Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 24, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith
Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
by Rev. Fr. Benjo Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
5:30PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 Heb 7:25—8:6

Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.

It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:  holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens. He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law,  appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.

The main point of what has been said is this:  we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer. If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law. They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For God says, “See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.

Responsorial Psalm ps 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 17

R. (8a and 9a)  Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, “Behold I come.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips, as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.
May all who seek you
exult and be glad in you,
And may those who love your salvation
say ever, “The LORD be glorified.”
R. Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.

Gospel Mk 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.


All of us want to be loved. All of us want to have care and affection. But for us to be lovable, we must also know how to love, and to accept love.

This is also true with popularity. We want to be affirmed, we want other people to recognize our abilities, our talents, our skills. We want, at a certain point in our lives, to be recognized for what we are capable of. We are very confident whenever people give us praises and affirm that we are doing good, that we are ok, and when a lot of people are following us.

In our Gospel, we hear that a lot of people, a multitude, a crowd, will always follow Jesus because of what He did - preaching, curing and healing a lot of those who are in need of cure. Jesus's popularity increased. But His popularity is not borne out, for the sake of popularity, but because He wanted to serve the people of God. He does not care whether people would agree to His teaching or not, because He always spoke the truth. He will be counter-cultural in some of His preachings, talking against the hypocrisy of the leaders of the church, the elders and the priests. While Jesus was popular among the masses, He was unpopular to those who head the synagogues.

We also see in our Gospel passage, three types of people. And they all begin with the letter C.

The first type are the 'committed'. They are the disciples of Jesus Christ who have given up everything to follow Jesus and His commandments. The next type of people are the 'curious', those who would like to find out what Jesus could do, what miracles He could perform. They would also be following Jesus, not because of their commitment, but because of their curiosity. The third type would be the 'condemned', or the unclean spirits. They know who Jesus Christ is. "We know who You are. You are the Son of God." But they do not turn away from their sins. They go on with their evil and sinful lives. The unclean spirits, the condemned.

In our life, we must also ask ourselves, to which category of people we belong. Do we belong to the 'committed' - those who have heard and who have given up everything just to follow and obey God's commandments? Or perhaps some of us, who have been catechized in our younger years and have already advanced in years, and have been going to masses, are still in the 'curious' stage, when we have not fully given up everything? Some of us might be only curious what Jesus could do for us, what Jesus could give us in answer to our prayers. Or do we belong to the third kind? We might be among the condemned, hearing the Word of God, but not turning away from our sinful lives.

My dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel - the Word of the Lord - always poses a challenge for us, inviting us for a transformation, a conversion. We must ask ourselves - to which group do we belong? Amen.