Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gospel Reflection

July 17, 2013
Wednesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by His Eminence Cardinal Gaudencio Borbon Rosales, Archbishop Emeritus of Manila
6:00PM Mass, 30th Anniversary of the Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

Reading 1 Ex 3:1-6, 9-12

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush. As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. The cry of the children of Israel has reached me, and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them. Come, now! I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He answered, “I will be with you; and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you: when you bring my people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this very mountain.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 103:1b-2, 3-4, 6-7

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. 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.

Gospel Mt 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:  “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”


Reverend Father Jun Sescon, chaplain of this beautiful chapel in Greenbelt, under its name, Sto. Nino de Paz, Reverend Father Jim Ferry, and also former chaplain Father Prex Fajardo, and our brother priests. To all of you, magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

What a blessed occasion for us to end this day, in the presence of Christ, when Jesus Christ again offers himself to the Father. Jesus is once again facing His Father to summarize the day and in that sacrifice, all of you here are included, including myself. This is the unique mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus sums up the giftedness in the life in a day of a Christian. But most especially for us because tonight, we are celebrating first, the Feast of the Lady of Perpetual Help. Wednesday is always the Feast of the Perpetual Help. Secondly, we, too, are celebrating, to include in the summary of the giftedness, thirty years of the presence of this chapel in Greenbelt. Thirty years of presence, thirty years of repeated summation of every gift in the life of all those who have come here to join in numberless, many Eucharistic sacrifices.

Then, of course, there is the beautiful Gospel to reflect on and to summarize thirty years, and why not the other years when you and I have gathered for the mercy and love and compassion of God - giftedness in life, in health, in family, in community, in livelihood, and what else we could remember this night.

The Gospel reminds us of a mysterious God who was sent to us. Blessed be God. You are simply someone we could not fully understand, and yet we know You love us. You have revealed the mysteries of heaven to the childlike. What a prayer of thanks of Jesus, praising His Father for understanding, revealing the wealth of heaven, the beauty of the Kingdom of love, and for opening His heart through the eyes of children. We have to be childlike as we heard in Jesus' opening praise and prayer of thanks. We have to be childlike to realize that there is a God, to recognize God. There must be simplicity in the person who will be ready to know God.

At this point, I want to relate to you a story that took place in another country. A mother went to church together with her little daughter, a toddler, 3 or 4 years old. And while in the church, the toddler was jumping, making noise, going under the pews. And her mother, pointing to the tabernacle, said, "Shhhh....Jesus is there." But the toddler continued jumping, to the annoyance of the other churchgoers. And so the mother said, "You better shut up, because Jesus is there." Then the child was quiet. The mass continued, and the child sat there. 

When the mass was over, the mother said, "Ok, let's now go home. The mass is finished." But the child won't stand. "Come, let's go home", the mother insisted. But the child won't leave her seat and said, "No!" So the mother asked, "Why?" The child said, "I want to see Jesus." The child took the word of the mother that Jesus was there. Now the child insisted, "I want to see Jesus." 

The child was now making a riot, and the next mass is already to begin. And so, the mother approached the priest and said, "Father, my child does not want to go home." The priest asked why. "She said she wants to see Jesus." The priest then took the child in his arms, walked to the tabernacle and said, "Jesus is there." And the child said, "Is Jesus really there?" "Yes", the priest said. Then the child asked the priest to open the tabernacle. When the priest opened it, the child saw the ciborium, containing the consecrated host. "Where is Jesus?" And the priest replied, "He is there...hiding for you." "Really?" "But when you grow up, you will begin to see Him. Because when you grow up, your eyes will grow up with your head, and you will see Jesus more....around you. You are going to see, and feel and experience Jesus. Alright, you can now go home with your mother. And when you grow up, you will see Jesus." So you think that is the end of the story? (laughs) Twenty-five years later, that girl became a nun, a sister. She must have seen Jesus in many ways. In her work, in the jeepney, on the bus. In the people staring at her, she must have seen Jesus. 

Father, I thank you...that you have revealed the things of heaven to the childlike. Jesus' prayer is a beautiful thing to remember in that particular episode in the life of Jesus....thanking the Father. Many people, like that girl, have experienced Jesus. Maybe there are people here who have experienced Jesus. In their moments of pain, in their moments of need, when they go home and see that their house is topsy-turvy, or they are in trouble. You are looking for Jesus. Like the child, you may not understand, but later, you must have felt Jesus. 

It's the same thing, now that we are celebrating thirty years of this chapel, Sto. Nino de la Paz, here in Greenbelt. How many people have come here? With sorrow in their hearts, disappointment in their work, betrayed by their friends. How many people have come here, from their shopping or what? Were they not looking for Jesus? Are we not looking for Jesus? Hindi ba natin hinahanap si Hesus? Why? 

I'll tell you what. It's dangerous. Really, I tell you, it's dangerous to see Jesus, to meet Jesus. Peligroso ang makilala si Hesus. Bakit? He is going to turn your world upside down. So beware. Once you know Jesus, you will love Him. There's no one like Him, as the face of God on earth. God has a human face, and He is a face you are going to love, when you see Him, when you experience Him. You will love Him. It is dangerous when you fall in love with Jesus. He will disturb you. (soft laughs) 

Sometimes, we take for granted the Beatitudes. That's precisely a revolution of values. Happy are those who are poor. What? What are you saying - the poor are blessed? Happy are those who weep. What? Happy are those who experience injustices. What? Don't you see that Jesus is beginning to disturb my values and yours? Delikado pala ang makakilala kay Hesus. 

Maybe that girl, between the time when she was toddler and making trouble in the church, until she was 28 years old and became a nun, I bet you, there were moments when that girl was disturbed. She passed by adolescence and became a young professional. 25 years is one-fourth of a century. Sigurado ako that that girl was disturbed; Jesus disturbed her. But that is precisely the mystery of knowing Jesus. 

And you know? That is exactly what our Mother of Perpetual Help is saying. "You go to my Son." Remember the historic marriage in Cana? Mary was the first one so sensitive to find out that the couple was in trouble. "Go to my Son, and do whatever He tells you to do." And adding something to Mary's words, 'Go and be friends with my Son. Go - if you want, love Him. Kung gusto mo, mahalin mo Siya. will do what He tells you to do." 

And that's exactly why we are here. That's exactly why thirty years ago, this Chapel was built, for people who want to see Jesus. When people like you would want to know more about Jesus. Knowing Jesus, I know that all of us - you and I - will love Him. Enjoy that love that gives us strength. And as we celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, share that love with others. Ask the good Lord tonight - unworthy and as little as we are, allow us to love You more with others. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.