Monday, August 26, 2013

Gospel Reflection

August 26, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Benjamin “Benjo” Fajota - Vice Rector, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass at EDSA Shrine

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace.

We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father, knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen. For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake.  In every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. For they themselves openly declare about us what sort of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath.

Responsorial Psalm PS 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia!
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Mt 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the Kingdom of heaven before men. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You traverse sea and land to make one convert, and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna twice as much as yourselves.

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If one swears by the temple, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gold of the temple, one is obligated.’ Blind fools, which is greater, the gold, or the temple that made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If one swears by the altar, it means nothing, but if one swears by the gift on the altar, one is obligated.’ You blind ones, which is greater, the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it.”


In a public zoo, a gorilla got sick and the owners were worried that they will not be able to attract as much people, since it would be weekend. So they hired an actor to wear the costume of a gorilla and to play the part. And when the actor in a gorilla suit was doing the trapeze, the rope broke and he fell on the den of lions. A lion approached him and he shouted, 'Help! Help!' And the lion told him, 'Shut up. You're going to get us both fired.' So they were just wearing costumes, they were just wearing masks.

A lot of us wear masks every day. Sometimes, we could not identify our real selves because of this mask we put on. My dear brothers and sisters, before God, we cannot deny our true selves. We might cover ourselves with all worldly allureness, but our real selves will be only proven by what our heart desires or dictates.

We are asked to put on our true selves before God, because the reality of our identity is that we are all children of God. But do we wear that reality? Do we swear by it? Or are we like some people, or like our lawmakers or leaders of the government who we call honorable, who wear those vestiges or those honorable costumes, but are corrupt and full of filth within? We do not judge the person; we do not condemn because we are Christians. We only condemn and hate the sin.

My dear brothers and sisters, we are challenged to be authentic Christians. Our relationship with God must not be superficial, in the sense that we follow the law but not the spirit of the law. Jesus Christ is teaching us the most important thing - that we obey His law because of our love for Him. What is most important is the spirit of the law of God. And the spirit of the law of God is none other than love. Amen.