Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 25, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Feast Saint James, Apostle
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota (Vice Rector of the EDSA Shrine)
12;15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)

Reading 1 2 Cor 4:7-15

Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

So death is at work in us, but life in you. Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence. Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1bc-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

R. (5) Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.
Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.
R. Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.

Gospel Mt 20:20-28

The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” Jesus said in reply, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” They said to him, “We can.” He replied, “My chalice you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


One alumni of the Hamilton College in New York was invited to address the assembly during its centennial celebration. And the alumni began his memorable speech with these words: "I send my greetings to all my fellow alumni of Hamilton College scattered all throughout the world. Some of you are successes, some of you are failures. And only God knows which is which."

Our Gospel for today teaches us the measure of success and failure in our life. I remember when I was having my Theology in UST. My professor then, Bishop Bacani told us of a certain priest. When that priest was approached by the nuncio and was asked if he would be ready to accept the position of a bishop, the priest bowed down, took out from his pocket a skull cap, and said, "I expect." (laughs) He did not accept; he expected to be a bishop.

Some of us are born with ambitions. A lot of us have our dreams and aspirations. But when we compare ourselves to others, some of us might consider ourselves as successes, while some of us may consider ourselves as failures. What is the measure of success?

In my philosophy class, prior to graduation, we were asked to submit a thesis. And my thesis then was about mass media as an alternative for evangelization. My professors grilled me at that time and they told me, "Do you know how much it would cost to put up a radio or television program? You will be spending so much." And I just answered, "If I could only save one soul even for that one program where I will spend so much, then I will consider myself a success."

Jesus is telling us honestly that the Gospel does not cover the embarrassing attitude that the apostles have. The Gospel tells us a lot of truth and it speaks so much about the reality of our being created by God. We were created to serve, to love and to know God. Being a servant is being a slave. We are slaves to the truth; we are slaves to the Word of God that we must proclaim, not by mere words, but, more importantly, through our lives. When we are able to discover and live up what God has meant for each one of us, then that is the only time we can say that we are successes. Amen.