The Gospel Today
Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Lk 4: 31-37
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the Sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
Reflection (Sem. Eldrick S. Pena)
“No prophet is honored in his own country…” As I reflect on today’s gospel, this line struck me the most. I want to relate this with the Filipino attitude of “crab mentality”. Just like crabs, sometimes, we do not want to see people progress and become higher than us and if given the chance, we will pull them down especially if the person is someone whom we know, because we grew up together and walked the same street and ate the same food together. This is especially true in a neighborhood where everyone seems to know anyone. If a person becomes successful, the person will be the talk of the town, “I couldn’t believe that Maria has become so rich… maybe, she’s got a DOM sponsor”, “What? Pedro has become a priest? You’re kidding!” “How come Edgar is now the provincial engineer? He just copies my assignments in Mathematics when we were in high school.” How we belittle other people’s capacities and these boil down to just one thing – Our ego! Our sensibility is hurt because we see someone who has accomplished more than we do. We become envious and would harbor negative thoughts about the person. But the question is who are we punishing if we do so? – No one but our own selves.
Today, Jesus is inviting us to be contented with our own accomplishments / un-accomplishments and be happy for what others have accomplished for themselves. Let Jesus be the center of our lives and become a prophet of peace and healing for everyone. With Jesus, we will experience joy even in times of failures and difficulties because Jesus is more than anything this world can offer. Let us begin our journey towards fullness of life in our Lord Jesus Christ!