Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 25, 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 (SM Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Ezr 9:5-9

At the time of the evening sacrifice, I, Ezra, rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.

I said: “My God, I am too ashamed and confounded to raise my face to you, O my God, for our wicked deeds are heaped up above our heads and our guilt reaches up to heaven. From the time of our fathers even to this day great has been our guilt, and for our wicked deeds we have been delivered up, we and our kings and our priests, to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage, and to disgrace, as is the case today.

“And now, but a short time ago, mercy came to us from the LORD, our God, who left us a remnant and gave us a stake in his holy place; thus our God has brightened our eyes and given us relief in our servitude. For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather, he has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us. Thus he has given us new life to raise again the house of our God and restore its ruins, and has granted us a fence in Judah and Jerusalem.”

Responsorial Psalm Tb 13:2, 3-4a, 4befghn, 7-8

R. (1b) Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
He scourges and then has mercy;
he casts down to the depths of the nether world,
and he brings up from the great abyss.
No one can escape his hand.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Praise him, you children of Israel, before the Gentiles,
for though he has scattered you among them,
he has shown you his greatness even there.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
So now consider what he has done for you,
and praise him with full voice.
Bless the Lord of righteousness,
and exalt the King of ages.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
In the land of my exile I praise him
and show his power and majesty to a sinful nation.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.
Bless the Lord, all you his chosen ones,
and may all of you praise his majesty.
Celebrate days of gladness, and give him praise.
R. Blessed be God, who lives for ever.

Gospel Lk 9:1-6

Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there and leave from there. And as for those who do not welcome you, when you leave that town, shake the dust from your feet in testimony against them.” Then they set out and went from village to village proclaiming the good news and curing diseases everywhere.


Magandang tanghali po sa inyong lahat.

Our Gospel today, whenever we hear it, most of the time we associate it with disciples or apostles. Sa tuwing maririnig natin ang Ebanghelyong ito, iniisip natin na para lang 'yan sa mga taong tinawag ng Diyos para maglingkod sa Simbahan. When Jesus sent out the disciples, he told them to bring nothing with them on the journey.

But this Gospel is actually a Gospel that can be given to all believers, and to all followers of the Lord. In as much as we were baptized, all of us are considered to be followers and disciples of the Lord. Ano 'yong bilin ng ating Panginoon? On your journey, take nothing with you. Huwag daw tayong magdala ng kung ano pa man.

Now, there are two levels of interpretation of this Gospel. Talaga bang ang ibig sabihin ng Panginoon ay 'take nothing with you'? Ang ibig sabihin, lahat tayo dito ay nagkukulang dahil obviously, lahat tayo ay may dala-dala. But we can interpret this Gospel in the second level. That the Lord is not literally saying 'take nothing with you'. Maybe what the Lord is really saying is, 'take no thing with you'. What does that mean? Na sana ang dala-dala natin ay hindi lamang bagay. Because there are people on the journey, and what they have with them is only things. Naglalakbay sila sa buhay, ano ang dala-dala nila? Ang mga bagay. 'Yan ang kailangan ko - mga bagay, mga gamit. I want things that I can accumulate on myself.

Jesus is telling us that what we really need on our journey are not things. That is why He says, 'take no thing with you'. Not 'nothing' as in wala, pero sana, ang dala-dala natin ay hindi lamang bagay. Hopefully in our journey in life, what we carry with us is not a thing, but a person. And who is that person? The Lord.

That is why in the beginning of our Gospel, it says, ' Jesus gave them power and authority'. Ano 'yong power and authority na 'yon? It is a power and authority, not based on things, but power and authority that comes from a relationship with the Lord. Saan manggagaling ang ating lakas at awtoridad, o kapangyarihan? Hindi lamang sa mga bagay na kinakamal natin sa ating sarili. 'Yan ay manggagaling sa tao na dapat ay nasa puso natin. And who is that person? It should be the Lord.

Most of the time, we peg or we ground our power and authority on material things that we can accumulate - power, title, honor. Kaya gustong gusto natin na meron tayong titulo. I remember the story that I told you about a man who was held up. Di ba ang sabi ng holdaper sa lalaki, 'Hold up ito. Give me your money'. Ano ang sabi ng lalaki? 'Don't you know who I am? I am a member of the House of Representatives. I am an honorable Congressman'. Sabi ng holdaper, 'Ah, pulitiko ka pala. Kung gayon, give me my money'. (laughs)

Bakit nakakatawa ang kwentong 'yan? That politician was demanding power and authority. But where does power and authority really come from? It does not come from without; it comes from within. So even if you say that you are an honorable member of Congress, that title will not give you honor. 'Oh, I am Father Joel'. That title will not give me honor. It is not the title that gives honor to the man; it is the man who gives honor to the title. Kaya kahit na 'Father' ang tawag sa iyo, pero wala kang integrity, walang kahulugan ang mga titulong iyan. Bring nothing with you - not your titles, not your honor. Bring only that which is important. And that is no one else but the person of our Lord.

In this mass, let that be our aim, and let that be our objective. Lord, we do not long for things. I long only for You. Because when I have You, everything else will follow. That is the paradox. Jesus is telling us, "Take nothing with you on your journey....Take 'no thing' with you on your journey, but take Me along with you. Because if I am with you, you have everything. If I am with you, everything else will follow." Let that be our prayer, as we continue our Holy Eucharist. Amen.