Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 17, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint Anthony of Abbot
by Msgr. Bong Lo (Chaplain, Chapel of Eucharistic Lord)
12:15PM Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord

Reading 1 Heb 3:7-14

The Holy Spirit says: Oh, that today you would hear his voice, “Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion in the day of testing in the desert, where your ancestors tested and tried me and saw my works for forty years. Because of this I was provoked with that generation and I said, ‘They have always been of erring heart, and they do not know my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest.’” Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end.

Responsorial Psalm PS 95:6-7c, 8-9, 10-11

R.(8) 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.
Forty years I was wearied of that generation;
I said: “This people’s heart goes astray,
they do not know my ways.”
Therefore I swore in my anger:
“They shall never enter my rest.”
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Gospel Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him,  “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean. Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once. Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them.” The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter. He spread the report abroad so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.


One early morning during breakfast, a husband asked his wife, "Ano itong mga bills, ano? Bakit ang daming mga bills dito sa ating common credit card? Ano itong mga pinamili mo? Bakit...ang dami nito ah." And then the wife answered, "Honey, ano 'yon, I cannot hear you." And so the husband repeated the question. At binasa pa niya isa-isa 'yong mga bills, 'no. And then the wife still said, "I'm sorry, mukha yatang napakalamig ngayong umaga, kaya nabibingi ako, ano." And then the husband said, "Oh, you're just pretending not to hear ha."

Then before the husband could say anything else, the wife said, "Sino 'yong babaeng tumawag kahapon dito sa bahay, five times? Ang pangalan niya raw ay si Amalia." And then the husband said, "What, what? What did you say?" (laughs) The wife said, "May babaeng tumawag dito kahapon, five times, si Amalia daw siya." The husband said, "Ang lamig nga masyado ngayon ng panahon, nabibingi ako, ano." (laughs)

My sisters and brothers, as it is said, mahirap gisingin ang....gising. When a person is truly asleep, it's very easy to wake that person. But when the person is awake, pretending to be asleep, it is very difficult to wake that person up. At mahirap din pong makarinig ang nagbibingi-bingihan. Mahirap din pong makakita ang nagbubulag-bulagan.

In the First Reading of today, and in the Responsorial Psalm, we have heard, "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts." The real problem is not in the ears. The real problem is in the heart. Kung talagang ayaw makinig, hindi makakarinig, no matter what you and I do, no matter what God does.

My sisters and brothers, there are different reasons why we cannot hear God. First, sometimes, we are so busy. It seems kung kailan pa na may mga modern transporation, it seems kung kailan pa na may mga modern means of communication, saka pa tayo very busy. Kung kailan pa maraming instant. Instant salabat, instant taho, instant sinigang, instant mami...kung kailan pang mabilis ang lahat, saka pa tayo - it seems - very, very busy. And so we have no more time to pray.

At kung mag-pray man tayo, napakabilis ng prayer. No time to stay much longer in God's presence. Kahit nga magsimba, kailangan 30 minutes lang ang misa ano. Pag lumampas na ang pari, masama na ang tingin ninyo ano (laughs).....very sharp na.

We really need, not only to find time, but to make time, to be alone with God in prayer. To once again hear Him, listen to Him. We need not only to find time. Kasi pag sinabi natin, "I'll try to find time", you will not find it. Don't find time; make the time. To be alone with God in prayer

But it's not enough to make time. We must find the place, or make the place. Kasi nga our surrounding is very noisy na eh. And to make that place is really to detach ourselves from different kinds of addiction. 'Yong mga tao, masyadong spending time sa tele...babad. O kaya texting. Hindi na matapos-tapos ang texting. At pag hindi mo sinagot, nagagalit. Pag sinagot mo naman, sasagutin ka uli. At kailangan sagutin mo uli. Walang katapusan. Yumayaman lamang si Ayala at si Pangilinan. (laughs) Ang iba naman ay masyadong addicted sa....Internet. O sa Facebook. O sa Twitter. We need to detach ourselves from all of these. To make the place. To make the time. To be with God.

And still it's possible that there are noises within us. The noises and the distractions are found, not only outside us. The noises and the distractions can be also found, and maybe much more present, within us. Even though you have the time, you have the place, but maybe you and I do not have the disposition. Narinig natin kanina, ano. Sa First Reading, sinasabi dito, "Encourage yourselves daily, while it is still today." The emphasis is on today. 'If today, you hear His voice.' Hindi 'if tomorrow'. Hindi 'if yesterday'. The emphasis is 'if today'.

Some people, sad to say, cannot hear God's voice because they are so enslaved by the past. By yesterday. Puro lamang 'sana hindi nangyari, sana hindi nagkagano'n'. Full of regrets. Full of bitterness. Full of hurts. Because of the past.

'Yong iba naman po cannot hear God's voice because they are so pre-occupied with the future. So full of anxiety. "Baka...." In the past we say, 'sana....'. In the future, we say, 'baka....'. If in the past there is full of bitterness, in the future, there is full of fear.

God's Word is inviting us today. Focus on the today. Encourage yourselves daily, while it is still today. Let us entrust the past in God's mercy and His healing power. To forgive the past, and to heal the hurts of the past. Let's entrust the future to His providence. Let us entrust to Him the future, and let us journey with Him in the present. To make that place, to make that time, to make the disposition, to unburden ourselves before His presence, and to hear His voice.

In the Gospel Reading of today, Jesus healed a leper. The leper told Jesus, "If You will, You can make me clean." And Jesus told him, "I do will it." But He did not only will it, He touched the leper. In Holy Communion later on, allow Jesus to touch you from within. He will touch you, not only externally. He will touch you internally. Allow Him to touch your heart, your mind and your soul. As you receive Holy Communion, allow Jesus to touch you, your whole person. And heal you, that you may once again hear Him, and journey with Him.