Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 24, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean of Studies, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
12;15PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)


Reading 1 Ex 16:1-5, 9-15

The children of Israel set out from Elim,  and came into the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departure from the land of Egypt. Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The children of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. On the sixth day, however, when they prepare what they bring in, let it be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole congregation of the children of Israel: Present yourselves before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.” When Aaron announced this to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, they turned toward the desert, and lo, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud! The LORD spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. On seeing it, the children of Israel asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread which the LORD has given you to eat.”

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
They tempted God in their hearts
by demanding the food they craved.
Yes, they spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the desert?”
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Yet he commanded the skies above
and the doors of heaven he opened;
He rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
He stirred up the east wind in the heavens,
and by his power brought on the south wind.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
And he rained meat upon them like dust,
and, like the sand of the sea, winged fowl,
Which fell in the midst of their camp
round about their tents.
R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Gospel Mt 13:1-9

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


In one of my reflections, I mentioned that one time, I was listening to the radio and I heard the DJ reading some of the text messages that he has received. Then the DJ said, "We would like to thank all our 'watcheners' for today." What did I hear? And the DJ said, "We would like to thank everybody for 'watchening' our show." So I told myself, "What does the DJ mean by 'watchening'? It was a combination of 'watching and listening'. And I discovered that that particular radio show is also being seen live in the Internet. Nowadays, there are some radio shows, which we do not only hear, but also watch live through the Internet. And because of that, there is now a new word that they use - 'watchener' or 'watchening'. That means you are not only listening, you are also watching. You are also observing.

And I think that is a very good image. Because when you are 'watchening' - if I may use that word - that means you are giving your full attention. You are giving your full attentiveness. That means you are truly present to the person who is in front of you. And that disposition of 'watchening' is important - whether we are talking about our relationship with God, or our relationship with one another. Presence is important.

Now, one principle that we have to keep in mind is this. Presence is not the same as visibility. Like right now - all of you are visible to me, and I am visible to you. But it does not necessarily mean that you are present to me, or I am present to you. Dahil pwedeng mangyari na habang nagsasalita ako dito, baka ang iniisip ninyo eh, 'ano kaya ang kakainin ko mamaya for lunch'. (laughs) O baka naman ang iniisip ninyo eh sana matapos agad 'yong misa kasi nakabili na ako ng ticket sa sine, at kailangan maabutan ko 'yong sineng 'yon. So you are visible to me, but you are not really present to me. Presence is not the same as visibility.

I am currently counseling a wife right now. And her complaint is, "Father, you know, when my husband comes home, parang di niya ako nakikita. Lagi niyang hinihingi, 'O, yong kape ko. O, 'yong diyaryo. O, 'yong tsinelas ko.' Ang tingin ko, ang tingin niya yata sa akin ay katulong. Hindi asawa." She is visible, but the husband is not present to her as a husband. Pwedeng mangyari 'yon.

And then I remember the story of a couple. Bulag sila from birth, pero nag-asawa sila, and now they are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a couple. They were at mass. And then the priest asked them, while they were renewing their marriage vows, "Ah...kailan ba kayo unang nagkita?" (laughs) And then sabi noong bulag, "Father, matagal na po kaming mag-asawa, pero hindi pa po kami nagkikita." (laughs) See? It's very much possible that you do not see each other, but you are very much present to one another. Kaya nga 20 years na silang nagsasama. They do not physically see one another, but they are present to one another. Presence is not the same as visibility.

So the question is - what is the quality of your presence to one another? Are you present to your husband? Are you present to your wife? Are you present for your children? When we are reading the Word of God, are you present to the Word of God? Are you here with an attitude of an open disposition, ready to receive the challenge of the Word of God?

Kaya nga in our Gospel, Jesus said that there are different kinds of soil that can receive the Word of God. It refers to our disposition. Tayo ba ay naririto? Tayo ba ay handang humarap at tanggapin ang Salita ng Diyos? Or are we just listening but not watching? Or we are just watching, but not listening? Dapat dalawa. We should become 'watcheners' of the Word of God. We should be giving it our careful and full attention.

As we go on our Holy mass, our celebration, let that be the grace that we will ask from the Lord. Let us intensify the quality of our presence with God and with one another. And as we listen to one another, let us also intensify the quality of our watching and listening. Let us not only watch without listening. Let us not only listen without watching. Let us be both, and let us be attentive to the Word of God. Amen.