Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 03, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. David "Dave" T. Concepcion
(Spiritual Director, Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, San Carlos Pastoral Formation Center, Guadalupe, Makati City)
5:30PM Mass, Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine (Our Lady of Peace Quasi Parish/EDSA Shrine)

The whole people gathered as one in the open space before the Water Gate, and they called upon Ezra the scribe to bring forth the book of the law of Moses which the LORD prescribed for Israel. On the first day of the seventh month, therefore, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak until midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. He opened the scroll  so that all the people might see it (for he was standing higher up than any of the people); and, as he opened it, all the people rose. Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered,  “Amen, amen!” Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground. As the people remained in their places, Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”– for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Hush, for today is holy, and you must not be saddened.” Then all the people went to eat and drink, to distribute portions, and to celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been expounded to them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (9ab) The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul;
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,
giving wisdom to the simple.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The command of the LORD is clear,
enlightening the eye;
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever;
The ordinances of the LORD are true,
all of them just.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb.
R. The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart.

Gospel Lk 10:1-12

Jesus appointed seventy-two other disciples whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, ‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shake off against you.’ Yet know this: the Kingdom of God is at hand. I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town.”


If you look at the history of our country, there was a time when children were dedicated by their parents. They say the eldest, if it's a boy, should become a priest. Out of gratitude to God, the first-born son must become a priest. The second must serve in the military, either in the army or as a policeman, to show gratitude to the country where they are. The third child should become a teacher. And the fourth child should serve in the medical world, either as a doctor or a nurse. Pero ngayon, wala na 'yon, wala nang ganoon. Wala nang pinagpapari, hindi ka yayaman diyan. (laughs) Walang nagpupulis, hindi ka yayaman diyan. Walang teacher, hindi ka yayaman diyan. What I am trying to say is that now, the choice is all about money....Money.....

The Gospel of today speaks of labor in the Church. If you ask people, they will always say, 'Oo nga, oo nga, kakaunti na lang ang nagpapari'. Puro 'oo nga'. Sino ang pinagpapari? 'Father, kunin mo ngang maging pari itong anak ko, kasi hindi ito makakuha ng trabaho, mahilig mambabae, inom nang inom'. Eh ano ang mangyayari sa simbahan natin kung ganyan ang mga kandidato natin, di po ba? (laughs) Pag sinabihan ko ang mga nanay na ang kanilang mga anak ay magpari, sinasabi nila sayang. Pag tinanong ko kung bakit sayang, sabi ng mga nanay guwapo, eh. So sino ang pinagpapari n'yo, pangit lang? (laughs) Marami kasi sa atin, pag nagsisimba, tinitingnan kung ano ang hitsura ng pari. Maganda pong pagtuunan ng pansin ito. We complain, but we don't want to contribute.

My dear friends, my dear brothers and sisters, to all mothers who are here.....when you go home tonight, if you have a child who is a boy, regardless of age, but not more than 40 (laughs), single....I want you put the Sign of the Cross on his forehead and tell him, 'Magpari ka'. Bahala na ang Diyos doon. Why am I saying this, especially to all mothers? If we can go to heaven by simply giving a glass of water to someone who is in need, do you think you will not go to heaven, by giving to the Lord your own flesh and blood?

I remember Bishop Soc had said that all mothers of priests go to heaven. Why? Because they have given their own flesh and blood. It's good to ask, my dear friends. Bakit nga ba napakahirap mag-alay ng anak para sa Diyos? Hindi naman inyo 'yan, di po ba? Recently, I just spoke with a nun. Sabi niya, kailangan niyang tumakas sa bahay, kasi hindi siya pinapayagan ng Tatay niyang mag-madre. Kailangan ba? Bakit? Masama ba 'yong pinapasok niya?

What have we become? Is money the only deciding factor in our life? We all know that we came in this world naked, and we will leave this world naked. We came with nothing, and we will leave nothing. As I always say, what is important is not what our hands can hold, but what our hearts can give.

At the end, we will be measured only in three things. First, we will be measured by the things we have done and how much love we have given. It is not enough that we do the right thing; we must do the right thing for the right reason. And love must be the reason. You may be doing good things, but if love is not the reason, then you will fail the exam.

Second, we will be measured by how faithfully we have lived our vocation. When we talk about vocation, it is not simply about priesthood or marriage or singleblessedness. It is living a life that is chaste and holy. How faithful am I with regard to my vocation? If I am married, how faithful am I to my marriage? If I am single, how chaste am I, as single? You don't have to sleep with somebody to commit adultery. Thinking maliciously about the other person is already committing adultery.

And third, we will be measured on how gracefully we let go of the things that are no longer ours. Youth will not be forever yours. Can you gracefully let go of this? Hindi 'yong pabanat kayo nang pabanat. (laughs)

My dear friends, my dear brothers and sisters, ask yourself. Everybody has a vocation. We were all born with a purpose. Please don't go to your death bed without knowing why you were born. That will be the saddest story of your life - if you die without knowing what your purpose is in life.

I go back to what I have said earlier. To all the mothers here, the children that God has given you is not yours. It is His. Whether it is a man or a woman, it is His. Give to the Lord what is due to Him. Pakisuyo lang, ibigay n'yo 'yong pinaka-guwapo. (laughs) For the love of the Church, give the best, for God deserves the best.