Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 10, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Lenten Seasons
Fourth Sunday of Lent
by Rev. Fr. Caloy Reyes
12:15PM Mass at Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA)
Reading 1 Jos 5:9a, 10-12

The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”

While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, they celebrated the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth of the month. On the day after the Passover, they ate of the produce of the land in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain. On that same day after the Passover, on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased. No longer was there manna for the Israelites, who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 2 Cor 5:17-21

Brothers and sisters: Whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ  and given us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them  and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So to them Jesus addressed this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ But his father ordered his servants, ‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found.’ Then the celebration began. Now the older son had been out in the field and, on his way back, as he neared the house, he heard the sound of music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean. The servant said to him, ‘Your brother has returned and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ He became angry, and when he refused to enter the house, his father came out and pleaded with him. He said to his father in reply, ‘Look, all these years I served you and not once did I disobey your orders; yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends. But when your son returns who swallowed up your property with prostitutes, for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’ He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”


Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, which is also, called Laetare Sunday. The word 'laetare' means to rejoice. If you'd notice, I'm wearing a pink chasuble, or more of old rose than pink. We are allowed to wear old rose twice a year, during Laetare Sunday, which coincides with the fourth Sunday of Lent, and Gaudete Sunday, which coincides with the third Sunday of Advent. And the reason for this is that the Church has been in penance for a long time, which is symbolized by the color purple, and we break it by the pink or old rose color. This color is the coolest, probably, among the colors, and looking at it gives us a feeling of joy. Coincidentally, in mental institutions, sometimes we use the color pink to calm down the more violent among the patients. So pink has a cooling effect. 

But we wear pink today because today is a happy day. Why is it a happy day? It is because the Lord is telling us about the Father's mercy. We heard in today's Gospel the parable of the prodigal son. And this parable was addressed, not to the sinners, but actually to the religious leaders at that time, the Pharisees and the lawyers. 

And let us admit that almost all of us probably have a little bit of the Pharisee within us. The Pharisees were complaining why Jesus was welcoming sinners. They forgot or they failed to anticipate the real message of our Lord Jesus Christ. And His message is mercy. Mercy and pardon for sinners. 

In the parable of the lost son, something precious was lost, and the person that was lost, was found, after a frantic search, and after anguished waiting. When the lost son was found, there was great joy. 

So what does this mean for each and every one of us? There is joy in finding someone who is lost. There is a lot of joy. And that's why it is right that we celebrate, because God is merciful. God is either frantically looking for us or He is waiting for us expectantly, with a little bit of anguish. 

Sinu-sino ba sa inyo dito ang nawalan na ng anak o ng mahal sa buhay? O kaya may anak kang nagloloko? Ano ang mas mahirap gawin - ang maghanap ng nawawala, o 'yong maghintay na bumalik 'yong nawawala? Siguro maghintay. Pag naghanap ka, at least may ginagawa ka, medyo nalilibang-libang ka. Eh kung nando'n ka lang sa bahay, naghihintay ka, babalik pa ba ang anak ko? Ang hirap no'n. Siguro masira-sira ang ulo mo. 

But this is how God is with us. He searches for us and waits for us. Just like the lost sheep. Iniwan ng shepherd 'yong 99 na tupa, para lang hanapin 'yong isang tupang nawawala. At pag nakita ni Hesus ang nawawalang tupa, sasabihin Niya, "Mabuti nakita na kita. Wala ka bang sakit? Wala ka bang pilay?" And with tenderness, He will say, "Halika na, uwi na tayo...Uwi na tayo." This is how Jesus Christ is with us. 

In the parable of the prodigal son, the younger son got his inheritance and went to a distant country where he squandered the money of his father. He spent everything freely, until he found himself in dire need. Pati sa baboy nakiki-kain na siya. Pag nilayasan natin ang bahay ng Ama, magbubuhay baboy talaga tayo. Buhay baboy. But the Gospel says the son came to himself, and in coming to his senses, he decided to go back to his father's house. 

That is the prodigal son. Now what about the father? The Gospel says that the father saw his son coming home, from still a long way off. Ano ang ibig sabihin noon na malayo pa lang ay nakita ka na ng iyong ama? Ang ibig sabihin no'n ay walang ginawa 'yong Tatay mo kundi dumungaw. Nasaan na kaya 'yong anak ko? So when the father saw the son, he was moved with compassion and then he ran towards the boy. Then coming to him, he embraced him and covered him in kisses. Tuwang-tuwa ang Ama. And this is how our God is, with us.

God is so merciful to us. Let us be merciful, as the Father is merciful. Ang ating Ama ay laging naghihintay, inaabangan tayo, nakadungaw sa bintana. Hindi ka Niya pwedeng pilitin. Nasa sa iyo 'yon. At pag babalik ka na, malayo ka pa lang, natatanaw Ka na Niya. He will run to you, cover you with kisses and embrace you, and will bestow You your heritage.