Sunday, August 11, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 11, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Leo Nilo C. Mangussad, Rector, Shrine of Mary Queen of Peace, Our Lady of EDSA (EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass at EDSA Shrine

Reading 1 Wis 18:6-9

The night of the passover was known beforehand to our fathers, that, with sure knowledge of the oaths in which they put their faith, they might have courage. Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us whom you had summoned. For in secret the holy children of the good were offering sacrifice and putting into effect with one accord the divine institution.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22

R. (12b) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Exult, you just, in the LORD;
praise from the upright is fitting.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O LORD, be upon us
who have put our hope in you.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Reading 2 Heb 11:1-2, 8-19

Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.  Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.  By faith he sojourned in the Promised Land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise; for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.  By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age —and Sarah herself was sterile— for he thought that the one who had made the promise was  trustworthy. So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.

All these died in faith.  They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth, for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.  If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.”  He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

Gospel Lk 12:32-48

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms.  Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.  And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.  Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said, “Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”  And the Lord replied, “Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward whom the master will put in charge of his servants to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.  Truly, I say to you, the master will put the servant in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish the servant severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.  That servant who knew his master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.  Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”


There is a TV show, the story of which is that there is a CEO or a boss of the company who would disguise himself and go down to the level of the workers, to find out what is happening in his company. He gets to have first-hand experience with his lower-rank staff. So his staff would make him check the jobs and trainings. Throughout his disguise, the CEO found out what was wrong and how the company is being run. In the end, of course, those who showed a good example and tried so hard to work will be rewarded.

If Jesus disguises Himself and suddenly checks on us, what will He find us doing in our lives?

I remember, in one of my former assignments, I was so sad with the state of the place where the staff were residing. I thought of having the place changed, because it was so dirty, smelly and dark, and there were already water droplets coming from the roof whenever it rains. So I had the place fixed. My staff was so happy and they told me, "Father, pwede na kaming matulog sa sahig, ang ganda-ganda na, ang linis-linis". After one year, when I knocked on the door again and checked on the room - lo and behold - the place was again dirty, smelly and dark. There were cobwebs, and one could hardly see the floor because of the dust. So, I scolded the staff. I had the place changed and repaired, and what did they do to it?

My brothers and sisters, how many of us can probably say to the Lord, "Lord, You have given me a chance to rectify my life, and I have done well as Your servant". In the Gospel, we are being reminded to gird up our loins and be prepared. We will never know when the Master of the house will be coming. We have been given a lot of chances by our Lord to make our lives good here on earth. But how many of us would truly make our lives good, and be worthy of being called a servant of the Lord? How many of us would only receive, and whenever the Master is away, would do what we want? It is very difficult to serve the Master when there is no love in our hearts. It will be very hard for us to try to do our job or to convince ourself to love our work if we are just trying to impress, or only because the job pays well.  

But that is not the essence of our faith, my brothers and sisters. We do not pray, we do not come to mass, we do not read the Bible because we want to impress the Lord. No. We come to mass, we read the Bible, we pray, and we do well and good, because we love the Lord. And this is the expression of our wonderful faith. If there is love, serving the Lord becomes a pleasurable experience.

Whatever job we do here on earth is a reflection of our faith in heaven. When we do our job, is it because we love to do our job, and we don't intend to impress somebody? Or are we just doing our job, in spite of the anger that we have, because it pays well, and we like the people around us to think that we are good workers?

My brothers and sisters, let us ask ourselves. Are our hearts faithful to the Lord, and is there love in serving Him, or are we just trying to deceive ourselves and the people around us because we are only doing this to impress them, without a heart that says, 'I love you, Lord'?