Monday, March 4, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 04, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Lenten Seasons
by Rev. Fr. Ramon Jade L. Licuanan (Commissioner, Commission on Youth, Archdiocese of Manila)
12:15PM Mass, Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Peace (EDSA Shrine)
Reading 1 2 Kgs 5:1-15ab

Naaman, the army commander of the king of Aram, was highly esteemed and respected by his master, for through him the LORD had brought victory to Aram. But valiant as he was, the man was a leper. Now the Arameans had captured in a raid on the land of Israel a little girl, who became the servant of Naaman’s wife. “If only my master would present himself to the prophet in Samaria,” she said to her mistress, “he would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went and told his lord just what the slave girl from the land of Israel had said. “Go,” said the king of Aram. “I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman set out, taking along ten silver talents, six thousand gold pieces, and ten festal garments. To the king of Israel he brought the letter, which read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

When he read the letter, the king of Israel tore his garments and exclaimed: “Am I a god with power over life and death that this man should send someone to me to be cured of leprosy? Take note! You can see he is only looking for a quarrel with me!” When Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his garments, he sent word to the king: “Why have you torn your garments? Let him come to me and find out that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. The prophet sent him the message: “Go and wash seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.” But Naaman went away angry, saying, “I thought that he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD his God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy. Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than all the waters of Israel?  Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?” With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him. “My father,” they said, “if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it? All the more now, since he said to you,‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.” So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4

R. (see 42:3) Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
As the hind longs for the running waters,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
Then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Athirst is my soul for the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?

Gospel Lk 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.


It is helpful if we know the episode or the incident prior to our Gospel text today. It was at the beginning of Chapter 4 in the Gospel of Luke. And it is about the incident of Jesus reading the Scriptures in the synagogue. When the people of His own native town of Nazareth heard of Jesus, they began to scrutinize Him, in a way doubting who He was, and His capability.

That incident happened prior to our episode today in the Gospel, when Jesus, in a way, was implying in His words that He couldn't perform, He couldn't show much to His people simply because of their doubts. He even compared the people of Sidon to His own townsfolk. In a way, Jesus appreciated people from other places than His own native place. And that resulted to some hostile reaction from Jesus' own native place. The Gospel even says that the people became furious because of the words of Jesus, to the point that they tried to crowd on Jesus and hurt Him. But in the last sentence of the Gospel, we can see that Jesus walked amidst of them and just went away.

So these all started from the doubts and the mistrusts of Jesus' own kababata, of His kababayan, on His credibility and His capability. So what does the Gospel remind us today? It is about appreciating the familiar. It's about putting value on the familiar.

You know, we are all used to a lot of things. We have our own routine every day. From the waking up, to the bathing and the preparing, to the trips to our office. And then when we get to our office, we see familiar faces, we have our own familiar work, familiar atmosphere, familiar tables and chairs and office equipment. We work with the same procedures until the end of the day. Then the same things happen - we all rush to the bus stop or the jeepney stop. We all line up. At times, we see the same faces in our shuttles. 

It's all the same; we're used to it. And we just bear the familiar routine of every day, because we have a greater need, and that is to earn and work for the family. So we don't have much choice, except to go through the same routine, over and over again, day after day. It's all the same. 

But the Gospel speaks of something. And that is putting a little more color to our every day familiar routine. Just as the townsfolk of Jesus did not mind Him, because He seemed to be too familiar to them, which resulted to not so much miracles for them, we are being invited to just put a little color, and a little zeal, and a little energy, and a little faith on the things that are so familiar, and that has become so much a part of our every day routine. 

What does this mean? Yes, we may be going through the same familiar routine every day, but God is always new every day. And God always has a new message and inspiration for us every day. He never gets tired. And so it is a challenge for us to always discover every day, daily, in every routine, the beautiful and wonderful new things that God has in store for us. Just to make us happy and excited and thrilled every day of our life, God will always to prepare new things for us. 

Let us pray that the Lord may grant us the sight, the eyes to see new things amidst the familiar. Let us ask the Lord to grant us the eyes and the heart to feel His ever new and ever fresh love and fidelity to us, amidst every day familiar routine. That we may discover more of the wealth of God's Kingdom, and that we may discover all the more the richness of God's love for us. Let us pray for God's grace, that we may truly enjoy our lives every day, to see new things in the old familiar things of our daily routine.