Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 31, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean of Studies, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
12;15 PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Ex 34:29-35

As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD. When Aaron, then, and the other children of Israel saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him. Only after Moses called to them did Aaron and all the rulers of the community come back to him. Moses then spoke to them. Later on, all the children of Israel came up to him, and he enjoined on them all that the LORD had told him on Mount Sinai. When he finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. Whenever Moses entered the presence of the LORD to converse with him, he removed the veil until he came out again. On coming out, he would tell the children of Israel all that had been commanded. Then the children of Israel would see that the skin of Moses’ face was radiant; so he would again put the veil over his face until he went in to converse with the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm PS 99:5, 6, 7, 9

R. (see 9c) Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his footstool;
holy is he!
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
and Samuel, among those who called upon his name;
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
From the pillar of cloud he spoke to them;
they heard his decrees and the law he gave them.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.
Extol the LORD, our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for holy is the LORD, our God.
R. Holy is the Lord our God.

Gospel Mt 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”


I think all of you know that the World Youth Day has just ended, and that it was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is already the 28th World Youth Day, which was a gathering of all the youth in the world, together with the Holy Father. And this is the first World Youth Day that was attended by Pope Francis. If you watched the coverage of the World Youth Day, especially at EWTN, you will notice that most of the reactions that people would have in the recent World Youth Day was how the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his simplicity, was able to communicate the Gospel, not only to the youth of the world, but even to the non-Catholics who were present in that gathering.

At nakikita naman talaga natin 'yong kapayakan at ang pagiging simple ng ating Holy Father. From the beginning until the end, all the images of the Holy Father exude simplicity. Halimbawa noong siya ay papa-alis - ewan ko kung nakita ninyo, ano - umaakyat ang Holy Father, dala-dala niya ang sarili niyang bag. He was carrying his own bag while he was coming up the plane, with no assistant to carry it for him. And when he came down and was already touring the city of Rio de Janeiro, ang sasakyan niya yata ay parang Kia Pride lang yata iyon, eh. Mas magara pa ang sasakyan ng kanyang mga security. He insisted that he would only use a simple every day car, with no tint, so that people can see him. Ang mga security niya natatakot, sabi nila mahirap naman 'yan, ano, because he was the Holy Father. But he was saying that the reason why the youth of the world went there, is so that they can see him. So bakit daw siya magtatago, kung 'yon naman talaga ang ipinunta nila, ano. The simplicity of the Holy Father....

And in one of the addresses that he gave, especially the one when he spoke with the bishops and priests. He said one thing that I never forgot. He said, "The Church must be able to speak the grammar of simplicity." I would like us to reflect on that word - the grammar of simplicity. Ano'ng sinasabi niya doon? Dapat daw na maipahayag natin 'yong kapayakan at kasimplehan ng pananampalataya. Not too much on complicated words or theology, but we must be able to speak the grammar of simplicity. Even in the life of the Holy Father, we will see that he does not even have to speak. His body language alone, his actions alone, already speak the language of God. It is already proclaiming the grammar of simplicity.

In our First Reading, what did we hear from the book of Exodus? Moses was given the Ten Commandments. And Moses went up to Mount Sinai. We know that during this time, God was not yet known to the Israelites. Hindi pa nagsasalita ang Diyos noon. God was then considered to be unknown, from a distance, hindi nakakausap o hindi nakikilala. And yet, according to the Reading, when Moses went down to the mountain, what happened? His face was shining with the divinity of God. And according to the Reading, the people of Israel can see the presence of God in the very person of Moses. Again, the grammar of simplicity. He did not even have to speak; His very person already radiated the presence of God. The complicated God was made simple in his very life.

Alam ninyo, meron akong mga professor sa seminaryo. There are only two kinds of professors. Ano 'yong dalawang uri? There are professors who make the simple, complicated. (laughs) 'Yon 'yong pag nagsalita sila, hindi mo maintindihan. And there are professors who make the very complicated, very simple. Ganoon lang 'yong gustong sabihin sa atin ni Pope Francis. We must be able to speak the grammar of simplicity, even in our every day relationships with one another.

For example, in your homes. Do you speak the grammar of simplicity to your children? You do not have to speak about what the Bible is saying. For example, if the husband is faithful to his wife, and his children see this, you are already speaking the grammar of simplicity. What Jesus said about 'for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them shall become one flesh', hindi mo na kailangang sabihin 'yon. Pag nakita 'yan ng mga bata sa iyo, mauunawaan na nila. If you are very honest at hindi ka nagsisinungaling, they do not have to read 'thou shall not bear false witness'. Sa buhay mo pa lang, mauunawaan na nila 'yon. When you forgive one another, your children do not have to read in the Bible, 'forgive 70 times 7 times'. In your life, mababasa na nila, mauunawaan na nila 'yon - the grammar of simplicity.

So, in simple words, what is the Pope telling us in the recent World Youth Day? Our life may be the only Bible that people may read, and therefore, we must speak the language of the Bible in our very lives, in our very action. 'Yon din 'yong sinasabi ng ating First Reading. When Moses, in his person, was able to radiate the grandeur of God.

Alam po ninyo, itong araw na ito ay mahalaga din para sa akin. This is my 17th anniversary in the priesthood. (loud applause) And because of that, magkakaroon tayo ng second collection mamaya. (laughs) Hindi, biro lamang po ano. In my 17 years of priesthood, 'yon lang din ang aking pangarap. I hope that I was able to speak the grammar of simplicity, making the complicated, simple. O baka naman I am making the simple, more complicated. Nakakahiya naman, ano. I pray to God that I am not that kind of a priest. I pray that even in my priesthood, I am able to speak the grammar of simplicity, and radiate in my person the mystery of the God that we are following.

We were 20 when we were ordained, and we are celebrating our 17th anniversary today. In this mass, I would like to ask for your prayers, that you continue to pray for our whole batch, that we may continue to be the language of God to the modern culture. Let us pray for this grace as we continue this Holy Eucharist. Amen.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 30, 2013
Tuesday – 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)
5:30 PM Mass at EDSA Shrine

The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp. Anyone who wished to consult the LORD would go to this meeting tent outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise and stand at the entrance of their own tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the LORD spoke with Moses. On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and worship at the entrance of their own tents. The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another. Moses would then return to the camp, but his young assistant, Joshua, son of Nun, would not move out of the tent.

Moses stood there with the LORD and proclaimed his name, “LORD.” Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out, “The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity, continuing his kindness for a thousand generations, and forgiving wickedness and crime and sin; yet not declaring the guilty guiltless, but punishing children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for their fathers’ wickedness!” Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship. Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O LORD, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people;  yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as your own.”

So Moses stayed there with the LORD for forty days and forty nights, without eating any food or drinking any water, and he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Gospel Mt 13:36-43

Jesus dismissed the crowds and went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”


The painting "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci took several years before it was finished. Da Vinci would be spending a lot of time around Milan and will be wandering and looking for people to pose for the disciples of Jesus Christ and for Jesus himself. After several years, Da Vinci finally found a person, a man, who passed and who he thought would be perfect for Judas. When the man was asked if he could pose to be one of the disciples, he agreed. After the painting, after the man saw that the disciple he posed for was Judas, he was shocked, and told Da Vinci, "Don't you remember me? You also asked me a few years back to pose for one of the disciples. But then, you chose me to be John. And I am shocked to learn that now, you have painted me as Judas."

My dear brothers and sisters, a lot of times, we consider ourselves the good ones, because we go to church, we attend the Eucharist regularly, while the people who do not come to mass, the criminals, the so-called evildoers in our society, belong to the bad group of people. But very rarely do we realize that the struggle of good and evil is in all of us. Naroon ang kasamaan, naroon ang kabutihan. Napakahirap kung minsan piliin ang kabutihan, kahit pilit tayong gumagawa nang mabuti o nagdarasal sa Diyos.

What we fail to learn is that God is so patient enough to wait for us, patiently waiting for us to be transformed, to come back to Him, be reconciled back to Him, and to turn away from sin. In the First Reading, when Moses asked God that he wanted to know God's ways so that he can see God's glory, instead of God telling Moses of His might, of His power, of His greatness, He told Moses that the Lord is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, kind, not to remember your sins, even for thousands of ages, and forgiving even the hardened criminals or the evil things that people do. Instead of telling Moses how great He is, God is telling us that He is pure love, and that we have only to turn away from sin and be transformed into becoming His children.

My dear brothers and sisters, the Word of God is a seed that is planted in our hearts. It depends on us where to go, where to lead, or which one to obey - the goodness or the evil in us. God said that we who have ears must always be transformed by the Word of God. Amen.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 29, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Martha
by Rev. Fr. Joselito "Joey" Martin, SPFY Director, San Carlos Seminary, San Carlos Pastoral Complex, EDSA, Guadalupe, Makati
12:15PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine

Moses turned and came down the mountain with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, tablets that were written on both sides, front and back; tablets that were made by God, having inscriptions on them that were engraved by God himself. Now, when Joshua heard the noise of the people shouting, he said to Moses, “That sounds like a battle in the camp.” But Moses answered, “It does not sound like cries of victory, nor does it sound like cries of defeat; the sounds that I hear are cries of revelry.” As he drew near the camp, he saw the calf and the dancing. With that, Moses’ wrath flared up, so that he threw the tablets down and broke them on the base of the mountain. Taking the calf they had made, he fused it in the fire and then ground it down to powder, which he scattered on the water and made the children of Israel drink.

Moses asked Aaron, “What did this people ever do to you that you should lead them into so grave a sin?” Aaron replied, “Let not my lord be angry. You know well enough how prone the people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us a god to be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Let anyone who has gold jewelry take it off.’ They gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.”

On the next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a grave sin. I will go up to the LORD, then; perhaps I may be able to make atonement for your sin.” So Moses went back to the LORD and said, “Ah, this people has indeed committed a grave sin in making a god of gold for themselves! If you would only forgive their sin! If you will not, then strike me out of the book that you have written.” The LORD answered, “Him only who has sinned against me will I strike out of my book. Now, go and lead the people to the place I have told you. My angel will go before you. When it is time for me to punish, I will punish them for their sin.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 106:19-20, 21-22, 23

R. (1a) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Our fathers made a calf in Horeb
and adored a molten image;
They exchanged their glory
for the image of a grass-eating bullock.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
They forgot the God who had saved them,
who had done great deeds in Egypt,
Wondrous deeds in the land of Ham,
terrible things at the Red Sea.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Then he spoke of exterminating them,
but Moses, his chosen one,
Withstood him in the breach
to turn back his destructive wrath.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

Gospel Jn 11:19-27

Many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother [Lazarus, who had died]. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life;
whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Jesus entered a village  where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”


Today, we celebrate the memorial of St. Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus of Bethany, friend of our Lord Jesus.

Two Sundays ago, the Gospel narrated the Lord's visit to their home, and Martha was pictured as a busy, gracious host who got too pre-occupied with every detail of hospitality, until she came to the Lord with a request that the Lord tells her sister, Mary, to help her in the preparations in the kitchen. She was a busy woman, an active, dynamic person, trying to offer the Lord the best that she could.

In today's Gospel - this time taken from St. John - we once again hear of Martha, the active, dynamic person on the move. When she got the news that Jesus was there to visit them, she went out of her home to welcome the Lord. But between Luke's narration two Sundays ago, and our Gospel for today, we would sense a great change in the person of this woman. Now, we find her still in action, but this time around, her action is deeply motivated by her faith in Jesus. "I have come to believe that You are the Messiah, the Son of God, and I believe that through You, my brother will rise again on the last day." Here, we find a woman who, despite the grief and sorrow of losing a beloved, was unmoved and remained steadfast and firm in her faith in Jesus.

That is why as we honor St. Martha today, we wish to beg her intercession, that we may all learn from her example. And there are two things we wish to emulate from Martha. First is her eagerness to give her time, energy and talent, to make sure that the Lord would find a welcome into her home, into her heart. This eagerness, this enthusiasm, we also want to learn, to make sure that all these efforts are geared towards welcoming the Lord into our hearts and into our lives. Secondly and finally, we wish also to learn from her this unwavering and steadfast faith in Jesus, most especially, as we face and undergo difficult challenges and experiences in life.

Please be reminded, as we have said earlier in this Gospel, Martha and Mary were still grieving because of the loss of their brother Lazarus. But their grief and their loss was never a reason for them to lose their trust and faith in Jesus. May we learn the same unwavering faith and steadfast trust in the Lord, especially during the most trying and difficult moment in our lives. We continue this celebration begging for her intercession, that through the prayers and example of St. Martha, we, too, may become persons with firm faith in the Lord, and, at the same time, have the eagerness to prepare for the Lord a worthy dwelling place in our hearts.