Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gospel Reflection

February 27, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Lenten Season
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
12:15PM Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord
Reading 1 Jer 18:18-20

The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said, “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.”

Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say. Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 31:5-6, 14, 15-16

R. (17b) Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Gospel Mt 20:17-28

As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.”

He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Can I begin with a short story?

Minsan daw po ay mayroong isang politiko na namatay. Kawawa naman po 'yong politiko ano. And then, at his death, he was given a choice. Ang sabi ni San Pedro, "Ok, pwede kang mamili kung saan mo gustong pumunta - kung gusto mong pumunta sa langit, o kung gusto mong pumunta sa impyerno."

So tiningnan muna ng politiko ang impyerno. Isinakay na siya sa elevator, and then habang pababa nang pababa 'yong elevator, napansin niya, pabango nang pabango. Sabi niya, "Hindi naman pala masama ang impyerno. Ang bango." At no'ng bumukas ang elevator, behold, ang nakita niya, napakagandang tanawin, na para bang napakalawak na golf course. At lahat ng mga kaibigan niya, nandoon. (laughs) Pati lahat ng kanyang kamag-anak, nandoon din. So sabi niya, "O - lahat naman pala ng mga kakilala ko ay nandito. Masaya naman pala." At marami daw pagkain, at lahat ng pangangailangan niya ay nandodoon.
Umakyat naman ang pulitiko at dinala siya sa langit. Pagdating niya sa langit, pagbukas ng elevator, maganda rin naman, pero sabi niya, "Wala akong kilala dito kahit isa." (laughs) "Ang mga kamag-anak ko wala din dito." So sabi niya kay St. Peter, "Pwede po bang doon na lang ako sa impyerno? Ok naman no'ng makita ko. So do'n na lang ako, 'yon na lang ang pipiliin ko."
And so he was brought back to the elevator. At habang bumababa ang elevator, napansin niya, pabaho nang pabaho. And then painit nang painit. At pagbukas ng elevator, nakita niya ang talagang malawak na dagat ng nagbabagang asupre. Talagang ang baho-baho at hindi maganda ang lahat. And then, nakita niya si Satan. So ang sabi niya, "Bakit noong una akong pumunta rito, ang ganda-ganda, ang bangu-bango? Lahat ng mga kakilala ko, nandito. Parang golf course 'yong nakita ko. Pero ngayon, bakit ganito ang dinatnan ko?" Ang sabi sa kanya ni Satan, "Kelan ka ba nagpunta?" Ang sabi ng pulitiko, "I think kahapon lang." At ang sabi ni Satan, "Ahh kahapon....Campaign period noon." (laughs)
Eh di ba ganoon, pag campaign period, langit ang pinapangako eh, 'no? Then pag eleksiyon na, impyerno na ang mararanasan natin ano. (laughs) Bakit kaya ganoon.....Kung meron mang politiko dito, kwento lang po 'yon ho? (laughs) Wala naman akong pinatatamaan.
But it has a certain grain of truth in it. May katotohanan. Gano'n naman di ba? Pag campaign period, ano'ng pinapangako? Langit. Pero pagdating at pagkatapos ng eleksiyon - ayan na. Mararanasan na natin ang impyerno.
Pero bakit natin ginagawa 'yan? Because we are so addicted to power, we will do anything, we will promise everything. "Ipapangako ko sa inyo ang langit at lupa, iluklok n'yo lang ako sa kapangyarihan." And that is what power can do to an individual. Sabi nga natin, power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.
And this is true, not only among politicians. Kahit naman sa simbahan, pwede ring mangyari 'yan. Sa simbahan, meron ding makapangyarihan. Even people in the church can be afflicted by this seduction of power.
At narinig natin 'yan sa ating Ebanghelyo ngayon. Ano'ng sabi ni Hesus? "Pupunta tayo sa Herusalem. At pagdating natin sa Herusalem, doon Ako'y papatayin. Ako'y maghihirap, magdurusa, mamamatay, ipapako sa krus." Pero parang walang narinig ang mga disipulo. Nagda-drama si Hesus pero hindi nila narinig. Ano 'yong request nila kay Hesus after that? Sabi nila, "Lord, can You make sure that when You come into Your Kingdom, one of us will sit - one at Your right, and the other at Your left?" At dito sa version ng Ebanghelyong narinig natin, 'yong Nanay ang nag-request. Meron pang stage mother na lumapit kay Hesus. (laughs)
"Pwede bang 'yong dalawang anak kong si James at si John, 'yong isa po sa kanan Ninyo, at isa po sa kaliwa?" She wanted them to become powerful. But not in the sense of the Kingdom, but in the sense of the world.

Sabi ni Hesus, pupunta tayo sa Herusalem. But their idea of Jerusalem is different. Ano 'yong idea nila ng Jerusalem? 'Yong parang ginagawa natin ngayon na 'Trip to Jerusalem'. Ano ba 'yong 'Trip to Jerusalem'? Di ba unahan - unahan sa pwesto? Ganyan 'yong notion natin ng Jerusalem. Pero sabi ni Hesus, sa kaharian ng langit, hindi ganyan ang Jerusalem. Hindi iyon unahan sa upuan. In fact, dapat ibibigay mo ang iyong upuan.

Maganda sigurong ibahin natin ang 'Trip to Jerusalem' ano. 'Yong pag nagpa-party tayo, baguhin natin. Hindi na unahan sa upuan. Unahan na lang ng pagbibigay ng upuan....ayan ano...That will be a Christianized form of the 'Trip to Jerusalem'.
And that is what Jesus is telling us in the Gospel. Why are we given power? Or why are put in power? We are given power, and we are put in power, not to enrich ourselves, or not to make our importance felt. 'Yon ang sabi ni Hesus sa Ebanghelyo. "It cannot be that way with you." For the Gentiles, they lord it over other people, they make their importance felt. But for Christians, it is the other way around. In the Kingdom of God, it is not a matter of making your importance felt. It is a matter of making others feel important, by the kind of service that you give them. Now, ito po ba 'yong ating idea ng Jerusalem? At ito po ba 'yong idea ng 'power' na ating inaasam-asam?
Our Pope Benedict XVI has given us an example. Minsan nase-senti ako pag naalala ko si Pope Benedict XVI. This will be his last day in office. Tomorrow, he will be resigning in office. He will be giving up the highest power available. But why is he giving it up? He said that he realized that he no longer has the physical capacity to do the work. And he realized that someone younger can fulfill the work that is demanded by the Papacy. He is not addicted to power. He is ready to step down, in order that someone more worthy or maybe more capable, physically and spiritually, can do the work.
As we continue to pray for Pope Benedict XVI who, tomorrow, will be resigning in office, let us also pray for the next Holy Father. Ipagdasal natin na 'yong susunod na mamumuno sa atin ay talagang matuturuan tayo at magiging pastol ayon sa puso ng ating Panginoon. He will be invested with great power. But may he use this power, not in order to bring himself to the authority and power that one longs for, but use this power in order to bring the Kingdom of God in terms of service, and in terms of charity to God's people. Amen.