Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 10, 2013
Year of Faith
Thursday after Epiphany of the Lord
by Rev. Fr. Benjo Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 1 Jn 4:19–5:4

Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him. In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 14 and 15bc, 17

R. (see 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
From fraud and violence he shall redeem them,
and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
May they be prayed for continually;
day by day shall they bless him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Gospel Lk 4:14-22

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region.  He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.  He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.


In our First Reading, the word 'love' was mentioned 12 times. And if you are going to read the entire first letter of John, the word 'love' is spoken 42 times. It only emphasizes and stresses the point that love is a very important thing in our lives.

I recall in the movie 'Tanging Yaman', there is this particular scene of a mother and her son, on top of the roof, and the mother explained to her son the three meanings of love. The first is, she said, "Love is not about feelings." Second, "love is doing good to someone, even if that person is not doing any good to you." And the third, "praying for someone is a form of loving, too."

It is so hard to look at people, especially your enemies, with love. One rabbi in a very ancient parable asked his students, "When do you say that night is over, and that day is dawning?" And one student answered, "It is when you look from a distance and you see an animal, and you can distinguish if it is a dog or a goat." "No", the rabbi answered. Another student answered, "It is when, from a distance, you look at a tree, and you are able to distinguish if it is a fir tree or a fig tree." The rabbi still answered, "No." So when it is? And the rabbi said to them, "It is when you look at another person and you say that he is your brother or she is your sister, because at any time that you cannot do this, it will always be dark. It will always be night."

My dear brothers and sisters, the reason why we cannot love, or we openly or secretly hate another person, is because we openly or secretly hate ourselves. When we look into ourselves, there is so much spiritual turmoil, there is so much anxiety, there is so much uneasiness, and there is so much battle going on within us. And the reason why we are not at peace, is because we are not at peace with God.

Do it for yourself. Do it for your own safety. Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself. And you will have peace. Amen