Thursday, March 14, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 14, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Lenten Seasons
by Rev. Fr. Leonardo Adaptar, CS, Scalabrini Missionary
12:15pm mass, Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (EDSA Shrine)
Reading 1 Ex 32:7-14

The LORD said to Moses, “Go down at once to your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt, for they have become depraved. They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it, sacrificing to it and crying out, ‘This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ The LORD said to Moses, “I see how stiff-necked this people is. Let me alone, then, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation.”

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying, “Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with such great power and with so strong a hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent he brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains and exterminate them from the face of the earth’? Let your blazing wrath die down; relent in punishing your people. Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.’“ So the LORD relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Gospel Jn 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews: “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father,
but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”


I would like to begin this reflection with a question. What would you feel if you have worked hard and due credit was not given to you? What if you were not acknowledged that you were the one who did it? Human as we are, certainly, we would feel bad. We would be disappointed, hurt, and there is always a tendency to claim what is due for us.
In this reflection that I would like to share with you, there are two points that I would like to highlight.
First, I would like to reiterate that God is loving and merciful. We started this week, last Sunday, with a very beautiful reflection about the parable of the prodigal son, which can also be understood as the parable of the compassionate Father. God manifested to us in the parable His compassion and unconditional love for each one of us.
This is being repeated once again in the Book of Exodus in the experience of the Israelites. After God saved them and brought them out from slavery in Egypt, the people turned to a molten calf and worshipped it, without really thinking that it is our God, the God of Moses, who brought them out of slavery. Di po ba masakit 'yon sa ating Panginoon, that He did everything for His people, and then after that, they will give credit to another god that they are worshiping? If we are going to put our human standards into God's own, certainly, we will feel bad.
But God continues to remain merciful and compassionate, even if He was disappointed. In fact, He initiated reconciliation with His people when He called Moses and said, "Go down at once to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt." When Moses pleaded to the Lord not to let His wrath blaze upon His people, God listened. It does not mean that Moses was more merciful and God is not. But this is simply to tell us that God, in His kindness, initiates reconciliation with us. God loves each one of us. We may be entangled with so many mistakes, but God will always allow His grace to be with us. He will look for us, He will search for us.
The second point is this. I am so struck with the humility and obedience of Moses. He is really a good leader. He is not a person who would give credit to himself at the expense of others. Hindi siya sipsip sa Panginoon. Being a leader, when he saw that his people were worshipping other gods, he did not ignite the anger of God by putting more fuel to it. Instead, he pleaded to the Lord, asking for mercy on behalf of the Israelites. He is also kind and merciful, and also possessed the heart of God. And I think that this is what we need - to have the heart of God for others.
This morning, our own Church is so happy to have received the good news of having a new Pope. He is someone who was not so much talked about, but we are surprised of having this first South American Pope, a person who also has the qualities of a good leader, a good reformer. Let us continue to pray for him, as he embraces this challenging task that the Lord has given to him for the whole Church. May he remain a compassionate father, not only for the 1.2 billion Catholics, but for the whole world. May he have the heart of God, who is loving, forgiving and compassionate. My dear brothers and sisters, let us be one with the whole Church in praying for this intention. Let us pray for ourselves, too, that we may also possess the heart of God. Amen.