Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 03, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
by Rev.  Fr. Joel Jason (Dean of Studies, Graduate School of Theology San Carlos Seminary)
Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 1 Thes 5:1-6, 9-11

Concerning times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman,  and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light  and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober. For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.

Responsorial Psalm PS 27:1, 4, 13-14

R. (13) I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.

Gospel Lk 4:31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,  and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm. They were all amazed and said to one another, “What is there about his word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.


Once there was a man who was held up by a mugger. The mugger said, "Give me my money." Then the man said, "Don't you know who I am? I am a member of the House of Representatives. I am a person of honor." To which the mugger replied, "Well....then, give me my money." (pause and soft laughs) Mukhang hindi yata nakuha ng iba ah...(laughs) Paki-explain na lang....(laughs)

Bakit nakakatawa ang kwentong ito? It is because in the story, there is a demand for honor. The member of the House of Representatives told the mugger that he is a man of honor, that he is an honorable person, therefore, he should be given respect.

But honor is not demanded; it is earned. In the Gospel today, we can see that Jesus was not one who wanted power. He lived simply, but when Jesus taught in the synagogues, people were astonished because He spoke with authority. Even the unclean spirits knew that Jesus is the Son of God. Yet, Jesus did not call attention to Himself, unlike the Scribes and Pharisees during His time who were hungry for power, who liked to adorn themselves with robes and clothes, and demanded that they be given titles like 'teacher' or 'rabbi' to denote honor.

Power engenders fear, but not respect. Honor engenders the respect and admiration of others.

I remember the late Secretary Jesse Robredo. He was mayor of Naga for many years, but he lived a simple life and he was well loved by his people. In fact, when I went to Legazpi, the driver who gave me a tour of the town brought me to the tomb of Secretary Robredo, without me telling him to do so. And when we reached the place, the driver said, "Ito po ang libingan ng aming si Mayor Jesse." That is how they call him - our Mayor Jesse. If you would see a video of Mayor Jesse, as his people fondly call him, he would visit his constituents wearing only T-shirt, shorts, and slippers. Yet, his people admired him, and listened to him; he had authority.  

In the most recent SONA, instead of focusing on the national issues at hand, the occasion became a showbiz event. Why? It is because we focused more on who wore the most beautiful gown, and who was the creator of the gown. That is how we draw power to ourselves, that is how we equate honor - on how we look, what we wear, how much we have.

And I think that is what we should aspire for - that we may live a life of simplicity and honor, and earn the respect of others. As we continue with this mass, let that be the grace that we should pray for - that we may have inner authority and power through moral integrity in our hearts, and the good example that we show to others. Amen.