Thursday, October 17, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 17, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr
by Rev. Fr. Romeo Agustin Ma. 'Ting' Miciano, SDB, (Parish Priest, St. John Bosco Parish Church, Makati)
7:30AM Mass, St. John Bosco Parish Church, Makati

Reading 1 Rom 3:21-30

Brothers and sisters: Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed, through the forbearance of God– to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.

What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Does God belong to Jews alone? Does he not belong to Gentiles, too? Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

Responsorial Psalm PS 130:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab

R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
R. With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.

Gospel Lk 11:47-54

The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets  whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.


We begin our reflection today on the First Reading. I was stressing during these past days that in the introduction of St. Paul, he was telling the people, 'You have done this - both you pagans and Jews. All of you are sinners.' The pagans, because even if they see the beauty of creation, they did not accept that there is a Creator. And for the Jews, they were judging themselves, as better than the others. They were condemning the others, even if they are doing the same. This constitutes the sinfulness of humanity, of everybody. But everybody has to be saved. Everybody has to find a vision somewhere. Or someone must offer this sinful people a way to salvation. And in our Readings, St. Paul will offer, what is the way to salvation.

It is written in the First Reading: "For we consider that a person is justified by faith, apart from works of the law." There is this distinction - justified by faith, and justified by the works of the law. We may hear that continuously in the next few days. To be justified, to be righteous - what is the meaning of that? It is precisely to be saved from our sins, to be made right in front of God.

How will that happen? For the Jews, it is by the works of the law, or by obeying what the law says. If you do this, you will become right. If you do this, following the law, God will forgive you. That is the mentality of the Jews. What you do will force God to save you, to forgive you. They have to do a lot of things. That is the meaning of the works of the law.

But St. Paul says, 'no'. You cannot be made righteous, you cannot be forgiven by God just by doing something. A person is only justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Because we have already been forgiven by God. When did that happen? On the Cross, through the sacrifice of Christ. Jesus Christ has taken every sin of everybody, from the beginning, up to the end of time. That is why, if you look at the Cross, Jesus' arms are open, meaning to say, it encompasses everybody from the beginning up to end. The sacrifice of Christ is for all, and for all time. We have been forgiven already by God through the sacrifice of Christ.

So, what shall we do? We should accept Christ and have faith in Him. We should believe in Him, and that is what St. Paul stresses here, which the Jews could not understand. That is why in the Gospel, St. Paul continues to condemn them. He tells them to believe in Jesus. And Jesus says if we want to follow Him, we should take up our cross. We have to do something. But the main thing is, we have been saved by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let us accept Him, believe in Him, and have faith in Him, and that is the beginning of our salvation.