January 20, 2015

The Gospel Today

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Mark 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
Reflection (Sem. Mark Ian V. Abu):

Be charitable; give until it hurts no more. Before I entered the seminary, I had the privilege to work as a volunteer in the Social Action Commission of the Archdiocese of Lipa. One of the activities of the commission is the Alay Kapwa, providing either financial or medical assistance, given freely to the poor who avail of the program. I do remember an instance when I requested for a special meeting with the priest director and the other staff to talk and plan for the many poor people who were coming to the center. My initial plan, then, was to have an organized way of giving the service to the people especially to those who come and ask for assistance everyday. I was telling the priest director that many poor people were cheating us already and almost all the members of the family avail for the assistance. My director just answered me with a question; “Do we have enough for all of them?” “Yes Father”, I replied, “We have more than enough but we have to secure some for the others who might come and ask for help”. He told me, “Brother we give until we have and do not worry of the days that are yet to come. These things are not ours, we are just dispensers of all these for the poor people”.

Jesus and his disciples in today’s Gospel are being accused of doing something against the Law of Moses, pertaining to the observance of the Sabbath. The Pharisees were telling Jesus that what his disciples were doing, which is picking the heads of the grain to eat was not allowed on Sabbath. Jesus told and explained to them, through the story of King David, that providing the basic needs of the people are more important than any rule or law. He said that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. In these words He wanted the Pharisees to understand that doing good on that day can go beyond all the rules and norms of the Sabbath. The welfare of man is more important than the law that pertains to the proper observance of something. The good and benefit of man should be considered more than anything else.

I was struck by that attitude of my director. All those times I was preoccupied of planning in order to have a nice way of distributing the help. I was stuck in the idea that people were cheating us already. I was just thinking of the rules to be followed and neglected the condition of the people who were asking for help. I was serving under the Alay Kapwa program but I was uncharitable to the people who should be the beneficiary of all those help. That experience gave me a different way of treating and helping the poor. It was clear that I was not hitting the right thought of helping others.

Here in the seminary there are no poor people like those whom I was helping before. Yet the call to be charitable is still a great invitation. There are instances that I live my life here against charity. When I just laugh at other’s mistakes, when I easily judge their wrongdoings, when I neglect to care and show concern to them, when I just think of my own good. These are just some of the many moments when I do not live charitably. The Gospel is inviting me to renew my desire of following Jesus and faithfully imitate the way He lived his life here on earth, that is, being charitable to everyone.

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