Friday, October 4, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 04, 2013
First Friday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi
by Rev. Fr. Joseph “Joey” Faller (Spiritual Director of the Kamay ni Hesus Healing Center, Lucban, Quezon Province)
12:15PM Mass at the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Bar 1:15-22

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed: “Justice is with the Lord, our God; and we today are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him. We have neither heeded the voice of the Lord, our God, nor followed the precepts which the Lord set before us. From the time the Lord led our ancestors out of the land of Egypt until the present day, we have been disobedient to the Lord, our God, and only too ready to disregard his voice. And the evils and the curse that the Lord enjoined upon Moses, his servant, at the time he led our ancestors forth from the land of Egypt to give us the land flowing with milk and honey, cling to us even today. For we did not heed the voice of the Lord, our God, in all the words of the prophets whom he sent us, but each one of us went off after the devices of his own wicked heart, served other gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord, our God.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 79:1b-2, 3-5, 8, 9

R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
O God, the nations have come into your inheritance;
they have defiled your holy temple,
they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.
They have given the corpses of your servants
as food to the birds of heaven,
the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the earth.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
They have poured out their blood like water
round about Jerusalem,
and there is no one to bury them.
We have become the reproach of our neighbors,
the scorn and derision of those around us.
O LORD, how long? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
R. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

Gospel Lk 10:13-16

Jesus said to them, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum, ‘Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld.’ Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”


There are cities and places mentioned in the Bible that are in our Gospel for today. Among other things, we heard about Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Tyre and Sidon. All of these places, the Lord called 'woe'. In other words, sawimpalad, malas.

Let us take a look at each of these places. Capernaum is the birth place of St. Peter. You can find the synagogue there, and this is the missionary base of the Lord during his Galilean ministry. When I went to Jerusalem, I can only visualize how active was the Lord during His time, teaching in the synagogue, healing people and bring the Good News to them. What about Bethsaida? Bethsaida is the place where the multiplication of the two fish and the five loaves of bread took place. It is also the birth place of the Apostle Philip, whom we can call the messianic adviser. Chorazin is the place where the seat of Peter was preserved. These places are all religious. But this time, there is no more blessing for them. The Lord said, 'Woe to you Chorazin, woe to you, Bethsaida'.

I can compare this to our country. Our country is called the 'Pearl of the Orient', and the only Catholic nation in Asia. We are very close to the Blessed Mother, and many miracles have happened to us. Our country enjoys the status of being able to dethrone our Government by non-violent means, through prayer and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. Maybe the Lord can also say, 'Blessed are you, Philippines. You are close to My heart. You love the Eucharist.' In fact, there are 3,000 masses being held simultaneously today, on First Friday, only in the Philippines. But we are number 6 in corruption in Asia, and number 27 in the whole world (from number 33). Sunod sunod din ngayon ang scandal sa pork barrel, ang pork barbecue, pork siomai (laughs). Ngayon meron pang DAF, PDAF, hold-up, kidnap (laughs), and so many cases of plunder. And I think we really need a change of heart.

Minsan po, kami pong mga pari, sa aming pagse-sermon, nagtatanong po kami, 'Ito bang ginagawa natin - talking about the Good News, talking about the Bible, talking about new life - parang wala yatang epekto sa ating society. Para bang ang salita ng Diyos ay hindi masyadong napapagnilayan. Sapagkat kung tunay ang Salita ng Diyos at ito ay mayroong epekto sa buhay ng tao, dahan-dahang mawawala ang corruption, dahan-dahan sigurong uunlad ang ating bayan at magkakaisa tayo. The Word of God is so powerful that it can unite people, heal divisions and broken relationships, and can make our relationship with God strong and steadfast.

In celebrating the Feast of Saint Francis of Assissi today, napakasarap po sigurong mag-'Assissi' ng kasalanan. Siguro, ito din po ang mensahe ngayon ng Panginoon. Napakaganda ng buhay ni St. Francis of Assissi. Literally, hinubad niya ang karangyaan sa harapan ng kanyang Tatay to become a beggar for the Lord. Later on, St. Francis gave his own life to the poor, living for God all his life, totally dependent on the Lord.

Ang buhay ni St. Francis ay makikita natin sa napakaganda niyang awitin. 'Make me an instrument of Your peace...If there is hatred, let me sow love....If there is injury, your pardon, Lord....It is in giving that we receive, it is in dying that we are born to eternal life....' Napakaganda po ng kanyang awiting ito. At sana po, mapagnilayan natin na tayo po ay maging instrumento din ng kapayapaan, pagkakaisa, pagkakabuklod-buklod, at tunay po tayong mamuhay nang simple, sang-ayon sa kalooban ng Diyos.

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis, may we put God at the center of our life. May we put God as the Pearl of Great Price. Siya po ang tunay na kayamanan ng ating buhay. If we have Jesus in our hearts, if we have Jesus in our family, then we can be considered the richest people in the world. Sabi ng matanda, ang perang galing sa bula-bula ay madaling nawawala. Pero ang perang pinaghirapan, 'yan po kailanman ay hindi mauubos, madodoble pa - siksik, liglig at umaapaw na pagpapala.

May this celebration of our mass today give us the inspiration to look further. Siguro po ito ang hamon sa ating bansa - that we may seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto us. Unahin natin ang Diyos, at kapag siya na ang ating Kayamanan, the more we will be blessed, because we have found the Pearl of Great Price. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.