Monday, June 3, 2013

Gospel Reflection

June 03, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions, Martyrs
by Rev. Fr. Leo Nilo C. Mangussad, Rector, Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA (EDSA Shrine)
5:30PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)


Reading 1 Tb 1:3; 2:1a-8

I, Tobit, have walked all the days of my life on the paths of truth and righteousness. I performed many charitable works for my kinsmen and my people who had been deported with me to Nineveh, in Assyria.

On our festival of Pentecost, the feast of Weeks,  a fine dinner was prepared for me, and I reclined to eat. The table was set for me, and when many different dishes were placed before me, I said to my son Tobiah: “My son, go out and try to find a poor man from among our kinsmen exiled here in Nineveh. If he is a sincere worshiper of God, bring him back with you, so that he can share this meal with me. Indeed, son, I shall wait for you to come back.”

Tobiah went out to look for some poor kinsman of ours. When he returned he exclaimed, “Father!” I said to him, “What is it, son?” He answered, “Father, one of our people has been murdered! His body lies in the market place where he was just strangled!” I sprang to my feet, leaving the dinner untouched; and I carried the dead man from the street and put him in one of the rooms, so that I might bury him after sunset. Returning to my own quarters, I washed myself and ate my food in sorrow. I was reminded of the oracle pronounced by the prophet Amos against Bethel:

“All your festivals shall be turned into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation.”

And I wept. Then at sunset I went out, dug a grave, and buried him.

The neighbors mocked me, saying to one another: “He is still not afraid! Once before he was hunted down for execution  because of this very thing; yet now that he has scarcely escaped, here he is again burying the dead!”

Responsorial Psalm PS 112:1b-2, 3b-4, 5-6

R. (1b) Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
His generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just man shall be in everlasting remembrance.
R. Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Mk 12:1-12

Jesus began to speak to the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a wine press, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and left on a journey. At the proper time he sent a servant to the tenants to obtain from them some of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another servant. And that one they beat over the head and treated shamefully. He sent yet another whom they killed. So, too, many others; some they beat, others they killed. He had one other to send, a beloved son. He sent him to them last of all, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come, put the tenants to death, and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this Scripture passage:

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?”

They were seeking to arrest him, but they feared the crowd, for they realized that he had addressed the parable to them. So they left him and went away.


Good afternoon my dear brothers and sisters. 

Once there was this class in Social Studies and they were discussing among themselves what they can do to effect some change in the society. So one suggested, "Why don't we help the street children so that we could feed them? Yes. Why don't be pull our resources and buy food for them? Yes, why don't we buy clothes for them? Yes, why don't we look for them and gather them?" And then someone said, "We are going to do all these things, but isn't it supposed to be the work of health workers to feed them, the work of the government, or the work of the policemen to put them together so that they will not be disturbing the peace and quiet of the society? Why are we going to do these things?" To which everyone also agreed, unfortunately. At the end of the discussion, no action was planned.

My dear brothers and sisters, how many times have we been in the same position? We want to help, but in the mercies of our heart, we are tempted not to, maybe because of the present situation, because of what we think should be done, and not what we can really do to help. True mercy is not simply writing a cheque and sending it to people who are in need. It becomes a very impersonal way of concern. True mercy is a very personal concern on people - what can we do and give up for them. 

That was the concern of Tobit in the First Reading. The Gospel also showed the true concern of the owner of the vineyard. He not only wanted a portion of the produce of what he has, but he even sent His son to help, to guide and to protect. But what did the tenants do? They got rid of him. 

My brothers and sisters, God sends us helpers in His vineyard. God sends us people with mercy in their hearts to help us. But how many of us truly embrace them and work with them to show our personal concern for others? Are we just like the tenants in our Gospel - waiting to kill those who are wanting to do what is good for our society? Or are we those who, out of our own personal desire, just help, because this is what Jesus has done for us and would like us to do for others?

The choice is ours. We can discuss continuously, endlessly, and accomplish nothing. Or we can work now, and do our own small part in making our lives here on earth better.