October 27, 2014

The Gospel Today

Monday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 13:10-17 

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

Reflection (Sem. Ramon Jamora, Jr.):

One of the topics that I really appreciate in any recollection or retreat is about reconciliation. My first experience of this kind was in high school. I was in my fourth year then. The activity was to write a letter for the parents. The letter was to contain those which we can’t personally say to them. I remembered writing to my father, since my mother was in the United States during that time. Because I was a stubborn child, I simply apologized for the many times I have failed them. Most often, I only attended two to three days of classes a week. I was smoking even after so many times of being told not to. I was sleeping over friends’ house even without their permission. I have caused worries and sleepless nights to them. These were just few of the many instances which I wrote in my letter. I saw him crying while he was reading the letter. One line which I could not forget was telling him how a failure I was as a son for not being able to give them what they deserved and to have failed them in my academics. I knew that my parents were expecting too much from me and have always believed in my capacity to excel but I failed them. I have opted to follow what I wanted and what made me happy, cutting classes and being with my friends.

After reading the letter, we hugged and reconciled. I couldn’t remember the words he told me. What was left in my memory was the hug that he gave me. It was more than words, it was the greatest assurance I got from him.

My experience with my father was not the only time which I felt reconciled. In the youth ministry, where I was very active before; one of the spiritual preparations was to go to confession. To me, it included being reconciled with those whom I have hurt. In one of my preparations, I remembered offending my best friend. The reason behind his hurt was that I told his girlfriend of his past relationships. Unfortunately, it became the source of their misunderstanding and ended to a fight. I was rejected by my best friend and by his girlfriend. Since it was the time of my preparation, I went to them and asked for an apology. They listened to me and we were reconciled. It seemed too trivial but it was a moment when I felt relieved from a burden. The two occasions which I have shared are some of the moments which I felt relief. They were to me very memorable experiences which transformed me and had given me strength to humble myself before those whom I have hurt. Saying sorry was a very difficult and burdensome thing to do. Just the thought of it made me lose my energy. But knowing and experiencing the end result of being relieved, happy, and reunited, I now see its relevance in my life and it is best to always be reconciled and reunited.

In the Gospel, Jesus wanted the woman to be relieved of her infirmity and to experience physical joy. I believe that the message of Jesus is for us to experience healing and relief through Him. Though the woman’s infirmity was caused by an evil spirit, it is perhaps the same as the burdens, pains, and conflicts that we have. Jesus in the Gospel is simply inviting us to go to Him, to receive Him, and to be reconciled with Him. We, as Catholics, are invited every Sunday, the Lord’s day, to receive Jesus not only because the law says so but hopefully because of our love for Him.

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