Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gospel Reflection

April 09, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith – Easter Season
by Rev. Fr. Estelito Villegas, Parish Priest, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Poblacion, Makati City
12:15PM Mass, Mary Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of EDSA Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)
Reading 1 Acts 4:32-37

The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas (which is translated Ason of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.

Responsorial Psalm PS 93:1ab, 1cd-2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Jn 3:7b-15

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, ‘How cans this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”


"You must be born from above." This is the statement made by Jesus to Nicodemus as they continued to discuss the things about what cannot be just grasped through human effort or through human intellect. Jesus intimated to Nicodemus that only through things coming from God, can one understand about God. And that would be God's initiative, not man's initiative. 

And this initiative of God comes from His great love for humanity. His great act of mercy is when He has made it clear that He will not deny His face to anyone, but allow everyone to have a glimpse of His beauty and His love, and enjoy His life forever. This is the gift of the Risen Lord. It is the gift that is directed toward calling us all to live in communion with God. And baptism is the ordinary way through which we could enter into that communion of life and love. 

This communion of life and love is the ordinary way through which we can understand the words coming from the Gospel of John. He says there, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not die, but have eternal life." We are still attuned to what the Gospel last Sunday is. The Gospel ended again by allowing those words necessary for one to hear, to accept and to obey, for these are the words that give life. Therefore, mercy comes from the immense love of God. And God's mercy was put into record. His mercy was put into writing, so that generation after generation, humanity can avail of this mercy. And this mercy is Jesus, who opened up heaven, allowing Himself to suffer, in order for us to be recognized as the Father's children, and to live among us, as brothers and sisters. 

This is the practical message of our Gospel for today. And throughout the Easter season, we are being reminded of this great act of mercy. With the desire of God not to lose any of His sons or daughters, He made it sure that He will always be available in time and space, such that those who have accepted Him and live according to Him will truly reach the goal of God for each one of us, and that is to live with Him forever, and that is communion. 

Therefore, the goal of mercy is not just for us to be citizens of heaven. The goal of mercy is, in fact, communion with God. That we are, indeed, in communion with God today, therefore, our lives will also be marked and will possess the quality of heaven. For if we are resolved to be citizens of heaven and to enjoy the fullness of communion with the Father, the future should be happening now, in time and space.

Just as what we have heard from our First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, they understood who they are or who they were in relation to Jesus, thus their hearts, their minds, were all in accordance with what is good. And nobody would create harm or pain or discomfort, for they understood being with God, and living with God, and that is through their relationship with Jesus. 

My dear brothers and sisters, allow mercy to be operative in the here and now, for us. As we go back to the very words of Jesus in the Gospel, and allow ourselves to be transformed by it, may we truly experience love coming from God, who cannot afford to lose any one of His sons or daughters. 

Let this gift of Easter, which is understood as mercy - mercy who became flesh - be with us, and the goal of mercy, is communion with the Father. And may we who will receive Jesus in communion moments from now, have that commitment and resolution to be citizens of heaven. Let us bring the future in the here and now, by allowing ourselves to be patterned after Jesus, the Beloved Son, the Faithful Son of the Father. 

May this great gift of Easter, which is mercy itself, continue to be operative in our consciousness, in our existence, that we who are one with the mind of God, as revealed to us by Jesus, may become agents of heaven, and transform this place, transform our home, our community, into experiences of heaven. There is where God reigns as King. 

May we remain docile to the leadings of the Spirit, for us to live perfectly and with utmost dedication to the desire of God. May we agree fully to His desire that we may never be lost, but fully live with Him, not only in the here and now, but for eternity. And that is communion - communion that will have no end. And our communion will truly be exciting. As we prepare for that eternal communion, it may become exciting for us, interesting for us. And through that, we are fully one in the desire of Jesus to be gathered as a community of saints, praising God eternally, singing His goodness eternally, and as being seen by the Father as His beloved children....holy children. Amen.