September 1, 2013

The Gospel Today

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lk. 14:1, 7-14

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.

He told a parable to those who had been invited,
noticing how they were choosing the places of honor at the table.
“When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet,
do not recline at table in the place of honor.
A more distinguished guest than you may have been invited by him,
and the host who invited both of you may approach you and say,
‘Give your place to this man,’
and then you would proceed with embarrassment
to take the lowest place.
Rather, when you are invited,
go and take the lowest place
so that when the host comes to you he may say,
‘My friend, move up to a higher position.’
Then you will enjoy the esteem of your companions at the table.
For every one who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then he said to the host who invited him,
“When you hold a lunch or a dinner,
do not invite your friends or your brothers
or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors,
in case they may invite you back and you have repayment.
Rather, when you hold a banquet,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind;
blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.
For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan Cigaral):

    “When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you.  For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  This line from the Gospel brings me back to a Christmas memory with my family which happened years ago.  It was Christmas of 1994.  During that year I was a volunteer staff in a home for the aged, the sick and the abandoned in our diocese.  I, together with the other staff members of the nursing home, took care of the senile patients who had no family to take care for them.  In that nursing home, there also lived four children, two of whom were the children of a female patient who was suffering from late stage ovarian cancer, while the other 2 children were orphans.  Everyday, after I have completed my routines in attending to the needs of the patients, I would play with the kids.  It was really fun to play with them because it had brought out the child in me.

     Christmas was fast approaching that time and I thought to myself: How could the kids celebrate Christmas in a place surrounded by sick people?  I was thinking that Christmas is a season for little children to enjoy.  Then I thought of an idea that would surely be a delight to the kids and a surprise to my family as well.  I thought that it would be nice to share our home with the kids that Christmas.  Excitedly, I talked to the apostolate director of the nursing home who gave me the approval with no hesitations.  My family was so excited to meet the children as well.  True enough, when the children came to our house and saw the Christmas tree and the other decorations which my siblings and I specially prepared for them, they were in awe on what they saw.  The children had so much fun being with my family on that Christmas day.  But more than that, my family realized the importance of sharing our blessings to the less fortunate specially those little ones who deserve happiness this world could give them.

     The Gospel reminds me as a priest in process that my future ministry should exemplify the humility and generosity of God’s love.  I should be able to perform my ministry with an open heart and open hand to those in need.  My generosity should not only be to those who can return the favour, but even to those who are in dire need and have no capacity to payback the good that  I have done.

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