Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 30, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Weekday
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
12;15PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)

Reading 1 Heb 10:11-18

Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying:

This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord: “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds,” he also says: Their sins and their evildoing I will remember no more. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.


Responsorial Psalm ps 110:1, 2, 3, 4

R. (4b) You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand
till I make your enemies your footstool.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The scepter of your power the LORD will stretch forth from Zion:
“Rule in the midst of your enemies.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
“Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor;
before the daystar, like the dew, I have begotten you.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.
The LORD has sworn, and he will not repent:
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”
R. You are a priest for ever, in the line of Melchizedek.


Gospel Mk 4:1-20

On another occasion, Jesus began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, “Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots.  Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain. And some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit. It came up and grew and yielded thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” He added, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

And when he was alone, those present along with the Twelve questioned him about the parables. He answered them, “The mystery of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.”

Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? Then how will you understand any of the parables? The sower sows the word. These are the ones on the path where the word is sown. As soon as they hear, Satan comes at once and takes away the word sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground who, when they hear the word, receive it at once with joy. But they have no roots; they last only for a time. Then when tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Those sown among thorns are another sort. They are the people who hear the word, but worldly anxiety, the lure of riches, and the craving for other things intrude and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”


Kung nakinig kayo nang mabuti doon sa Ebanghelyo, parang hindi na ako dapat mag-Homily. Because at the second part of the Gospel, Jesus Himself already explained the meaning of the parable of the sower.

But you know....the parable of the sower is not a parable that speaks only about the importance of hearing the Word of God. Hindi naman ito tungkol lamang sa kahalagahan ng pandinig natin sa Salita ng Diyos. The parable of the sower is actually a description of our basic attitude before God, and before His offer of salvation. The different kinds of soil that were enumerated in the Gospel for today is a metaphor and a symbol of the different kinds of people, and the different kinds of reaction that we have in the invitation of God for our salvation.

Alam n'yo po noong binabasa ko itong Ebanghelyong ito, I remember a quotation attributed to Saint Augustine. Sabi ni Saint Augustine, "God who created you without asking you, cannot save you, without asking you." Let me repeat. "God who created you without asking you, cannot save you, without asking you." Ano'ng ibig niyang sabihin? Noong nilikha daw tayo ng Diyos, hindi naman Niya tayo tinanong. 'Yong paglilikha Niya sa atin, 'yong ating buhay, 'yan ay isang handog. It is a gift, a free gift that is given to us. And we were not consulted, if we wanted to be given life. And that is why all of life is always a gift. But when you talk about salvation, it's a different thing. Bakit? God will not save us, without consulting us. God cannot save us, without asking us. Ano'ng ibig sabihin no'n? 'Yong kaligtasan, hindi 'yan sapilitan.

Alam n'yo 'yong kinanta ng choir kanina, in the opening of our mass, is very appropriate. It says, "Come to the table, and enter His presence." Notice the words. It says 'come'. Halika. Walang pumipilit sa 'yo. No'ng kayo ay pumasok diyan sa gate na 'yan, wala namang nagtulak sa inyo. (laughs) Enter His presence. Tayo ay inaanyayahan na pumasok, Hindi ito sapilitan. That is the dynamic of salvation. The invitation for salvation is always free. It is always given. But the decision is ours to take it, or to leave it. Kaya sabi ni Saint Augustine, the God who created you without asking you, cannot save you, without consulting you.

The parable of the sower is a description of how people have reacted all throughout the years in God's offer of salvation. May mga tumutugon, pero marami din namang tumatanggi. May mga tumutugon nang panandalian, but after some time, nawawala. The challenge of the parable is to locate where we are in the different kinds of soil enumerated in the parable. And the challenge of the parable is for us to look at our own freedom. Kung paano natin ginagamit 'yong ating kalayaan.

Naalala ko, no'ng bata po ako, mayroon time, may affair do'n sa aming bahay, may party. And I was asking something from my mother. Eh hindi ko nakuha 'yong gusto ko. Ano'ng ginawa ko? Nagmukmok ako. Nagkulong ako do'n sa kwarto. And then, habang nandoon na ang mga pinsan ko, 'yong mga bisita, nagkakasayahan na doon sa baba, umakyat ang Nanay ko. Sabi niya, " na. Bumaba ka na. Nagkakainan na. Nagkakasayahan na." Ano'ng ginawa ko? Dahil do'n sa aking pride, sabi ko, "Ayoko, dito lang ako."

After ten minutes, umakyat na naman ang Nanay ko. "O....nagkakainan na. Magsisimula na 'yong palaro, hindi ka ba bababa?" "Ayoko, ayoko." All throughout that night, hindi ako lumabas ng kwarto ko. Pero ano'ng nararamdaman ko? Inggit na inggit ako do'n sa mga nasa baba. (laughs) Iniisip ko, "Naku, eh pwede naman akong sumama do'n eh. 'Yong pride ko lang naman ang pumipigil sa akin. Ayoko lang talagang bumaba at makisalo sa kanila."

I'm sure, all of us, at one time or another, have behaved that way. Kalayaan lang naman natin 'yan eh. Nandoon 'yong paanyaya, nandoon 'yong invitation. God is telling us, come to the feast. Come to the salvation that I'm offering you. But because of our pride, because of our sin, because of our wrong decisions, we choose to remain in our own isolated world. And that is the glory, and at the same time, the risk of human freedom.

Freedom is God's greatest gift. But freedom is also God's greatest risk that He took. Sa misang ito, ipinalangin natin that we will not waste the gift of freedom that God has given us. The invitation to be with God is always there. Let us use our freedom wisely. Amen.