Sunday, May 26, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 26, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
The Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
by Rev. Fr. Rufino "Jun" C. Sescon, Jr. - Chaplain, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati
6:00PM Anticipated Sunday Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, (Greenbelt Chapel) Makati


Reading 1 Prv 8:22-31

Thus says the wisdom of God: "The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world.

"When the Lord established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day, playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the human race."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (2a) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place —
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet:
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!

Reading 2 Rom 5:1-5

Brothers and sisters: Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Gospel Jn 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you."


Once again, good evening po sa inyong lahat. (people greet Father Jun a good evening)

As a sign of our welcome and observance of our May flower offering to the Blessed Lady, we have with us the pilgrim image of the Our Lady of Guidance, Nuestra Senora de Guia. Let us give Our Lady a welcome applause. (warm applause) As was mentioned earlier, she - of course not this particular image, but the one in Ermita - is the oldest Marian image venerated in the country. It is believed that during the time of Magellan, she was already brought, and for some reason, she was given to Cebu, then brought to Manila, and when Legazpi came, to their surprise, they saw the natives paying homage to an image, and they found the image of Our Lady over a pandan shrub. Doon po siya natagpuan. And from then on, the Spanish colonizers transferred her to the church. It is believed that when she was being paid homage by the natives, they found her very powerful, but they did not immediately understand who she really was. It was only later on that she was referred to as Our Lady, when she was eventually rediscovered by the Spaniards. She is the patron, not only of seafarers, but also of travelers, the voyagers. At dahil malapit siya sa Ermita, sabi nga ng parish priest, siya na ngayon ang ex-officio patrona ng mga nag-a-apply ng US visa, kasi malapit siya sa US Embassy. Kaya bago ma-interview, ay dumadaan muna sila upang manalangin, magpasalamat o humingi ng tulong sa kanya, dahil tungkol din naman 'yon sa paglalakbay. Later on, I hope you could join us in our Marian procession in honor of Our Lady.

Before I begin our reflection, let me give you a little test. I call this the 'age test'. Doon daw natin malalaman kung sino sa inyo ang may edad na. (laughs) (The picture of a cassette tape is shown on the projector screen). So 'yan ho ang unang una. Alam n'yo ho ba 'yan? Ang mga bata ho siguro ay hindi nila alam kung ano ang ibig sabihin niyan, ano. Unang una, ano po 'yong nasa taas? Cassette tape. Mga bata, alam n'yo pa ba ang cassette tape? At 'yong sa baba naman po ay lapis. Ano'ng kinalaman ng cassette tape at lapis? (people explain it to father) Mukhang marami nang matatanda dito sa misang ito, ano. (laughs) Napaghahalata. So 'yong mga bata, nagtataka kung ano ang pinag-uusapan nila. Sa ganitong bahagi, ginagamit po ang lapis na pang-rewind pag hirap nang i-rewind ang ribbon ng cassette tape. (most youth laugh)

The next slide shows the picture of a floppy disk. Para saan po ang floppy disk? Ito ay pang-store ng data. Pero ngayon, ano na ang ginagamit na pang-store ng data? USB. 'Yan. Meron pa ba kayong floppy disk sa bahay? (laughs) 'Yong thesis ko, nakalagay pa sa malaking floppy disk. Ngayon ay pamaypay ko na lang 'yan. (laughs) Mga bata, tingnan n'yo na 'yang maigi dahil sa susunod ay sa museum n'yo na sila makikita, ano? (laughs) slide...(laughs and mixed comments/conversations) Ayan....gusto ko 'yan....Unahin natin 'yong pahaba. Ano ho 'yong pahaba? TV. Mga bata, alam n'yo ba, noong unang panahon, wala pang remote control. 'Yong bunso ang remote control. (laughs) Dahil siya ang inuutusang magpihit ng channel. At siguro, mai-imagine n'yo. Papaano ako makakapanood ng HBO? (laughs) At ng Solar Sports? Eh hanggang 13 lang ang channel. So 'yon po noong unang panahon. Naghahanap po ako ng TV na may pintuan sana, ano. (laughs) Naalala ko dati, may bintana pa 'yon, ano, para di maalikabukan.

At 'yong nasa gawing kaliwa po naman ay ang lumang telepono. Ganoon pala ang hitsura ng telepono, 'no? Mga bata, kung makikita ninyo 'yong ABC sa teleponong 'yan, 'yon 'yong counterpart ng cellphone n'yo. Kaya kung ang number mo ay zero (0), aabutan ka nang siyam-siyam, dahil hihintayin mong kumonekt muna siya. I remember I was conversing with some young people, we were talking about party line. Sabi nila, ano 'yong party line, Father? May party kayo sa telepono? Sabi ko, ang party line noong unang panahon, ay mortal enemy number one, dahil siya ang umuubos ng oras, kung gusto mong tumawag. Kaya pag kilala mo kung sino ang party line mo noong unang panahon, nilulusob, inaaway, para ibaba nila ang kanilang telepono.

I showed these to you, because these are the things that the kids - our future generation - will never know anymore. They are already considered museum pieces. Now, why am I mentioning this? These are items the future generation will never get to see. But you know, there are also words that the future generation will never get to hear or encounter anymore. This we find funny. But in a study of the words that our kids will never know later on, it would be alarming.

The other week, in New York Times, David Brooks had an article on what our words tell us. And he had a little research with the help of Google, in trying to determine what are the words which are less being used by the generations now. He gathered some statistics and had other researches for...48 years, from 1960 to 2008. And you know what he discovered over those 48 years? If some words and phrases are now being used more frequently, some words and phrases are now being used less frequently. And what are those words?

It was discovered that in this present generation, these words and phrases are being used more frequently: PERSONALIZED, SELF, STAND-OUT, SELF UNIQUE, I COME FIRST, I CAN DO IT MYSELF. On the other hand, words like COMMUNITY, SHARE, COLLECTIVE, TRIBE, UNITED, BAND TOGETHER, COMMON GOOD were less and less being used. And this is alarming, because eventually, there was the study which came to the conclusion that there is a rise of individualism by the words we use. Our society is becoming more and more individualistic.

Another study was found out by Mr. Brooks in his article. The study found out another set of words being used less frequently, and another set of words being used more frequently. And what are these words? DEPENDABILITY, DISCIPLINE, PREFERENCES, SUBJECTIVITY, PSYCHOLOGY, INFORMATION. Mas madalas na daw pong ginagamit 'yan. At ano naman po 'yong mas kaunti na lang? DECENCY, VIRTUE, CONSCIENCE, HONESTY, PATIENCE, COMPASSION, FORTITUDE, MODESTY, WISDOM, OUGHT, EVIL. And other words which describe values and virtues. Other words which refer to morality like BRAVERY, HUMILITY, GRATITUDE, KINDNESS. The words 'dependability', 'discipline', etc are about production and exchange. And that is why David Brooks came to a second conclusion by analyzing the words we say. Because the words we say reveal who we are. And the second story is the rise of demoralization. The rise of individualism and demoralization can be found in the words we use.

Perhaps we will say, "Gano'n ba 'yon? Masyado yatang OA naman Father. Simpleng mga salita lang, gano'n na kaagad ang conclusion." Panic mode kaagad tayo. But remember, the words we use reveal who we are. And I find it interesting because when I read the article, David Brooks said that individualism and demoralization come together. The more individual you are, the more demoralized you become. And I find that very, very crucial because of what we celebrate today. Today, as we all know, we celebrate the solemnity of the Blessed Trinity - Father, Son, and Spirit. And whenever we celebrate the Blessed Trinity, the Church gives us another language, the original language from which we are born. If the world today is telling us that our language speaks of individualism, the Blessed Trinity talks about communion. If our language today talks about demoralization, the Blessed Trinity talks about selfless love. The Church, every time we celebrate the Blessed Trinity, is offering us the antidote to what is destroying the world today.

Now, some people ask, "Bakit ba tayo magbe-Blessed Trinity? Nakakain ba 'yan? Bakit ang simbahan mahilig sa mga doctrine, Blessed Trinity, nakakasagot ba 'yan sa kahirapan? May kinalaman ba 'yan sa karahasan, sa kawalan ng katarungan? Now, we realize, the answer is 'yes'. Because whenever we affirm our belief in the Blessed Trinity, we also affirm who we are. That we are all born in the image and likeness of God, the Blessed Trinity. Therefore, we are born for selfless love. We are born for communion. We are born for teamwork.

Napakaganda po ng sinasabi sa atin. Kaya nga sa bawat galaw natin, we say 'In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.' Hindi 'yan magic. Ang pag-antanda ng krus at pagsambit ng pangalan ng Santisima Trinidad, ay hindi po nakagawian lang natin. Kaya po natin 'yan sinasambit...para ipa-alala sa 'tin na tayong mga tao...dapat matulad sa Diyos. Ang Diyos, oo, iisa, pero hindi siya nag-iisa. Ang Diyos ay isa, AT nagkakaisa. And here we see in the readings, the beautiful dynamics between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are all powerful, but never did we hear the word 'power' whenever we talk of the Blessed Trinity. We only hear of the word 'love'. The exchange of love. Hindi nagpapaligsahan ang Ama, Anak at Espiritu Santo. Hindi pinag-uusapan kung sino ang mas magaling, kung sino ang dapat makapangyarihan, kung sino ang dapat na mas mataas. Unfortunately, in our world today, our language is competition. Who should be in control. Who should be in power. But the Blessed Trinity is telling us, that is not originally ours. Our real language is selfless love. Learning to yield, learning to sacrifice, learning to search for a common good. Dahil 'yan po ang ipinapakita sa atin ng Diyos.  

That is our language, brothers and sisters. Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. Yes, so many things change. The gadgets of today will be museum pieces of tomorrow. The language of today may sound archaic in the future. But the Blessed Trinity, the divine language in which we are made in God's image and likeness, will always be there. And that is why we pray that we may never forget the language of the Blessed Trinity.

Sana po, pag tayo ay nag-aantanda ng Krus, lagi nating na-aalala ang wika ng Diyos. Ang wika ng Banal na Santatlo. Dahil sa mundo ngayon, sari-saring wika ang nais palitan ang wika ng Diyos.

You know, when I meet some Filipinos abroad, sometimes I just smile inside. Nakatagpo na ba kayo ng Pilipino na....pag-uwi dito galing abroad...minsan dito sa Greenbelt, may lalapit sa akin after mass, "Father, eng geleng geleng mow"....(Father, ang galing galing mo.) Pero minsan pag tinanong mo naman kung gaano na siya katagal sa Amerika, isang buwan pa lang naman pala, kararating lang, kababalik lang. (laughs) Minsan po meron tayong ibang kababayan, akala mo kung kalimutan na ang wika, dahil may narinig nang ibang wika. I like aydowbow (adobo) and haylow-haylow (halo-halo). Napunta lang sa Australia, "Good die." (Good day.) (laughs) Pero pag nagulat naman sasabihin, "Naku pu!" (laughs) Barriotic din pala ano ho. (laughs) 'Yong mga ganoon ho ano, pa-impress. Kasi gusto lang nilang sabihin na bago na ang wika nila. Gano'n din minsan ang tao, dahil mayroon din tayong bagong wika - individualism, materialism, consumerism, relativism. Nakakalimutan na natin ang original nating wika.

I remember one time, I met a Filipino community in Spain. Kinukuwento sa akin ng kaibigan ko, "Father 'yan, kararating lang dito, kung mag-Kastila, akala mo kung sino 'yan.... Kami ditong matatagal na." So that's why they play a joke on this lady, because this lady wants to pretend that she is very proficient in Spanish. They told me this joke. They were having an assembly, lumapit daw 'yong ale, then sabi ng isa, "Use 'fuera' in a sentence." Sumagot naman 'yong isa para gumanti. "Mis amigas son hermosas." My friends are beautiful." Sabi no'ng ale, "Nasaan ang fuera do'n?"...."Fuera ka." (laughs) Brothers and sisters, in this mass (laughs)....baka ma-puwera kayo, ingat kayo....

We pray...Lord, remind us always of the Blessed Trinity. Remind us always that we were not born for competition, but for selfless love. We were not born for ourselves alone, but we were born for communion. We were not born simply for success; we were born for love. Dear Lord, whenever we trace ourselves with the Sign of the Cross, whenever we invoke the name of the Blessed Trinity, remind us of our mission, of our vocation, that we were made in Your image and likeness. In this mass, Lord, there are many things that change in our lives. But we pray that one thing may never change - our remembrance that we were created in Your image and likeness. Amen.