Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gospel Reflection

January 22, 2014
Wednesday – Ordinary Time

Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

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 1 sm 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul: “Let your majesty not lose courage. I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.” But Saul answered David, “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David continued: “The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear, will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.” Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag. With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him, the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David. When he had sized David up, and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance, the Philistine held David in contempt. The Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?” Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods and said to him, “Come here to me, and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.” David answered him: “You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will leave your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves. For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line  in the direction of the Philistine. David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone, hurled it with the sling, and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone embedded itself in his brow, and he fell prostrate on the ground. Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword. Then David ran and stood over him; with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath he dispatched him and cut off his head.


Responsorial Psalm ps 144:1b, 2, 9-10

R. (1) Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

Gospel mk 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue. There was a man there who had a withered hand. They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Come up here before us.” Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent. Looking around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart, Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.


Many times, I hear in casual conversations, may mga taong nagsasabi nang, "Uy ikaw, napaka-nega mo." I don't know if you have heard that expression. "Napaka-nega mo naman." One time I heard that, I asked what the statement means. Ang ibig sabihin pala noon ay napaka-negative. People who always see the bad things in life, the negative things in life. And sometimes, they refuse to see what is positive. That is why they are filled with negative energy.

In our Readings for today, we see the same kind of attitude. People who are really 'nega'. For example, in our First Reading, there was a giant named Goliath, who was insulting the Israelites, asking them if they have any warrior who they can draw against him. Then what happened? There was a simple shepherd boy named David who said, "I will not allow this uncircumcised Philistine to insult the true God of Israel."

Pero ano ang sagot ng mga kababayan ni David? "You are just a boy. You're just a shepherd boy. You're simply a youth. You are not a warrior." So all these people surrounding David were 'nega' people. They only see the bad thing or the bad element in people. They refuse to see the positive. Mabuti na lang, David was not consumed with the same attitude. What did David say? "Even though I am just a shepherd boy, with God at my side, I shall conquer Him." So it all depends on what attitude we have.

In our Gospel, what did we hear? We heard about the miraculous cure of a man with a withered hand. And why did Jesus cure the man with a withered hand? Hands are our symbol of accomplishing things, of doing things. And the reason why Jesus healed the man with a withered hand, is because He wanted the man to achieve more in life. With a fully operating hand, the man could achieve something better than he is today.

What can we learn from this Gospel episode? It is clear in the Bible, Jesus tells us to be content with what we have. But He does not tell us to be content with who we are. But the problem is most of us are easily content with who we are, but we are never content with what we have. Who we are is better than what we have. And that is what the Bible is encouraging us to hope for. Never be content with who you are.

Sana, every time we wake up in the morning, that will be part of our goal. Lord, may I be a better parent today than yesterday. May I be a better mother or father today than yesterday. May I be a better child, a better person, a better worker, a better Christian today than yesterday. The moment we become contented with who we are, that is the time that we stop growing.

Jesus healed the man with a withered hand, because He wanted the man to accomplish more, not to be confined with his disability. Jesus wants us to become more. St. Ignatius calls this 'the spirituality of the magis''. 'Magis' is the Latin word for 'more'. It is the origin of the word 'magnanimous' or 'grand'. And that is the will of God for us. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, "I came, that they may have life, and have it to the full." God knows the desires of our heart.

Yes, Jesus tells us to be content with what we have, but let us never be content with who we are. Every day, let us make it our aim to become a better person, to become a better disciple, to become a better Christian, to become a better follower of the Lord. We pray for this grace as we continue with our Eucharist. Amen.