Monday, February 18, 2013

Gospel Reflection

February 18, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Lenten Season
by Rev. Fr. Robert T. Young, JCL (Chancellor, Prelature of Batanes)
12:15PM Mass, Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace (EDSA Shrine)
Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 11-18

The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy. “You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD.

“You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD.

“You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him.  Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15

R. (John 6:63b) Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart.
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart
find favor before you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.

Gospel Mt 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.  And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”


St. Augustine once said that essentially, there are two kinds of people in the world, because there are also two kinds of love. One is holy, the other is selfish. One is of God, the other pretends to be one, or tries to equal Him.

Our Gospel for today is a concrete example of these two kinds of people, and two kinds of action. The parable of the Last Judgment is not just about sheep and goats - masama ang goats at cute naman ang mga sheep. Hindi po ganito ang kwento ni Hesus. The parable of the Last Judgment is a clear picture that at the end of the day, we will eventually be judged individually. And it is not just about right or wrong. It is about what I have done, and what I have failed to do to address a human need, or to reach out to others in need.

The Gospel today, my dear brothers and sisters, speaks of the works of mercy. It reminds us of three things that Jesus wants us to have in life in terms of our actions. God will not judge us on our achievements, on our earnings, on our fame, but on three things.

First, the help that we extend to others are simple, ordinary things. Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned. These are things we are all capable of doing - whether we are the most powerful person on earth, or we are the poorest of the poor. We can all do these things. It means that God opens His Kingdom to everyone - to each and everyone of us - whether we are rich or poor, influential or not, ordinary or famous. We are all capable of extending help to one another. So hindi po tayo pwedeng makapagreklamo na hindi natin magagawa ito.

Second, it must be a help that we don't calculate, we don't count. And much better if we forget them. Katulad nang nangyari sa Gospel, Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me food." Sabi nila, "Lord, when did we see you hungry? When did we see you thirsty?" Nakalimutan mo na, ginawa mo siya. You do not calculate the help that you give. Hindi mo binibilang. 'Yon na ba ang naibigay ko sa kanya? Tama na. Sobra sobra na ang ibinigay ko. Sobra na akong magpatawad sa kanya." This is human nature, yes. But Jesus is telling us here that counting things we will often forget, if we have much love in our hearts. Kapag puno ka ng pag-ibig, di ka nagbibilang.

And third, my brothers and sisters, whatever we do to the least of our brethren, we do to Christ. Simple things, we don't count, and we do them for the sake of Christ. Before, may lumapit kay Mother Theresa at ang sabi sa kanya, "I will not do what you are doing, even if you give me 1 million." And Mother Theresa said, "Neither will I. But I do this because I see Christ in them." As simple as it is. We are all brothers and sisters, and whatever we do to our brethren affects the whole community.

My dear brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent, the Church reminds us once again to see these things, and perhaps to ask ourselves two questions. What have I done in the past - or today - to help my brothers and sisters in need? Or what have I failed to do for them? This season of Lent opens for us that opportunity. Amen.