Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gospel Reflection

September 26, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs
by Rev. Fr. Francis Montero, Assistant Priest, St. Mark's Cathedral, Port Pirie, South Australia
5:30PM Mass at the Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)

Reading 1 Hg 1:1-8

On the first day of the sixth month in the second year of King Darius, The word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai to the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak:

Thus says the LORD of hosts:  This people says: “The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.” (Then this word of the LORD came through Haggai, the prophet:) Is it time for you to dwell in your own paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins?

Now thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! You have sown much, but have brought in little; you have eaten, but have not been satisfied; You have drunk, but have not been exhilarated; have clothed yourselves, but not been warmed; And whoever earned wages earned them for a bag with holes in it.

Thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways! Go up into the hill country; bring timber, and build the house That I may take pleasure in it and receive my glory, says the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people.
Sing to the LORD a new song
of praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in their maker,
let the children of Zion rejoice in their king.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let them praise his name in the festive dance,
let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the LORD loves his people,
and he adorns the lowly with victory.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy upon their couches;
Let the high praises of God be in their throats.
This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.
R. The Lord takes delight in his people.

Gospel Lk 9:7-9

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.


Today, we remember the martyrs, the twins, Saints Cosmas and Damian They lived in the 3rd Century. They were physicians and practiced the art of healing. And they received no pay. 'Yong kanilang ginagawa, their acts of charity, brought more people to the faith. I believe that it's through our actions that people are drawn to love God more. Sa ating mga gawa ay nahihikayat o na-aakit natin ang iba na mahalin ang Diyos,

And this is also what Jesus did. He preached, but after His preaching, He healed people. He forgave sinners. He dined with sinners. He gave them a second chance. Perhaps, we need a revisiting of our faith. Siguro, kailangang tingnan ulit natin kung ano'ng klaseng pagka-Kristiyano ang isinasabuhay natin o pinaniniwalaan natin.

Just like Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, whose feast day we will celebrate on Saturday, Saints Cosmas and Damian were arrested and ordered to recant or to renounce their Catholic faith. But Saints Cosmas and Damian refused to do it. They remained steadfast in their faith, even if they were tortured. They were beheaded by the sword. Not much of their lives were historically recorded, but one thing is for sure. Cosmas and Damian existed. We may not be experiencing persecutions here in the Philippines because of our faith, because we are the majority. But surely, in other parts of the world, Christians are still treated unjustly, to the point of risking their lives. May we be like Saints Cosmos and Damian, in their firm resolve to love God, and serve others.

In our Gospel today, we heard that Herod was perplexed. He has all the reason to be perplexed. Why? It is because he ordered the beheading of St. John the Baptist. He heard many things, and he wanted to see Jesus, because He was perplexed, He was intrigued by the personality of Jesus.

My dear friends, hearing is very important in the development of our faith. Mahalaga pong naririnig natin ang ating pananampalataya, na naririnig po natin ang mga magagandang bagay tungkol sa ginawa ng Diyos. Ito po ay unang hakbang. But there will be other steps that we have to make. We ought to approach God; God's movement is always to us. But at times, we move away from God. Tayo ang lumalayo sa Diyos - sa ating pag-iisip, sa ating mga salita at gawa. Subalit ang Diyos ay patuloy pong naghahanap sa atin, humahabol sa atin.

Herod, on his part, never took the next step. He liked to listen to St. John the Baptist, but he was a crowd pleaser, not a God pleaser. Herod admired John. He also heard about Jesus, and I'm sure that He also had an admiration of Jesus. But admiration is not enough.

Who do we admire most? People with power, with influence, fame or wealth? Scripture warns us of this danger. Who do we desire to please? God or man? Herod chose to please people, rather than do the right thing. Do we admire God? Do we love God? Of course, that's why we're here. We admire God, we love God, we even say that we want to serve God, that's why we are here. We find time from our work to hear mass. But it is not enough to admire God. The next step is to behave like the beloved of God. Kung mahal tayo ng Diyos, umasta tayo na mahal tayo ng Diyos.

Sa ating pamilya, hindi sapat na alam mong mahal ka ng nanay mo. Behave like her beloved. Igalang mo siya. Mahalin mo siya, paglingkuran mo siya. And that's the same way with our relationship to God. The next step is to behave like the beloved of God. God already loved us, even before we loved Him. God has made you and I His children, therefore, we should act like sons and daughters of God. Let us reflect, let us mirror our love for God, our admiration of God, by showing this in our lives, through constant commitment to our faith. Dapat tayong maging masaya sa ating pananampalataya bilang Kristiyano, at maging matapat, kahit anumang pagsubok sa buhay ang ating dadaanan. Let us hold on to our faith and steadfastness, ito ay pwedeng sandigan mo at panghawakan. 'Yon po ang nagagawa ng ating pagmamahal sa Diyos; 'yon po ang nagagawa ng pagmamahal ng Diyos sa atin.

What is the result of us loving God, and God loving us? We will serve others. We will act charitably. Marunong po tayong magmahal, magbahagi, magmalasakit, at lalong-lalo na, magpatawad. The lives of Saints Cosmas and Damian were truly reflective of God in them, the God who they loved. Ito ay sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga salita at gawa, at sa hindi nila pagsuko ng kanilang pananampalataya. May they inspire us. May they remind us of their strong faith and through them, in this time, may the image of God become real in each one of us. Sana'y mas maging totoo ang Diyos sa atin at sa ating buhay - na mas maging lalo tayong mapagmahal, lalo tayong magmalasakit at di maging maramot, lalong-lalo na, sa pagpapatawad sa ating kapwa. Amen.