November 25, 2014

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

Reflection (Sem. Jonathan T. Cigaral):

            “See that you do not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’  Do not follow them!”

            How do we distinguish between a false prophet and a real one?  Sometimes, especially nowadays when information technology can easily provide almost everything one has to know, people can be very convincing in proclaiming their words.  Just go to the World Wide Web, one can quickly get pieces of information which he or she can deliver in public.  Every Sunday, one can see different people proclaiming the Word of God on TV and fair enough to say most of them are great public speakers.  But how do we know who really is the one authentically proclaiming the Word of God?

            In an interview of Abraham Skorka, an Argentine rabbi, with our beloved Pope Francis on the topic about religious leaders, the Pope said that “The great leaders of the people of God were men that left room for doubt.  Moses being the most humble character there was on earth.  Before God no one else remained more humble than Moses did.  Those who wants to be a leader of the people of God has to give God His space; therefore to shrink, to recede into oneself doubt, with the interior experiences of darkness, not knowing what to do, all of that ultimately is very purifying.  The bad leader is the one who is self-assured, and stubborn.  One of the characteristics of a bad leader is to be excessively normative because of his self-assurance.”

            Here in Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, I, together with the other seminarians, am being honed based on the four pillars of formation: Community, Academics, Spirituality, and Apostolate.  These pillars are significant in holistically molding us to be the priest that we ought to be in the future.  We go through six years of intensive priestly formation.  However, despite the scrupulousness and rigorousness of the formation, it is not conclusive to say that once ordained, we are fully knowledgeable of the mystery of God’s existence and that we can confidently say that he knows God 100%.   Nobody can ever claim or be boastful with his knowledge, no matter how intelligent that person is, that he fully knows God.  Pope Francis in the book “On Heaven and Earth” said that “When a person is self-sufficient, when he has all the answers to every question, it is a proof that God is not with him.  Self-sufficiency is evident in every false prophet, in the misguided religious leaders that use religion for their own ego.”

            The Gospel is a reminder to everyone about the virtue of humility.  All of us have that option to choose an attitude of humility.  It is a mental choice, a decision not to focus on self but on the other person.  It is always having that mind set of being a servant, that the master is always greater than the servant.  Standing before God, I am nothing.  Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians said “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interest of others.”         

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