Friday, July 19, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 19, 2013
Friday – 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 Ex 11:10—12:14

Although Moses and Aaron performed various wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, the LORD made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the children of Israel leave his land.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. The lamb must be a year-old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole, with its head and shanks and inner organs. None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.

“This is how you are to eat it:  with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover of the LORD. For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD! But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you.

“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution.”

R. (13) I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
How shall I make a return to the LORD
for all the good he has done for me?
The cup of salvation I will take up,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
is the death of his faithful ones.
I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
you have loosed my bonds.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
in the presence of all his people.
R. I will take the cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.

Gospel Mt 12:1-8

Jesus was going through a field of grain on the sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “See, your disciples are doing what is unlawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to the them, “Have you not read what David did when he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the bread of offering, which neither he nor his companions but only the priests could lawfully eat? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests serving in the temple violate the Sabbath and are innocent? I say to you, something greater than the temple is here. If you knew what this meant, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned these innocent men. For the Son of Man is Lord of the sabbath.”


When I was still a seminarian, we were exposed to different kinds of ministries, and one of those is to be assigned in a hospital. I was assigned in one of the best hospitals in Makati - an expensive one. I was assigned in the charity ward. And during our three-month assignment, we were asked to help in the chaplain's office, and to talk to people who were in need of counseling, or who needed someone to talk to. At alam natin na sa charity ward, mahirap ang mga tao.

Ang nakasama ko pong brother, who is now a priest, wanted to help a stroke victim. He noticed that for two weeks, no one has visited the stroke patient, and that the beard of the patient has grown long. Ang sabi ko sa kanya, magpaalam muna tayo bago niya balbasan ang pasyente. It is because in one of our orientations, the head nurse told us that we cannot give special treatment to any patient. So kung gusto mong kausapin ang isang pasyente, dapat ay kausapin mo ang lahat ng pasyente.

During one of our reflections or sharing, we shared this situation to one of the sisters in charge of us. My co-brother said, "Sister, gusto ko po sana balbasan ang isang pasyente, kaya lang naalala namin noong orientation na bawal pong magbigay ng special or exclusive treatment sa kahit kaninong patient." Tumingin sa akin si sister, at sinabi niya, "What is the most loving thing to do?" Noong sinabi 'yon ni sister, bumaba kaagad 'yong kasama kong brother at binalbasan ang pasyente. Wala ring nagawa ang head nurse, at wala ring sumita sa kanya.

This is the reason or the invitation of Jesus to us today. Jesus desires mercy, not sacrifice. If we have the opportunity to practice our Christian faith, to help someone anywhere, then let us immediately do it. If, through our action, someone will deepen his faith in Jesus Christ, will regain his hope in Christ, and will see Jesus Christ in you, then let us do it.

This is the challenge for us. That is why Jesus says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." It means that the degree or measure of our behavior in the eyes of God is not the observance of law, but the degree of compassion and love that we have for our brothers and sisters. Laws are made for people, but people are not made for the law. If that law hinders you to practice your Christian faith, then you have to think twice.

In practicing our Christian faith, sometimes we have to turn a blind eye to the law. Jesus has preached the Kingdom of God. He has helped the poor, He has cured the sick. We are called by Jesus to follow Him. What is more loving than to see someone showing genuine concern and a loving act to another? Every action that entails love and compassion transcends all the laws.

My dear brothers and sisters, this is the invitation for us today. Let us practice love and compassion, always and everywhere. Amen.