Friday, October 11, 2013

Gospel Reflection

October 11, 2013
Friday – Year of Faith – Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Jomar Burgos, LRMS - Dean of Seminarians and Vocation Director, Lorenzo Mission Institute
12:15PM Mass, Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord (SM Megamall Chapel)

Reading 1 Jl 1:13-15; 2:1-2

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests! wail, O ministers of the altar! Come, spend the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! The house of your God is deprived of offering and libation. Proclaim a fast, call an assembly; Gather the elders, all who dwell in the land, Into the house of the LORD, your God, and cry to the LORD!

Alas, the day! for near is the day of the LORD, and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all who dwell in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming; Yes, it is near, a day of darkness and of gloom, a day of clouds and somberness! Like dawn spreading over the mountains, a people numerous and mighty! Their like has not been from of old, nor will it be after them, even to the years of distant generations.

Responsorial Psalm PS 9:2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9

R. (9) The Lord will judge the world with justice.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will declare all your wondrous deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, Most High.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
You rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
their name you blotted out forever and ever.
The nations are sunk in the pit they have made;
in the snare they set, their foot is caught.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.
But the LORD sits enthroned forever;
he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord will judge the world with justice.

Gospel Lk 11:15-26

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe. But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

“When an unclean spirit goes out of someone, it roams through arid regions searching for rest but, finding none, it says, ‘I shall return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings back seven other spirits more wicked than itself who move in and dwell there, and the last condition of that man is worse than the first.”


I do not see many students attending this mass because we have class outside, but even if most of us are not students, at least, most of us have been students. And as a student, I know that we are all familiar with what we call a deadline.

Deadlines are very famous in school. For example, our history teacher would assign us a research paper on a certain topic, say, World War II, and our teacher will tell us to submit it after one month. So we have to work on it for a month, and, therefore, the day that the paper is due is what we call the deadline. Those who fail to submit on time will be penalized, or would have to face the consequences. Either you fail the subject, or you get a low grade. However, we also know that in some rare cases, the teacher may also adjust the deadline and extend it a little bit.

We know that deadlines are not only given in the classroom. Deadlines are a part of our life. We catch the deadline, whether we are paying income taxes, submitting the budget for the company, submitting articles in the newspaper or magazine, or when we have to process our passports and visas when we travel abroad.

Going back to a student, what kind of attitude does a student have to possess when it comes to deadlines? Based on experience, I was not that faithful when it comes to deadlines. When my teacher tells us that we need to submit a project by the end of the semester, I'll be counting. I still have 4 months to make it. When one month passes, I tell myself that I still have 3 months to make it, then 2 months. And later on, I just find out that it is already 2 days before the deadline. And what happens? There is cramming. And what does cramming do to us? There is no quality in our work. And it also affects our health. Wala nang tayuan, wala nang tulugan. The quality is affected because of cramming.

Why am I saying all of these things? It is because the First Reading, which is taken from the book of the prophet Joel, also speaks of a deadline. Hindi lang po siguro natin narinig ang term na 'deadline'. Who is the prophet Joel? He was the last prophet in the Old Testament. And in the First Reading, he tells his contemporaries that God has set a limit for them to be converted. And he calls the deadline 'the day of the Lord'. The day of the Lord is coming, therefore, they have to change their ways, they have to live their life to the fullest.

The prophet Joel was speaking to the people from the Southern part of Israel. During that time, the kingdom of Israel was divided into two - the Northern part, which is Samaria, and the Southern part, which is Judah. The prophet Joel was speaking to the people of Judah, because at that time, the Samarians were already captured by the Assyrians, so the prophet Joel was telling the people of Judah that if they will not change their ways, the same thing will happen to them. He warned them that there is an impending judgment from God, because Joel realized that the people already forgot God, and they were living evil lives.

In our Gospel today, we are also being reminded that the Kingdom of God is at hand. So what are we supposed to do? We should repent and believe in the Gospel. It is the same thing.

Therefore, today, we are called to be like students. Not the cramming students, but the good ones. Because when a good student hears the deadline, he listens and acts immediately. Just like us, we always hear the Word of God. But do we take it seriously? Yes, we hear in the Gospel that we should forgive and love our enemies, but do we follow it? Do we act on it? When the priest, during the mass, tells us, 'Let us offer each other the sign of peace', madaling gawin 'yan sa kaliwa. Pero sa kanan, pag nakita mong kaaway mo o kasamaan mo ng loob ang taong iyon, kaliwa na lang uli - 'Peace be with you.' (laughs) We cannot forgive, but that is what the Gospel tells us.

A good student, a good Christian, a good disciple, is someone who not only listens to the teachings of the Lord, but also acts on them. If the prophet Joel appears to us now and says the day of the Lord is near, would we be rattled? Will we be cramming? Or will we be relaxed? Tapos ko na 'yan. I have been doing that ever since. Hopefully, we can say we are relaxed. Today, let us ask the Lord that every time we hear his Word, we try to listen with seriousness of heart, and act on them. Amen.