Thursday, February 14, 2013

Gospel Reflection

February 14, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Lenten Season
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 Dt 30:15-20

Moses said to the people: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Gospel Lk 9:22-25

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?”


Early this morning, I received a text message. Nakalagay doon: "Dear Lord, kung hindi di mo ako bibigyan ng ka-date ngayong Valentine's, sana po 'yong nagbabasa nito ay....huwag mo ring bigyan ng ka-date, para damay-damay na." (laughs) 

The world celebrates today the Hearts' Day or Love Day. In our Gospel for today, God shows us the true meaning, the true kind of love. And it is symbolized by the cross. 

The cross, during Jesus's time, was the most hated, most painful, most humiliating, most feared kind of death. But today, we celebrate the cross. We adore, we cherish the cross. And Jesus Himself tells us that we must embrace our crosses in life. "Whoever loses his life for My sake, will save it." 

We have forgotten the true meaning of sacrifice. It is giving up something which is good, in order to gain a higher good. Our life is so precious. Our life is so important to us. Our self, our egos. That's why when people talk against us, when people say negative things about us, we get mad. We want to retaliate and we keep those people as our enemies. When people say something, narinig natin, "Sinabi ni ganito, ganyan ka daw. Narinig ko, sinabi ni ganito." What we have to realize is, we must not mind what other people are saying about us. It's none of our business, 'no? Bahala silang magsalita. One psychologist said, "What other people tell of us do not necessarily have to be our own reality." We must really know ourselves, we must have to educate ourselves not to be prompted by our emotions because of what we hear about what other people tell us. Kung anuman ang sabihin nila, hindi makaka-apekto sa atin 'yon. Dahil kung kilalang-kilala natin ang ating sarili ay hindi tayo maapektuhan. 

And that is one way of embracing the cross. Loving people who talk against us. Loving people who spread rumors against us. Loving people who are unlovable, and who become our crosses in life. Jesus is telling us to embrace them. 

At the beginning of our journey of Lent, God is telling us to focus on that more important kind of love. The kind of love that Jesus gave for all of us. Giving up Himself, shedding His blood to the last drop. The summary of the life of Jesus Christ - from the moment He was born in Bethlehem, until He died in Calvary - can be summed up in three words. As we look at the cross here, listen to what Jesus Christ is telling all of us. "Father, forgive them." And this is the kind of love that we must also show to the rest of our brothers and sisters. Forgiving them of their faults. Forgiving them of their sinfulness. Forgiving them of all the mistakes and the problems they caused us. That is dying to ourselves. Amen.