Campus Preaching

Feel the love of God through His words.

Third Sunday of Lent Lectionary 30

Gospel LK 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus said to them in reply, "Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them, do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"

And he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' He said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.'"

Gospel Reflection

Today is the third Sunday of Lent. Reading on today’s Gospel, I was reminded of the little girl who cried while asking Pope Francis the question why God lets bad things happen to innocent children. This happened during the visit of Pope Francis in 2015, specifically that one held at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila campus on January 23, 2015. If I remember it correctly, Pope Francis did not give a direct answer to the young girl’s question. Like Jesus, Pope Francis acknowledged the question politely, affirming her tears and telling her it is okay to weep. He further said that “only when one is able to weep about the things that one can one understand something or answer something”. Pope Francis viewed the question as unanswerable as he believes that the mystery of evil is beyond human comprehension and that only God has the wisdom to comprehend such.

When something bad happens, we always attribute it to something wrong done by someone. A lot of innocent, young children perished during typhoon Yolanda in 2015. Young Glyzelle Palomar witnessed how it happened and she was in a quandary as to why it happened for she very well knew that they have not done anything bad at all. As suffering is almost always associated with wrongdoing, most people equate it as a consequence of one’s negative actions. But this is not so with God as the Gospel today tells us that there is an antidote for sinners who committed sins – the sacrament of repentance. Our loving God is kind and merciful. And He will not allow evil to rule over us.

God doesn’t easily give up on sinners like us. This is the reason why Jesus instituted the sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. In the first paragraph of the Gospel today, Jesus mentioned the word “repent” twice to give emphasis on the importance of humility while acknowledging one’s faults, mistakes, sins, and wrongdoings. When one genuinely repents, God is pleased and He forgives the sinner. The second paragraph accentuated the extent by which God understands us. He is a God of second, third, and infinite chances. The gardener in the parable may be likened to God the Father who, through His Son, Jesus, cultivates and nourishes our souls so that we could bear good fruits just like the fig tree.

In closing, I pray that each one of us will give our complete faith and trust to our “Gardener” as we entrust our life to Him, submitting our will to His Supreme Will and have the forbearance to wait for our own fruition in His own appointed time.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 24 March 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Second Sunday of Lent Lectionary 27

Gospel LK 9:28B-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying, his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

Gospel Reflection

Today is the second Sunday of Lent or Transfiguration Sunday. Transfiguration is a word that connotes positive change, i.e., transforming into something better visibly or invisibly and make it more valuable.

While thinking on how I can relate the Gospel today with my life, I have to review, in retrospect, how things have shaped up in the recent past. The first thing that came to my mind was the institutional trip we had at Coron, Palawan about a year ago. I was captivated by the beauty of nature and the serenity of the place. What is unforgettable is the mountain hike at Mt. Tapyas. Initially I went up with a friend but since her knees won’t allow her to go further, she decided to just go down, so I was left all alone to do the footslogging. Instead of being disheartened, I looked at the opportunity as an excellent time to do some reflections. On my way up, armed with my rosary, I prayed the Luminous mysteries as it was a Thursday. I had a grand time praying and at the same time appreciating the beauty of the mountain. As I am so much afraid of heights, I remember Matthew 7:7 as I prayed that I will be spared of experiencing any form of dizziness. True enough, I was able to reach step #684 (of the 724 total steps to climb to reach the top) unscathed. I decided to stop as twilight has swiftly turned into murk signaling that it’s already nighttime. One thing more, the lamp posts that were supposed to illumine the path were switched off. Resting on a bench at step #684, I can still feel the majesty of the mountain with the cold mountain breeze touching my face and my whole being. I said to myself, indeed we have a wonderful God, who created this mountain.

Going back to the Gospel, I can relate to the 3 disciples of how awed they had been seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah. I did not see anything spectacular at Mt. Tapyas, but I felt so blessed having had the experience of climbing it. I believe there is really something sacred about mountains. Most significant biblical events happened on mountains like Mount Sinai and Mount Zion, but the most breathtaking one happened at Mount Tabor. Jesus’ transfiguration radiates to us as His followers. We may not be aware of it, but we all have our very own transfiguration experiences. How we react and how we become after the experience depends on our faith. Some are transformed to being better than before, and others are not as they refuse to surrender their will to that of the Great Creator, God the Father.

I close this reflection with fervent prayers for each one of us to have the willingness to open our heart to God’s invitation for us to be transfigured and be transformed according to our Father’s will. May each one of us be enriched and strengthened by the grace of God. Amen.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 17 March 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
First Sunday of Lent Lectionary 24

Gospel LK 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread." Jesus answered him, "It is written, One does not live on bread alone."

Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, "I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me." Jesus said to him in reply, "It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve."

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone." Jesus said to him in reply, "It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test." When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

Gospel Reflection

The Gospel for this 1st Sunday in Lent deals with the three temptations of Jesus as narrated by Luke.

Do we live to eat or do we eat to live? These are two different matters. Jesus’ first temptation has something to do with food. The devil tried attacking Jesus’ human, physical aspect – the need for food. Humans need food to eat in order to live. Having fasted for forty days, Jesus must be very hungry and weak during that moment of temptation. But He did not give in to the devil’s temptation. He resisted the command given by the devil and instead answered back with “Man does not live on bread alone.” The bread referred to in the first temptation may be translated to material possessions, including money. These modern times, the temptation to be lured into acquiring more than what we need to survive and live accordingly is always just anywhere. Social media has contributed a lot in shaping what people would want rather than what they really need. There is a great danger if we neglect to make the right choices or decisions based on wants. Prioritizing is important in making sound decisions. Being a disciple of Christ, our life should be patterned to the simple yet meaningful life of the Holy Family: simple yet rich in Spirit.

The second temptation concerns power. It is election time once again. Sad to say, some people run for office in the government not to serve but to have power. The same persons also go to such extent that necessitates elimination of their fellow candidates just so they’ll be assured of the position they are eyeing and the powers attached to it. What kind of power? At times, that which allows control over the powerless, creating an imbalance rather than equality in the society. These people run for office not to serve, but to be served. This is the exact opposite of why Jesus came, as indicated in Matthew 20:28 “Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The third temptation is for Jesus to jump from the parapet to prove his divinity. The devil this time is attempting to lure Jesus into putting God to test. But for the third time, Jesus rejected the devil’s invitation to give in and sin. There are times in our lives that we also encounter the same temptation as Jesus experienced, putting us in situations where we question God’s wisdom and thereby lose faith. This happens because we allow ourselves to decide on our own, failing to recognize God’s presence. The absence of humility and letting pride rule is tantamount to letting the devil rule over our lives and disrespecting God.

Temptations per se are not bad, as they are also necessary for one’s spiritual growth. When temptations are overcome, we grow in Spirit as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to submit our will to the Holy Will of the Father. This first Sunday of Lent, let us be one in praying to God for us to be filled with His Spirit and consequently, have a deeper relationship with Him.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 10 March 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary 84

Gospel LK 6:39-45

Jesus told his disciples a parable, "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye.

"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."

Gospel Reflection

Today is the eighth Sunday in Ordinary time. It is also the last Sunday before the Lenten season is ushered in with Ash Wednesday on March 6th. The Gospel this Sunday centers on good discipleship. How is it to be a good disciple? Jesus answered this question with three parables.

First, He spoke of the “blind leading the blind.” Obviously, if one has to lead, he must have sight. This means going beyond one’s physical attributes. Jesus’ message is deeper than physical blindness. If one has to lead another, he must not only be knowledgeable but he must be a person with a good or pure heart. It requires a good training, experience, and practice over a period of time to become a good follower. Discipleship doesn’t happen overnight. It requires enthusiasm on the part of the follower to do what is asked by the teacher. And it is only through constant practice and experience can one produce good works and deeds. When this happens, the follower becomes ripe, thus making discipleship result to leadership.

The second and third parables deal with hypocrisy and our relationship with one another. Hypocrisy or pretension drives people, more often than not, to conflicts. It is the instance where a person claims to be morally right when his or her very behavior doesn’t conform. It is easy for hypocrites to find faults in others but they become blind to their own inadequacies. Discipleship entails understanding of other people’s fault and shortcomings and the awareness and readiness to help those people overcome their shortcomings. Our genuine concern for our brothers and sisters should be the driving force to harmonious relationships with one another. The common good is the maxim that will guide us to have fruitful and healthy coexistence with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This Sunday’s Gospel is God’s gentle reminder for us on the importance of our relationship with Him and with one another through our discipleship. Each day I pray for transformation, that God lead me to learn more and more about Him, through my fellow beings, through prayers and reflections. Let us all take time to ponder on our relationships with pure humility and ask God’s grace be poured to each one of us.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 03 March 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary 81

Gospel LK 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples: “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic. Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Gospel Reflection

Having heard the words in our Gospel today, I can’t help but imagine, how many people would show their violent reactions when they hear the priest utter “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” While it is very normal to react violently if you’re emotionally agitated especially when you have been a victim of a wrong doing or a false accusation or maltreatment, what Jesus is telling us today is the contrary. From His point of view, you still have to be good, to do good, and even love your very enemies who have not treated you rightly even if the situation calls for you to retaliate or react negatively to get even.

A couple of years ago, I remember a very sad episode in my life. Then, I thought I was upholding the truth by way of the judicious manner I am executing my function. There were people who exerted efforts to blacken my character and there were lies told to discredit me. Initially, I felt I have been betrayed by the very same persons I’ve trusted for the longest time. I went to confession as I was really hurting. The confessor was puzzled how come I was confessing other people’s doing. I replied that I want to be liberated from the anger that is building up within me. After the confession, I was asked to pray for the very persons who hurt me. Initially, it was a difficult thing to do, but when you submit your will to that of the Father’s and let God’s love dominate your heart, praying and thinking of good things for them becomes easier and more natural. From my heart, I have forgiven those people who hurt me, even though they never asked for forgiveness.

For Jesus, the saying “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” is completely false, for He espouses agape love among His followers. God’s ways are naturally higher than our human ways, but Jesus invites us to react and respond the way He did. While on earth, He did lead by example, showing us to love, bless, pray, and offer forgiveness even to those people who do treat us unkindly. The maxim “To do unto others what you want others to do unto you” is the principle behind the Golden Rule. Jesus has clearly manifested this in His earthly ministry.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 24 February 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary 78

Gospel LK 6:17, 20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

Gospel Reflection

The Gospel this Sunday deals with Luke’s’ version of Jesus’ proclamation of the beatitudes. As we all commonly know, there are eight beatitudes during the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel, but for Luke, he cited four blessings for those who are 1) poor, 2) hungry, 3) weeping and 4) hated, excluded, insulted, and whose names are denounced as evil. Likewise, he also mentioned four woes to those who are 1) rich, 2) filled, 3) laughing, and 4) well-spoken of.

One must be wondering why Jesus considered the poor, the hungry, those who are weeping, and those who were hated, excluded, insulted, and denounced as evil, as blessed. For some people, they even feel cursed or simply unlucky to experience poverty, hunger, and all sorts of trials and tribulations in their lives. Normally, one doesn’t even feel good knowing someone or somebody loathes them.

The beatitudes are pathways to God’s Kingdom so they say. They are the guidelines by which people are invited to live as followers of Jesus with the end goal of reaching God’s kingdom not here on earth but to a place where God resides. It is our ultimate destination and the reward for the holy life God is inviting us to live on earth, placing our complete trust in Him alone.

It is the first beatitude cited by Luke that I can relate much to. During the early years of my life, despite the inadequacies, I feel so blessed having a good family where I grew up happily. I was given a Catholic education during my first 11 years in school, and another 4 years in a state university where I met a lot of people from all walks of life. It is in the state university where I learned to live life as it should be – that is, to live in TRUTH. I truly appreciate the interactions I had then with my fellow Iskolar ng Bayan as they have led me to a lot of discoveries about things I was not aware of, especially those pertaining to the different types of poverty our fellow Filipinos suffer from.
The challenge God poses to all of us today is for us to accept the call to holiness in our earthly mission in every aspect of our lives. By positively answering this call, we are not just pleasing God, but at the same time, it also strengthens our relationship with other human beings.

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 17 February 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 75

Gospel LK 5:1-11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, "Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." His astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Gospel Reflection

What is faith? I came across two definitions during my online search, first, it is the “complete trust or confidence in someone or something, and second, it is a “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof”. It is something that is not tangible but can be made tangible through a medium. Faith becomes visible when an action is done about it, just like what happened to Simon. Although he knew for a fact that it is futile to try to catch fish as what he experienced the night before, he still obeyed Jesus’ instructions the following day when he was told “to put out into the deep water and lower his net for a catch”. He obeyed Jesus and his obedience manifested his faith in Him. Simon chose to obey Jesus. His obedience is the manifestation of the great faith he has on Jesus. Impossible it may seem, with his complete trust and confidence in Jesus, the impossible becomes possible. He was able to catch fish, not just a small catch but a big one that he needed to call others to share his catch with.

Two years ago, a lump was found in my throat and the doctor at UST hospital referred me to the endocrinologist at the Capitol Medical Center for operation. I underwent several laboratory procedures and was given the verdict of a thyroidectomy. I found it so difficult to eat that is why I lost my appetite and I really thought it was my end, so I also lost faith. It was my Nanay who told me to pray more as she doesn’t want to bury me. She insisted that she’ll have to go first, not me. That statement of my mother struck me and led me to ask myself – why am I losing faith? I still wanted to live but what I’m doing is not leading to extending my life. Hopelessness is in itself a malady. Following my Nanay’s advice, I went to St. Luke’s for 3rd and 4th opinions. Lifting everything to God and letting His divine will be done unto me, I underwent laboratory procedures again. But this time, I had renewed faith and was in high spirits. The doctor in St. Luke’s declared that I need not have the thyroidectomy and my lump was gone. She can’t explain it but I know it’s the working of the good God I believe in. Putting my unwavering faith in God, I told God if it is His will for me to go, I will go. I’ll let go of my family and everything I love on earth and be with Him. “Your will be done unto me O Lord”, I prayed, and He responded according to His will.

The challenge for us fellow followers of Christ today is indicated in the final sentence of this Sunday’s Gospel – are we willing to leave everything and follow Jesus?

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 10 February 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary 72

Gospel LK 4:21-30

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:

"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, "Isn't this the son of Joseph?" He said to them, "Surely you will quote me this proverb, 'Physician, cure yourself,' and say, 'Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.'" And he said, "Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian."

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went away.

Gospel Reflection

When I was reading on this Sunday’s Gospel, I was reminded of two idiomatic expressions I learned from high school -“You can’t please everybody” and “Damn if you do and damn if you don’t”. These maxims simply mean making everybody happy is not possible no matter what you do. This is the very thing that happened to our Lord in the Gospel. Despite what He did, the miracles He performed, the curing of the multitude who were sick, the very people from his hometown were the ones who drove Him out of their town. They were at first in agreement, and were rather proud of Him being a Nazarene. But in the latter part of the Gospel, the very same people who admired Him were the ones who drove Him out of the synagogue.

In our own lives today, we are sometimes like the Nazarenes, who push Jesus outside our lives, especially during trials and tribulations. We do profess our faith with the same eagerness and zest as if it will last forever and ever. However, when problems beset us, we easily succumb to hopelessness, forgetting the very lessons Jesus taught us, focusing on the negative rather than on the love God offers to us and the hope that comes with it.

Since time immemorial, we have seen a pattern where God has offered His unconditional love to humankind, the kind of love that never fails and has been steadfast through the ages. He has sent prophets and even His very own Son to proclaim the Good News and the salvation that come with it. The problem is with the dwindling faith that people have. Trusting God completely entails hard work and sacrifice. By following Jesus’ examples of prayer, sacrifice, and genuine concern for our brothers and sisters, we are shaped into the being that pleases God, created in the image and likeness of God.

With humility, lets us all pray and ask God’s HELP in all we do.
H - Hear me Lord and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Psalm 86:1
E - Establish my steps in your word. Psalm 119:133
L - Let your compassion quickly meet our needs because we are on the brink of despair. Psalm 79:8
P - Protect me God because I take refuge in You. I say to the Lord, You are my Lord, apart from You I have nothing good. Psalm 16:1

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 03 February 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 69

Gospel LK 1:1-4; 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."

Gospel Reflection

Today is third Sunday in Ordinary Time and also the National Bible Sunday.

Luke unveils three things about Jesus in the Gospel today. First, that Jesus is anointed by the Spirit of the Lord; second, that Jesus was to bring good tidings to the poor, and third, He was sent to free the imprisoned, recover the sight of the blind, set free the oppressed, and proclaim the Lord’s year of mercy, where God will uplift the downtrodden. This is Jesus’ mission and ministry. His mission and ministry is not for Him alone as he invites us to share in His ministry. “How do we do share in his ministry?”, one might ask.

We need not do any supernatural thing or miracles as Jesus did in His ministry. But we can always give love and care for others unconditionally as Jesus did. We need not be materially blessed so we can share with others, as it is from the heart that we are able to share abundantly God’s grace and blessings. Being followers of Jesus, we are commissioned to share the good news and bring good tidings to the despised and the uplift those who are impoverished.

Extending help to those in need in whatever circumstance our brother or sister in Christ is in is putting into action the good news of this Sunday’s Gospel. Helping others in need with our whole mind and heart is submitting our will to that of our Creator. Such submission brings about great joy to the Lord.

It is only fitting to close this reflection with a small prayer from Psalm 25:4-5 - "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 27 January 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time Lectionary: 66

Gospel JN 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you”.

Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it. And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from — although the servers who had drawn the water knew — the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now."

Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Gospel Reflection

Today is the second Sunday in Ordinary Time. In the Philippines, we also celebrate a special feast today, that of the Santo Niño’s.

This Sunday, the theme of the Gospel centered on a wedding held at Cana in Galilee. Jesus, Mary, and the disciples were among the guests who were present at the wedding reception. It is during this occasion that Jesus performed His first miracle – turning water into wine. When Mary noticed that wine is running out, she approached Jesus and told him about the impending problem. Mary interceded in behalf of the newly-weds when she approached and asked Jesus for help. Initially adamant, Jesus obediently gave in to His mother’s request and asked the servants to bring him six jars of water. Jesus performed his first miracle, and voila! There is more than plenty of wine! While Jesus initially told His mother that it’s not yet his time, Jesus still performed the miracle - for him to reveal his glory, and for the disciples to believe in him.

Weddings are joyous occasions that families really look forward to attend and be part of. It is quite noticeable that during the wedding ceremony, only a few people attend but during the reception even unexpected people do show up to dine with the newly-weds. Almost always, the newly-weds are confronted with the question - Will there be enough food for everyone? Older people tell us that you have to seek God’s intercession as regards to this problem just like Mary when she noticed the wine running out. Mary prayed and Jesus answered her intercessory prayer with a miracle. Older people further tells us that prayers are offered during cooking so as to ensure that there will be more than enough to feed all the wedding guests. It was said that the cooks are silently praying while they are cooking. This may sound silly for some, but God will surely answer our pleas for help especially when it is for a good and selfless end. God can and will provide miraculously for our needs according to His Holy will.

Viva! Santo Niño! Happy feast day to one and all!

C.G. Santos
 
Date of Posting: 20 January 2019
Posted By: C.G. Santos

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