Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 24, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Benjo Fajota, Vice Rector, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)
7:00 PM Mass at the EDSA Shrine

Reading 1 Rom 6:19-23

Brothers and sisters: I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed?  For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsorial Psalm PS 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. (Ps 40:5) Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

Gospel Lk 12:49-53

Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father,  a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”


In April 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. A year after, his brother, Daniel, drowned. And six years after, his mother was also shot to death inside the church. When the assassin was asked why he did it, he answered, "I hate Christians. They are all my enemies." 

For someone in the position of Martin Luther King, Sr., with these tragedies that befell his life and his family, it would be understandable if he turned against God, if he rejected God or if he got angry with God. But nothing of that sort happened. During the funeral of his wife, since he was also the pastor, he said, "Today, I am strong. I cannot leave anyone."

How many of us, with all the tragedies and trials that we have experienced in life, can still have this unwavering faith in God? Perhaps some of us who have experienced lesser trials and tragedies, will already be outrightly denying God, rejecting God. And that would be understandable. 

All of us will go through a baptism of fire. But we have to ask for God's strength in order to overcome these. That's why in praying the 'Our Father', we pray that we may not be lead into temptation, and that we may not be given the test.

My dear brothers and sisters, the baptism of fire that Jesus did for us - dying on the Cross - saved us from our sins. All of us as Christians, must also hurdle these tests, these trials, this baptism of fire. And we are asked to hold on to our faith, to remain faithful to God, in spite of all these challenges. There will be times when we will be asked to separate or reject even our own family members and loved ones, but God must be our priority. Amen.