Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 23, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
7:00PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)


Reading 1 Sir 5:1-8

Rely not on your wealth; say not: “I have the power.” Rely not on your strength in following the desires of your heart. Say not: “Who can prevail against me?” or, “Who will subdue me for my deeds?” for God will surely exact the punishment. Say not: “I have sinned, yet what has befallen me?” for the Most High bides his time. Of forgiveness be not overconfident, adding sin upon sin. Say not: “Great is his mercy; my many sins he will forgive.” For mercy and anger alike are with him; upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD, put it not off from day to day. For suddenly his wrath flames forth; at the time of vengeance you will be destroyed. Rely not upon deceitful wealth, for it will be no help on the day of wrath.

Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (40:5a) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Gospel Mk 9:41-50

Jesus said to his disciples: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

“Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another.”


There is a saying by Confucius which goes like this: "For a government that is well managed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. But for a government that is ill-governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." 

When we were children, we had this attitude towards reward and punishment. If we do something good, we will be rewarded. If we do something bad, we will be punished. Now that we are adults, we have somehow taken that kind of attitude in our spiritual lives. And we say to ourselves, I am doing good, I am going to church, I am praying to God, I must be rewarded. And if I sin, I must be punished. 

With that kind of attitude, we see that our faith is immature. That our faith is based solely on reward and punishment, which is not the case. It is because even if we are suffering in this world, even if we are facing a lot of trials and difficulties, whatever they are, we know that God is there to help us. That God is love, that God continues to bless us, even in the midst of difficulties. 

In our First Reading, we continue to ponder on wisdom, and we are told that God's wisdom, we must not abuse. We must not misuse wealth, we must not abuse the mercy of God. A lot of times we consider our successes, our wealth, the things we have acquired, to be based solely on what we have done, because of our talents, our capabilities, our skills, and we say that we deserve them. But solely, these things are given to us because of one thing - the mercy of God. Kahit na gaano pa tayo kagaling, katalino, kalakas, makapangyarihan, kung hindi ito ipinagkaloob ng Diyos sa atin, hindi ito mapapasa-atin. 

But sometimes, in terms of the mercy of God, we tend to delay being good. Dahil sasabihin natin na malaki ang pang-unawa ng Diyos. Malawak ang pagpapatawad ng Diyos. Saka na ako magpapakabait. Saka na ako magpapakabuti. Wisdom is telling us not to delay these things. There will come a time, when we least expect it, that God will be there to present us, and we are face to face, and we have to justify our lives. 

My dear brothers and sisters, the aim of the Word of God is to change the heart of the listener - to change the person in us, from being very uncaring or not so much serious in our faith, to being the better person we ought to be. Amen.