Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 12, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Easter Season
Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord (Mother’s Day)
by Rev. Fr. Caloy Reyes (Executive Secretary, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Interreligious Dialogue)
12:15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)


Reading 1 Acts 1:1-11

In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9 

R. (6) God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
All you peoples, clap your hands,
shout to God with cries of gladness,
For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome,
is the great king over all the earth.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy;
the LORD, amid trumpet blasts.
Sing praise to God, sing praise;
sing praise to our king, sing praise.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
For king of all the earth is God;
sing hymns of praise.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits upon his holy throne.
R. God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 Eph 1:17-23

Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe,
in accord with the exercise of his great might: which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf.  Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages to take away sin by his sacrifice.  Just as it is appointed that men and women die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have "a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.

Gospel Lk 24:46-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.  And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.


Today, we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. The good thing is Jesus ascended 40 days after He has risen from the dead. However, we move the celebration to Sunday so that a greater part of the faithful may profit from the celebration of this feast day. 

As Jesus ascended into heaven, taking on His past instructions to His disciples - we are His disciples - He said that we are witnesses of Jesus' suffering, of His death and His being buried, and His Resurrection. And this witnessing of Jesus Christ continues to this day through the ministry of the Church. So we are witnesses, and we proclaim the paschal mystery of our Lord. We proclaim His Ascension to the ends of the world, and until the end of time, we are witnesses. Another word for witness is martyrs. So we are all martyrs for our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, and thus completed the work of salvation. We know that our Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven, from on high, and then He descended to us and became a human being, and He descended even lower, because after He died, he was buried....and He was risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven. Now, this will complete the cycle. It is like a parabola. The graph of salvation is like a graph of a parabola. 

But we are witnesses. And we must always be witnesses. Jesus said that He is sending us the Holy Spirit. We have been baptized and confirmed with the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that changes us. The Disciples were really changed after the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. 

We Catholics believe in what we call created grace...First, we have uncreated grace - ito po 'yong grasya na binibigay na po ng Diyos, na galing sa Diyos. It is divine grace. And that uncreated grace brings about created grace. Iba naman 'yon. Binabago 'yong tao talaga. Ano po 'yong state ng tao bago mag-original sin? It is original innocence. Pero noong nagkasala ang tao, nagkaroon na ng original sin. With created grace, babalik tayo sa original innocence. At naniniwala tayo na babaguhin talaga tayo. Gagawin tayong tunay na anak ng Diyos. 

At kailangan lang na makipag-cooperate tayo sa Espiritu Santo. And our greatest grace will be the Holy Spirit. At araw-araw dahil bininyagan tayo, umuulan ng Espiritu Santo...araw-araw. Kapag umuulan, alam ng ulan kung ano ang dapat niyang gawin - magdidilig ng tuyong halaman, magtatanggal ng init, magtatanggal ng uhaw, alam niya ang dapat niyang gawin, kaya ang ulan ay grasya. 

Now tayo, tayo 'yong timba, tayo ang sasalok ng grasya. Ano ang dapat nating gawin? Yong grasya ng Diyos, dapit nating kunin. Pero kung 'yong timba nakataob, meron bang masasakop? Kung talagang pasaway ka, ayaw mo, hindi ka naman mapipilit ng Diyos, eh. Sasabihin Niya sa iyo, kung ayaw mo, ayaw mo nga. Kaya kung nakataob ka, uulan ng grasya, pero wala kang makukuha. Pero kung papayag ka, itatayo ka nang maayos, para makasalok ka ng grasya. Syempre, kung butas-butas 'yong timba, marami kang sugat, ano'ng gagawin mo sa butas? Patatapalan mo ng grasya, ano. Kung papayag ka. Pero kung ayaw mong patapal, ano'ng magagawa natin? May mga taong gano'n, talagang kahit ano'ng sabihin mo, ayaw.

Therefore, we should cooperate. Next week will already be Pentecost Sunday, darating na ang Holy Spirit. Every sin will be forgiven except blasphemy to the Holy Spirit, and that is if you do not believe. Pag sinabi mong ayoko ng grasya, 'yon ang blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Hindi mapapatawad 'yon. Bakit? Hindi dahil ayaw magpatawad ng Diyos kundi dahil hindi kayang patawarin. 

Then Jesus led the Disciples as far as Bethany, and blessed them. And while He was blessing them, Jesus ascended into heaven. So hindi pa tapos ang blessing ay umakyat na si Jesus sa langit. Ano'ng ibig sabihin no'n? In the Gospel, the Disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Bakit masaya sila? Masaya sila kasi hindi naman talaga sila iiwanan ni Hesus. Kaya dapat, hindi din tayo malulungkot kasi hindi tayo iniwanan ni Hesus. Sabi niya, araw-araw ay bine-bless tayo. Hanggang ngayon, bine-bless pa rin tayo. Paano tayo bine-bless eh nasa langit na Siya? Nasa langit na Siya, kasama ang Kanyang Ama, at sinasabi Niyang doon tayo pupunta. 

Iniwanan ba talaga tayo ni Hesus? Iniwanan ba tayo? Nasaan si Hesus ngayon? Nasa simbahan. At sino ang simbahan? Ikaw. So nasaan si Hesus sa simbahan na ito, nasaan Siya? Nandoon Siya sa tabernacle. Mamaya, ipapakain ko sa inyo - sino? Si Hesus. So nasaan na si Hesus? Pag kinain mo, nasaan Siya? Saan Siya pupunta? Sa tiyan mo. (laughs) Tapos pupunta na Siya sa dugo at laman mo. So paanong sasabihin mong iniwan ka Niya, eh magkasama na nga kayo? Paano pa kayo mapapaghiwalay? Eh kung may cancer ka, may cancer din si Jesus, di ba? Hindi tayo iiwanan ni Hesus. Kaya masayang masaya ang mga Apostol. 

In the First Reading, sabi nga may mga nagtatanong. Ano'ng mangyayari, will Jesus restore the kingdom now? They want to know something about the future. Lahat tayo, gusto natin ganoon ano. Ano kaya ang mangyayari bukas? Kaya nga ang sinasabi ni Jesus Christ, huwag kayong pupunta sa mga manghuhula. Hindi importante 'yon. Ang importante, gawin mo ang dapat mong gawin. He is not going to ask about what is going to happen. No. Do what you are supposed to do. 

Si Hesus ay bababa din, pero ngayong umakyat na Siya sa langit, dapat nating gawin ang trabaho natin dito sa lupa. We should not be concerned about things of this world, and we must, as much as possible, bring the Gospel to the world. Mahirap 'yon, mahirap gawin, but we have to be perfected. 

Jesus Christ has risen, He has not left us. He has given us a mission here to promote the Kingdom of God.