Saturday, January 24, 2009
FEAST, CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
FEAST, CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
3RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
JONAH 3:1-5, 10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah, saying: "Set out for the great
city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you."
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the LORD's
bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days
to go through it. Jonah began his journey through the city, and had
gone but a single day's walk announcing, "Forty days more and Nineveh
shall be destroyed," when the people of Nineveh believed God; they
proclaimed a fast and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way, he
repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them; he did not
carry it out.
1 CORINTHIANS 7:29-31
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out. From now
on, let those having wives act as not having them, those weeping as
not weeping, those rejoicing as not rejoicing, those buying as not
owning, those using the world as not using it fully. For the world in
its present form is passing away.
After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the
gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is
at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." As he passed by the Sea
of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets
into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, "Come after me,
and I will make you fishers of men." Then they abandoned their nets
and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the
son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They too were in a boat mending
their nets. Then he called them. So they left their father Zebedee in
the boat along with the hired men and followed him.
Whenever there are unusual things that happen around the world, like a
series of natural or man-made catastrophes, it is not surprising to
hear some people assume it is the end of the world. Such predictions
bring about anxiety and fear. It sends many trooping to Churches and
going to confession. However, we know that such imminent "end of the
world" scenarios do not happen.
In the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, Paul expects the
imminent return of Christ, the full establishment of God's reign, and
the end of the world. Because of this warning, it is foolhardy to
treat the transitory as if it were permanent. The passage does not
suggest an "other world" stance or a "do nothing" attitude. Yet our
attention and efforts must be riveted or focused on the "higher
things", the true reality and not become immersed in that which is
temporary and passing. The fact that the Second coming of Christ did
not arrive as expected does not make it less important to the
Christian faith. At some point, Christ's triumph and victory over evil
will be definitely evident; the present order of things will cease.
Christ will hand the church back to the Father.
Today's second reading from Corinthians reflects, then, the sense of
urgency found in the first and Gospel readings. In the first reading
from the Book of Jonah, Jonah exhorts the people of Nineveh to repent
or else they will be destroyed. With this threat, the king immediately
ordered everyone including himself to make sacrifices as evidence of
their contrition. Because of this, the destruction of Nineveh did not
In today's Gospel, Jesus calls for conversion for all of us as he
announces that the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in
Him, the Good News. In order to help him fulfill his mission, Jesus
then summons companions like Peter, Andrew, James, and John who
immediately left everything. They left their very livelihood for a
more important endeavor in life.
What can we learn from today's beautiful readings?
First, we should not believe in those people who come up with the "end
of the world" predictions. It brings about unnecessary anxieties and
fear. Scriptures has it that it is only God the Father who knows when
the end will come. Since this is something beyond our control, it is
better not to become anxious and fearful about it. Instead, let us
heed the warning of Paul who challenges us to set our hearts and minds
to things that are eternal. We should channel our energies to reflect
on things of lasting value, like love and relationships.
Second, the apostles responded immediately to the call of Jesus. All
of us need conversion. No matter what kind of lives we are leading, do
we open ourselves to the promptings of the Holy Spirit who never tires
in knocking at the door of our hearts? Do we feel restless and open
our ears hoping to hear what Jesus has to say? Is there anything at
the moment that prevents us from responding with urgency to be more
Christ-like in our attitudes and actions? Are we too proud to forgive
those who have hurt us so deeply and badly? Are we too selfish that we
cannot share it with those who lack the basic necessities?
Perhaps, it seems more accurate to say that time is running short. It
is never too late to examine and reflect, and make the necessary
changes which will allow us to respond more urgently to the call of
Christ. Now is the time. Do not delay. If the apostles were able to
leave everything to follow Christ, let us hope that we too will be
given the strength and courage to do so. This action of the apostles
was not a once and for all decision. Living with Jesus, they
constantly purified their motivations until finally; they were able to
fully understand the meaning of that call. It resulted in their
passion and death. But Jesus kept true to his word in granting them
Let us ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment. May the Holy Spirit help
us reflect on the things of lasting value. May we have the courage and
perseverance to respond with urgency to the call of Christ to become
more like him in our lives.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Christy Chin
- Boy Afable
- Sophia Gonzalez
… for the personal intentions of Ryan V. and Edu O.
… for the eternal repose of the soul of Daniel Qui. Eternal rest grant
unto him and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he and all the
dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Virgilio Catunao
- Birthday: Pres. Corazon Aquino
- Wedding Anniversary: Benita Jr. & Maricel Tan
… for the healing and peace of all families
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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