Monday, September 30, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 30, 2013
Monday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church
by Rev. Fr. Benjo Fajota, Vice Rector, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)
12:15PM Mass at the EDSA Shrine

Reading 1 Zec 8:1-8

This word of the LORD of hosts came:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:

I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred to jealous wrath for her. Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and I will dwell within Jerusalem; Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem. The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in its streets. Thus says the LORD of hosts: Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it in those days be impossible in my eyes also, says the LORD of hosts? Thus says the LORD of hosts: Lo, I will rescue my people from the land of the rising sun, and from the land of the setting sun. I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, with faithfulness and justice.

R. (17) The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The nations shall revere your name, O LORD,
and all the kings of the earth your glory,
When the LORD has rebuilt Zion
and appeared in his glory;
When he has regarded the prayer of the destitute,
and not despised their prayer.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
Let this be written for the generation to come,
and let his future creatures praise the LORD:
“The LORD looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.”
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.
The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence.
That the name of the LORD may be declared in Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together,
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.
R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

Gospel Lk 9:46-50

An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest.  Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”


John Maxwell, an existentialist philosopher said that the poorest person on earth is not the person who does not have a dime. The poorest person is one that does not have a vision. If you do not have a goal, you do not have a dream, then your life is useless. 

And a lot of us must have placed the goal or the dream to become the greatest - to be acclaimed as the best. That is why when Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples, He took a little child in His lap and said that whoever wants to be the greatest, must be like these little children. 

Nowadays, it has become sort of an election - a priority, a preferential option in our society to be the best. Most of us would want to be the greatest by becoming the most popular, the richest, the most powerful. But actually, in the eyes of God, the one who is the least, is the greatest. 

Similarly, our Gospel yesterday about the poor man Lazarus, who has the Hebrew name 'Eleazar', which means 'my God is my help', tells us that whoever puts his trust and total faith in God is the one who is considered the greatest. This is the reason why Lazarus went to heaven. He may have been poor in terms of material wealth, but he was rich in the eyes of God, because of his faith. 

Saint Augustine said that it is pride who turned the angels into devils, but it will be humility that will make man angels. Amen.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 29, 2013
Sunday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Gerome Hernandez, Mission Society of the Philippines (MSP) 
(Director, MSP Associate Program)
4:30PM Sunday Anticipated Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

Reading 1 Am 6:1a, 4-7

Thus says the LORD the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall! Improvising to the music of the harp, like David, they devise their own accompaniment. They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph! Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile, and their wanton revelry shall be done away with.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 146:7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (1b) Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
Blessed he who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations. Alleluia.
R. Praise the Lord, my soul!
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 Tm 6:11-16

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.  Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate for the noble confession, to keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ that the blessed and only ruler will make manifest at the proper time, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see.  To him be honor and eternal power. Amen.

Gospel Lk 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees: "There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.  The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me.  Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.' Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime  while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’ He said, 'Then I beg you, father, send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.' But Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.' He said, 'Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' Then Abraham said, 'If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'"


Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat, sa kabila nang maulan na hapon. 

In today's Liturgy, the rich and the powerful are the first to go to exile, not for their wealth, but for their failure to share their wealth. Not for their power, but for their indifference to the poor. This is the essence - the core of our Readings today. Let us try to go back again to the Word of God being proclaimed to us today. 

In the First Reading today in the Book of Amos, we heard how God would like to punish those who neglected Joseph. Unti-unting bumagsak ang bayan ng Israel kung saan ang Diyos ay nakipagtipan. And we heard in the First Reading that because of this, they are the first ones to go into exile. Inalis sa kanila ang kanilang kayamanan at kapangyarihan. 

The Second Reading is a reminder to us Christians. St. Paul says that we were baptized, and with this baptism, we share in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness. And this is connected to our First Reading today. We should pursue love - love for the poor, love for those who are in need, those who are neglected. We have to be patient to the people entrusted to us. 

In our Gospel today, it was Jesus who told us about the story of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus. What happened to these two people? Dumating ang panahon na naging pantay na lang sila sa kamatayan. But in the other life, Lazarus was comforted by Abraham whereas the rich man was in torment. 

And this is a beautiful reminder for us today. You know that when we read the newspapers today or watch TV, our Gospel today is very much alive and happening. And what is the challenge of our Gospel today? First, let us not build a great chasm between us and God. Whatever God has given us - these riches, this power - we should use it wisely for the poor, to express our loving concern and patience to them. Let us use our riches and power as an opportunity to help those who are in need. As the Lord said, whatever we do to the least of our brothers and sisters, we do unto Him. And who are these? Those who are in prison, those who are sick, those who have nothing to eat nor drink, those who are homeless and have nothing to wear. Let us not turn our back on this people. Huwag tayong magbulag-bulagan sa mga bagay na ito. 

Secondly, God entrusted to us His people. Our Gospel today speaks about social justice. Our Gospel today speaks about wealth and the poor. And there is one thing that God wants us to do. That in our love for God, we may show it completely in our daily life. Sana ay makita sa atin ng mga tao ang pagmamahal natin sa Diyos, sa ating pang-araw araw na pamumuhay. Pagdating ng ating pagharap sa Diyos, hindi natin pwedeng sabihin, 'Pwede po bang humingi ng isa pang pagkakataon?' 

This is a big challenge for all of us, especially at this time. Hindi natin pwedeng ipikit ang ating mga mata at sabihin nating 'Ito ay akin. Ito ay pinaghirapan ko, bunga ng aking pawis at dugo, kaya ito ay para lamang sa akin', while others are suffering. 

I remember, I received a call from a couple from the U.S., who are retired doctors. They called me up and asked my help to book them a flight going to Zamboanga. Sabi ko sa kanila, ano ang gagawin nila sa Zamboanga, baka mabaril pa sila doon. I told them to just enjoy their life in the U.S. But the couple insisted and the husband said, 'No Father. Na-enjoy na po namin ang aming retirement, pero nakikita namin ang mga taong naghihirap sa Zamboanga, kaya gusto naming bumalik at gamitin muli ang aming pagiging doktor para matulungan po ang mga taong ito'. They may be retired already, but they still want to help.

My dear friends, may our Gospel be our power, a strong reminder for all of us, not to neglect the poor and not to be indifferent to those who are in need.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 28, 2013
Saturday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. David 'Dave' T. Buenaventura, SDB
Councilor & Pugad Centre Director and Counsellor, St. John Bosco Parish, Makati
7:30AM Mass, St. John Bosco Parish Church (Don Bosco Church), Makati

Reading 1 Zec 2:5-9, 14-15a

I, Zechariah, raised my eyes and looked: there was a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?” He answered, “To measure Jerusalem, to see how great is its width and how great its length.”

Then the angel who spoke with me advanced, and another angel came out to meet him and said to him, “Run, tell this to that young man: People will live in Jerusalem as though in open country, because of the multitude of men and beasts in her midst. But I will be for her an encircling wall of fire, says the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.”

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and they shall be his people and he will dwell among you.

Responsorial Psalm Jer 31:10, 11-12ab, 13

R. (see 10d) The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel, now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd guards his flock.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.
Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
R. The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.

Gospel Lk 9:43b-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.”  But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.


Good morning and Happy Feast Day to everyone. I offer this Holy Mass for those among you who are called Laurencia and Lorenzo.

My dear brothers and sisters, throughout the centuries, thousands of men and women of all races have been put to death because they believed in Jesus. And one of them is our very own San Lorenzo Ruiz - the first Filipino saint - whom we are honoring today. When Lorenzo was threatened that he would die if he would not abandon his Christian faith, Lorenzo said, "I am a Christian, and this I profess until the hour of my death. And for God, I shall give my life. Although I did not come to Japan to be a martyr, nevertheless, as a Christian, and for God, I shall give my life."

When given the offer to abandon his Christian faith and save his life, Lorenzo said, "That I will never do, because I am a Christian. I shall die for God. And have I many thousand lives, I shall offer them for Him." Because of his public profession of faith, Lorenzo Ruiz was water tortured and finally hanged inverted from the gallows with his head inserted in a small pit. He died a martyr's death in Nishizaka Hill near Nagasaki on September 28, 1637.

My dear brothers and sisters, the message of our faith today is loyalty to Jesus. Loyalty to the Lord. Can we, in our daily life, offer our life to Jesus? Can we love Him above anyone and anything else? The Lord tells us, where your heart is, there your treasure will be. Is our faith in the Lord our treasure? Is our heart really for Him? Is the law of the Lord really ruling in our lives? Is this reflected when we are at home, when we are at work, when we are with our friends?

Quite often, we forget these realities, these truths. And I would like to remind myself and all of you gathered here about this. Christianity is not a theory about Jesus. It is not an idealism. Christianity is loyalty to Christ, as Peter would declare, the Son of the living God. And this loyalty simply means obedience to the Lord. Our Christian faith is not a dress that we can wear and remove as we like. Our Christian faith is a way of life. Our ideas will show we are Christians. Our words will speak we are Christians. And above all, our examples will profess our loyalty to Jesus. 

And I would not be wrong when I say that when a person is loyal to someone, don't even doubt it, he is also faithful. And when one is faithful and loyal to someone, do not doubt it, he will also be true and honest to that person. And when one is honest and faithful to someone, you can be sure that he has that sense of justice to give to anyone what is due to him. And this is the kind of Christianity that we are called for - not the devotional Christianity - that will eliminate corruption in our families, and most especially in our society.

We, Christians of today, should wake up and never believe that just because I am devoted to so many religious things, I am already an authentic and true Christian. As I would always say, our devotional practices should be the fruits of true Christianity. Meaning to say, I am loyal to Jesus, I am truthful to Jesus, I am fair in dealing with my God, and the devotional practices are simply expressions of who I truly am. And when the time comes, we will appreciate the devotional practices that we are doing. And the others who will see us performing them will believe us because they are fruits of who we really are. 

This is my Word of Life for you today: Our Christian faith is a breastplate of identification that we accept Jesus in our lives as our Teacher, Master, Ruler, King, and our God. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.