Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 04, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Lloyd Tiu, Lorenzo Ruiz Mission Society (LMI-Makati)
12:15pm Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)


Reading 1 Gn 22:1b-19

God put Abraham to the test. He called to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said: “Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. There you shall offer him up as a burnt offering on a height that I will point out to you.” Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey, took with him his son Isaac, and two of his servants as well, and with the wood that he had cut for the burnt offering, set out for the place of which God had told him.

On the third day Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: “Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go on over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.”  Thereupon Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac’s shoulders, while he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two walked on together, Isaac spoke to his father Abraham: “Father!” he said. “Yes, son,” he replied. Isaac continued, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “Son,” Abraham answered,  “God himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” Then the two continued going forward.

When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. Next he tied up his son Isaac, and put him on top of the wood on the altar. Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. “Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger. “Do not do the least thing to him. I know now how devoted you are to God, since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.” As Abraham looked about, he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket. So he went and took the ram
and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the site Yahweh-yireh; hence people now say, “On the mountain the LORD will see.” Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: “I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you acted as you did in not withholding from me your beloved son, I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; your descendants shall take possession
of the gates of their enemies, and in your descendants all the nations of the earth shall find blessing—all this because you obeyed my command.”

Abraham then returned to his servants, and they set out together for Beer-sheba, where Abraham made his home.

Responsorial Psalm PS 115:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (9) I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name give glory
because of your kindness, because of your truth.
Why should the pagans say,
“Where is their God?”
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Our God is in heaven;
whatever he wills, he does.
Their idols are silver and gold,
the handiwork of men.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
They have mouths but speak not;
they have eyes but see not;
They have ears but hear not;
they have noses but smell not.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.
Their makers shall be like them,
everyone who trusts in them.
The house of Israel trusts in the LORD;
he is their help and their shield.
R. I will walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Mt 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” At that, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, :Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” He rose and went home. When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to men.


In our Gospel for today, the paralytic had four friends who brought him to Jesus, so that Jesus can heal him.

Who among you here have prayer warrior friends? 'Yong isang text n'yo lang na ipagdasal kayo, for sure ay hindi kayo bibiguin? For sure, each and every one of us has this kind of friend, or friends - mas marami, mas maganda. These are our friends who comfort us, friends who are there no matter what happens. At ito po ay nakakagaan ng loob. These true friends will stay with us, through thick and thin. Even without us requesting, they will storm heaven with their prayers for us.

My brothers and sisters, we are also invited, through today's Gospel, to always be a friend to others, reaching out to others, taking that extra mile, even to the point of bringing someone to church, or inviting him or her to receive the sacraments.

In our Gospel, for sure the paralytic cannot go to Jesus. But Jesus saw the faith of the paralytic's friends, and so Jesus healed him. If you have read the parallel Gospel of St. Luke, the story is more dramatic. Jesus was preaching in the house, and what did the paralytic's friends do? Sinira nila ang bubong ng bahay at ibinaba ang kanilang kaibigan. St. Luke is more dramatic, while St. Matthew is straightforward. The point is we can always intercede for our friends. That is why we, even until now, pray for our loving dead. Whether they are in purgatory or in heaven, we continue to pray for them.

Jesus listens to our prayers. That is why never lose hope, never give up on something. And we also have our friends who will storm heaven with their prayers. This is the kind of Christian faith that Jesus also wants us to practice - to go an extra mile and reach out to others and to assure those who are experiencing struggles in life. Oftentimes, the most important thing is the presence of each other, more than the solution to the problem. Even if we still cannot find the solution to the problem, knowing that our friend is beside us, with a shoulder to lean on and ears to hear us, ang sarap, ang gaan ng feeling. Because as Christians, what's important is our relationship with one another, and our relationship with God.

If you know someone who is sick right now, maybe you can visit him or her, or just give him a call, if he is far away or in the province. Let them know that you care for them and are praying for them. Show your concern even on text. Kahit piso lang po 'yan, pag nakarating 'yan sa inyong kaibigan na maysakit, knowing that a friend is praying for him or her, for sure ang ngiti ng kaibigan ninyo, mas sobra pa sa maraming pera.

My brothers and sisters, this is the invitation of Jesus for us. Go an extra mile, show your concern, and let your friend feel that you are there for him or her. Amen.