Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 22, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
12:15PM Mass at Megamall, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord


Reading 1 Sir 4:11-19

Wisdom breathes life into her children and admonishes those who seek her. He who loves her loves life;  those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord. He who holds her fast inherits glory; wherever he dwells, the LORD bestows blessings. Those who serve her serve the Holy One; those who love her the LORD loves. He who obeys her judges nations; he who hearkens to her dwells in her inmost chambers. If one trusts her, he will possess her; his descendants too will inherit her. She walks with him as a stranger and at first she puts him to the test; Fear and dread she brings upon him and tries him with her discipline until she try him by her laws and trust his soul. Then she comes back to bring him happiness and reveal her secrets to them and she will heap upon him  treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice. But if he fails her, she will abandon him and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.

R. (165a) O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
Those who love your law have great peace,
and for them there is no stumbling block.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
I keep your precepts and your decrees,
for all my ways are before you.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
My lips pour forth your praise,
because you teach me your statutes.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
May my tongue sing of your promise,
for all your commands are just.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
I long for your salvation, O LORD,
and your law is my delight.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.
Let my soul live to praise you,
and may your ordinances help me.
R. O Lord, great peace have they who love your law.

Gospel Mk 9:38-40

John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.” Jesus replied, “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us.”


Alam natin na isa sa pinakamalakas na katangian nating mga Pilipino bilang isang kultura ay ang pagmamahal natin sa ating pamilya. We value our family very much. It is not uncommon to find in a Filipino home, sometimes three generations of families living together. Nandoon 'yong lola, mga anak, at 'yong mga apo, magkakasama pang nakatira 'yan, ano. That is a common thing that we find in many Filipino homes. Kasi nga sabi natin, we value and we put a very strong emphasis on family ties. Marami po akong kakilala na every Sunday, even though their children are already grown up, even if they already live in faraway provinces, every Sunday, the children would go home and gather together, and they will make sure that they will be taking their meals - at least the lunch - with their parents. Gano'n 'yong pagpapahalaga natin sa ating mga pamilya.
But some say that this strength of our culture can also sometimes be our weakness. May tendency din tayong maging clannish and regionalistic. May tendency tayong maging mapagmahal, doon lang sa mga taong tinuturing nating kasama natin or part of our inner circle. And today in our Gospel, we find that this is not a uniquely Filipino characteristic. Pati pala 'yong mga disipulo noon, very clannish din, very regionalistic.
What did we find in the Gospel today? John said, "Lord, we saw someone driving out a demon using your name, and we tried to prevent him." Bakit nila pinigilan? Kasi ang sabi nila eh Lord, hindi naman siya kasama ng grupo natin, eh. Hindi naman siya part ng original 12 na tinawag Ninyo, pero nakita namin na nagpapalayas siya ng masamang Espiritu, ginagamit ang Inyong pangalan. And what did Jesus say? Do not stop him. Kung maganda 'yong ginagawa niya, ok lang 'yan. And Jesus said, "Whoever is not against us, is for us." So para bang sinasabi ni Hesus na, hindi naman ibig sabihin na because he does not belong to our inner circle, ay kalaban na natin siya. Even people who do not belong to our inner circle can be our friend and ally. Kaya lang ang mga disipulo nagiging very clannish sila, very regionalistic. Ah...dapat tayo lang, Lord. Dapat walang makakalabas dito. Gusto na nilang bakuran ang Panginoon. They have become very narrow in their frame of reference.
You know, that can happen in our many decisions in our every day life. We can become very clannish and very regionalistic, and be very judgmental, simply because of inclusions, simply because of categories. Tingnan ninyo 'yong mga sports events. May kanya-kanya tayong mga team. But do you notice how we take too seriously this loyalty to our teams? Recently, merong game ang Miami Heat at Chicago Bulls. Chicago Bulls won the first game of their series against Miami Heat. And then no'ng papalabas na 'yong player ng Chicago Bulls, merong isang player na Miami Heat fan, na talagang binigyan ng 'dirty finger' 'yong isang player na papalabas. Bakit niya ginawa 'yon? Wala namang kasalanan sa kanya 'yong player. He only played very well. Pero ano'ng nangyayari? Kasi dahil team ko ito, I hate everyone going against my team.
Our basis for what is good, is no longer what is true, good and beautiful. It has become - do you belong in my circle? Do you belong in my own team? Pero sa ating Ebanghelyo ngayon, ano 'yong maliwanag na sinasabi ng Panginoon? No. Our goodness, our loyalty, our love must go beyond our immediate group and categories.
Several days ago, I was reading a news article of a nurse who was called into an emergency duty. When she arrived in the hospital, nakita niya na 'yong pinapa-alagaan pala sa kanya ay 'yong suspect sa Boston bombing. Do you remember that Boston marathon bombing? She was assigned to take care of the suspect. And when I was reading that article, sabi niya, 'nag-aaway ang puso ko'. She said, "Deep in my heart, I wanted him to die, but it is my duty as a nurse to take care of him. I wanted the death penalty for him, because he does not belong in our group." Ibig niyang sabihin, he belongs to the bad guys, we belong to the good guys. Pero ang sabi niya, "My duty calls me to go beyond my category of bad guy and good guy. So even though I wanted the death penalty for him, I made sure that I take care of him to the best of my ability." This is an example of someone who can love beyond the immediate circle of loyalty, group and community.
Siguro, magandang pagnilayan natin. Gano'n din ba ako in my every day decisions? Can I go beyond my immediate group, my immediate loyalty, my immediate categories? Can I recognize something good beyond my own group? Halimbawa, pag nakita mong may kaaway ang anak mo, automatically ba kumakampi ka sa iyong anak, o aalamin mo muna kung sino ba talaga ang tama? At kung mali naman ang anak ko, ibig sabihin, I will not side with my own son.
Today, Jesus is telling us, that our emphasis or point of reference is not blood relations, blood ties and communities. Our emphasis and point of reference should always be what is true, good and beautiful. And what is true, good, and beautiful, go beyond the levels of my blood relations, my community, and my affiliation. In this mass, we pray for that grace that the Lord may widen our understanding and our capacity to love - loving even those we consider outside of our circle. Amen.