Sunday, March 31, 2013

Gospel Reflection

March 31, 2013
Easter Sunday – Year of Faith
The Resurrection of the Lord
by Rev. Fr. Wilfredo del Parto, SVD, Chaplain, Lourdes Chapel, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Sta. Mesa, Manila
5:00PM Mass, Lourdes Chapel, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital
Reading 1 Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Peter proceeded to speak and said: “You know what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

R. (24) This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
R. Alleluia.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
R. Alleluia.
“The right hand of the LORD has struck with power;
the right hand of the LORD is exalted.
I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.”
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
R. Alleluia.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 Col 3:1-4

Brothers and sisters: If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Brothers and sisters: Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Gospel Lk 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week,  two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread.  


Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. Happy Easter. Palakpakan po natin ang Panginoon (loud applause) 

The greatest and highest worship in our Church is the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum begins on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil, and now. There is no other higher celebration of the Church than this. Christmas is celebrated, but the Easter Triduum is higher when it comes to the Liturgical celebration of the Church. 

My dear friends, we are gathered together today. It is not a dream, hindi po ito panaginip. As we heard in our Gospel today, it is true and historical that our Lord Jesus Christ has risen today. 

What is the meaning of this to all of us, especially in our modern times today? If you have experienced celebrating the Easter Triduum, especially when you attend the Easter Vigil, you will see a lot of activities during the Liturgical celebration. First, we start with the blessing of the New Fire, then there is the blessing of the New Water of Baptism, and the third would be the blessing and renewal of Christian vows. 

What is the importance of these activities in our Easter celebration? First and foremost, my dear friends, Easter is the beginning of new life. If the Resurrection of the Lord is the beginning of new life, then we also have to start a new life. Second, Easter is a celebration of change. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead; He has changed. As believers of Christ, we should also change. There should be renewal from all of us. 

Another highlight during the Easter Liturgical celebration is the lighting of the new candle - the Easter candle. The Easter candle symbolizes the light of Christ. Noon ay madilim ang simbahan, ngunit pagsindi ng ilaw ay napakagandang tignan, na ang lahat ng tao ay may dalang kandila. It is a very solemn scene of Easter. 

May isang magandang istorya ng dalawang magkapatid. Sabi ng bunso sa kanyang Tatay, "Kukunin ko na po ang aking kayamanan. I want to get my inheritance and I will travel around the world." So ibinigay ng Tatay ang mana ng bunso, at ito ay umalis na. 

After several hours, nalungkot 'yong Tatay dahil sa nangyari. "Ang aking anak ay pumunta sa mundo. But the world is so dangerous, the world is wild." Naisip ng ama na baka hindi na makabalik ang kanyang anak. Umakyat ang Tatay sa pinakamataas na bundok, at nakita nga niya na ang mundo ay magulo, maraming magnanakaw, maraming masasamang tao, kaya sabi niya, baka hindi na makabalik ang kanyang anak. 

Makatapos ang ilang araw na hindi pa bumabalik ang kanyang bunsong anak, sabi ng panganay na susundan niya at hahanapin ang kanyang bunsong kapatid. Subalit sabi ng Tatay, "Huwag na lang kasi delikado eh. Magulo ang mundo. Huwag mo nang sundan ang kapatid mo. Hayaan mo na lang na makabalik siya sa atin."

Ngunit di pumayag ang panganay niyang anak. Hahanapin niya ang kanyang kapatid. Sabi ng Tatay, "Paano kung makita mo siya, pero ayaw naman niyang sumama sa iyo? O kaya ay hindi mo siya makita? Ano'ng gagawin mo?" Ang sabi ng panganay na kapatid, "Lahat ng lugar na pupuntahan ko, pag hindi ko nakita ang aking kapatid ay magtitirik ako ng kandila na may ilaw. At least, kung ang kapatid ko ay hindi ko makita at ibig na niyang umuwi, kahit papaano ay alam niya kung ano ang daan patungo o pauwi sa ating bahay." 

Kaya 'yon ang ginawa ng panganay na kapatid. Hinubad niya ang kanyang mga kayamanan sa katawan at siya ay lumakad. Hinanap niya ang kanyang kapatid, kahit na siya ay nakaranas ng kabuktutan ng mundo. Siya ay nanakawan, nagulpi, subalit patuloy pa rin siyang naghanap sa kanyang kapatid. Sa madaling sabi, sa lahat ng napuntahan niya ay hindi niya nakita ang kanyang kapatid

Dahil hindi pa rin nakababalik ang kanyang dalawang anak, ang Tatay ay nalungkot sapagkat wala ang kanyang dalawang anak. Kaya't siya ay umakyat ulit sa bundok, at nakita niya na ang mundo ay magulo pa rin. Marami pa ring mga magnanakaw, marami pa ring masasamang tao. Subalit napansin niya na sa mundo ngayon ay may naiba. Kung noon ay nakita niya itong madilim, ngayon, ito ay maliwanag na. There is light in the world, kahit na nandiyan pa rin ang mga kaguluhan at ang mga masasamang tao. 

My dear friends, ang kwento ko po ay tungkol sa meaning of Easter, the meaning of the Resurrection of the Lord. We celebrate the meaning of Easter but the world is still the same. Marami pa ring kaguluhan, marami pa ring nanloloko, marami pa ring namamatay. But Easter is the Resurrection of the Lord, and the Lord is the Light of the world. Even if the world is dangerous, the Light of Christ shines on all of us, giving us hope, giving us direction in our lives. 

The Easter Candle is the symbol of the Light of Christ which is given to all of us. Kahit tayo ay may problema sa buhay, the Light of Christ will always shine on us, because He is our Lord, and His Resurrection is our hope. The Lord's Resurrection is a celebration new life. It brings new life, it brings change. 

In our celebration of Easter Sunday, and towards the end, let us welcome and love Jesus. Let us have faith in Him. The ultimate message of Jesus is that He has risen and that He is alive. Without the Resurrection of the Lord, wala po tayong lahat dito. We will not be celebrating the Eucharist now, if our Lord Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead. That is why in our Responsorial Psalm, we say, "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice." 

Indeed, my dear friends, let us be glad. Because through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have the light, we have the hope, and we have new life. Let us pray that our faith in the Resurrection may be strengthened and that we may put Jesus above all else, as He comes as the Light of the world.