Saturday, November 04, 2017
31st SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
November 5, 2017 - 31st SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Mal 1:14b -- 2: 2b, 8-10 / 1 Thes 2: 7b-9, 13 / Mt 23: 1-12
FROM THE 2ND READING: 1 Thes 2: 7b- 9
On the contrary, we were gentle with you, as a nursing mother who feeds and cuddles her baby. And so great is our concern that we are ready to give you, as well as the Gospel, even our very lives, for you have become very dear to us. Remember our labor and toil; when we preached the Gospel, we worked day and night so as not to be a burden to you.
GOSPEL READING: Mt 23: 1 - 12
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sat on the chair of Moses. So you shall do and observe all they say, but do not do as they do, for they do not do what they say. They tie up heavy burdens and load them on the shoulders of the people, but they do not even raise a finger to move them. They do everything in order to be seen by people; so they wear very wide bands of the Law around their foreheads, and robes with large tassels. They enjoy the first place at feasts and reserved seats in the synagogues, and being greeted in the marketplace and being called 'Master' by the people.
"But you, do not let yourselves be called Master because you have only one Master, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Neither should you call anyone on earth Father, because you have only one Father, he who is in heaven. Nor should you be called leader, because Christ is the only leader for you. Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great."
"Napagbintangan lang ako," (I was wrongly accused), "Na-frame-up lang ako," (I was just framed up), these were common statements of many prisoners when I was one of the chaplains at the National Penitentiary. I guess no one would admit to his/ her own mistakes, I told myself as I listened to them.
As days and weeks passed by, as some began to trust me, they started to confide, "Meron po akong da!awang napatay, pero nakasuhan ho ako sa pagnanakaw," (I killed two men but I was charged for robbery); "Napasama po ta!aga ako sa mga gang," (Accidentally I was involved in gangs); "Aka/a ko po noon, masama lang mag-hold-up kung kapwa-Pi!ipino ang hinold-up mo;kung foreigner, okay lang," (I initially thought it was bad to hold-up a fellow-Filipino but not so, if a foreigner).
A memorable experience for me was the answer to what constituted true freedom, "Kapag natanggap mo ang tatoo mong katayuan, na nakakulong ka; mula doon, maaari ka nang simulang bumangon," (When you accept your real situation, that you are a prisoner; from there you can start anew).
Our Gospel reading today exhorts us to be humble, "Let the greatest among you be the servant of all. For whoever makes himself great shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be made great."
In this age of selfies and me-time, it seems unreasonable to be humble. When we humble ourselves, we make ourselves vulnerable for other people to take advantage of us.
The Gospel reading and stories I heard from prisoners, however, remind us that conversion and change happen only when we learn to humble ourselves and admit the truth about our own lives and condition, no matter how ugly and painful these may be. Only then will we recognize and admit our pretenses and be able to move forward.
We can pray for the grace to be humble and the grace to see ourselves as we truly are. We can reflect further on how our Lord Jesus, our Creator and Savior, knows, loves and takes care of us as we are, with all our weaknesses and difficulties, sufferings and pains.
WE PRAY FOR MTQ DAILY PRAYER INTENTIONS:
ANTON & CATHERINE J. SEVILLA
CZARINA & JEREMY GOTAMCO
JOSEF VINCENT & SOPHIA COCHIEN
PATRICK JEROME & SHARLYN ROSE YAO
PHILIPPINE BRITISH ASSSURANCE COMPANY INC.
IN MEMORIAM (†)
CHARLIE BUENAVISTA (JAN. 6, 1959 ·NOV 5, 2014)
BENITO S. CUA (NOV5, 1935·MAR. 4, 2003)
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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