospel mentioned about Jesus healing and curing every disease and illness. That is telling us that the Kingdom of God is here. That God did not remain up there, untouchable, but that God came into this world saying, "Here I am.".

The Kingdom of God is at hand. Again we ask, "Where is the Kingdom of God?" It is in our hands. If we want to experience the Kingdom of God, my dear friends, it is in our hands. We cannot experience God unless we allow ourselves to be part of the Kingdom of God.

As we go back to our respective responsibilities, in our homes, in our offices - once again we begin another year of working and taking up responsibilities - we must have the light of Christ. Will we be a light of Christ, shining in our homes or in our offices, or will we be the darkness of Herod, spreading along gossip, spreading darkness, spreading actions that are in consonance with the evil force? The Kingdom of God is in our hands.

As we nourish ourselves with the readings of Christmas, we are expected to be just like Christ. We should continue to comfort one another, healing people, guiding people. Mag-smile ka lang sa loved one mo, sa office mate mo, that's a lot, diba? Pero pag sinimangutan mo sila, it is also a lot. Little things make a lot of difference. If you are a parent, kamustahin mo lang ang anak mo, or if you are a manager, kamustahin mo lang ang subordinate mo, that means a lot. You make their world shine, you make their world bright.

My dear friends, as we continue to reflect on this theme of light, we must begin, at least within this week, to be a light, to bring the light of Christ to others. Amen.