Posted by: cris | March 24, 2009

My Favorite Recipe – Sunday Gospel Reflections 15 March 2009

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe
Lent Week III, Year B
15 March 2009

Exodus 20:1-17 /// 1Corinthians 1:22-25 /// John 2:13-25

Names, whether of people or of companies, always have powers within.
Among the Jewish people, they always take serious considerations in giving names to their children because a person’s name is also his/her mission or calling in life like “Jesus” which means “God saves.”  For the Americans, names are indeed very precious that they always make it a point it would command respect and dignity;hence, they are baffled with us Filipinos when we name our children with “Boy” or “Baby” which are not really names per se!  Some foreigners could not also understand us Pinoys why we have to give names that sound like a joke like “Joc-Joc” or “Jun-Jun” or “Kring-Kring” ?
Sometimes we never take time to study the background of names we give our children especially if they sound very foreign and unfamiliar like my former students “Lenin Marx” and his younger brother who wants to become a priest, “Martin Luther.”  Worst, we also forget to check the spelling of foreign-sounding names we give our children like what happened with another former student of mine named “Penelaphy” instead of “Penelope,” the wife of Odysseus in Homer’s “Odyssey.”
But nothing beats what our former rector in high school seminary, Fr. Memeng used to tell us of a woman in Laguna named “Ms.. Pretty Nice Kagandahan” whose features he would always describe with a sour face.
“While He (Jesus) was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in His name when they saw the signs He was doing.” (Jn.2:23)
On this Third Sunday of Lent we discover a different kind of personality in Christ Jesus:  the Lord got angry and drove away from the Temple the traders and their tables and animals being sold.  Jesus was filled with passion for His Father’s house as noted by His apostles because He wanted it to cleansed of all impurities.  Soon after His Resurrection, Jesus’ words about the Temple would be fulfilled: “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (Jn.2:19)
In John’s Gospel account, this episode immediately follows His first miracle at Cana where He transformed water into wine.  John calls it as a “sign” or something pointing to a deeper reality.  Through this Temple incident, people have started to take cognizance of Jesus due to His many “signs.”  They have started believing in Him.
But this believing in Jesus, in His name has to deepen into a faith that is alive and vibrant, something truly personal and experiential.  The name of Jesus demands total allegiance from us, total faith from us in Him.  The very name “Jesus” has so much powers that when Dimas called out there on Golgotha “Jesus remember me when you are in your  kingdom,” the Lord replied, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.” (cf. Lk.23:39-43)
“To believe in the name of Jesus” means to believe in His Church, His body which is us, His followers. That is precisely the meaning of what He said about destroying the Temple because during His time, people believed that God dwells only wherever their Temple was.  With the coming of Jesus, He shows us that God can never be confined to a particular place and that we must “worship in truth and in spirit” (cf. Jn.4:21-26).  When we gather for the Holy Eucharist, we gather in the name of Jesus Christ because we fulfill His commandment to “do this in remembrance of Me.” Furthermore, when we share in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, we recognize His very presence with our brothers and sisters.  Again, as I have shared with you last year, we cannot separate our love, our faith, our belief in Jesus Christ from His Church.  Anyone who believes in Christ Jesus believes in His Holy, Catholic Church.
“To believe in the name of Jesus” means an intimacy with the Lord wherein we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that all our words and actions must emerge from our communion with Him as mirrored in our interpersonal relationships.
Perhaps you may be wondering why our first reading from Exodus is about the Ten Commandments?  This is to show us that our faith is not about rules and regulations or doctrines but about a God who relates with us in a very personal manner.  This He had made so intimate through Jesus Christ in His Church wherein we gather in His name. Therefore, to believe in the name of Jesus means to see Him with everyone personally.  Hence, the second commandment declares that “You must not take the name of the Lord, your God in vain.” (Ex.23:7)  What’s the sense of believing in God, of having faith in Him in a very intimate and personal manner when we could not treat others with respect and dignity?  Every time we cheat on our spouses, every time we betray our friends, every time we are unkind with others, we use the name of the Lord our God in vain.  Why call Him Father or Lord if after all, we refuse to recognize Him among our brothers and sisters?
Lastly, “to believe in the name of Jesus” means to become signs of God’s loving presence in this world filled with rivalry,violence, anger, and hatred. How can we heal all these pains of divisions among us and even within us?  Yes, this is easier said than done but there’s no other way but to love even to the point of being “foolish” and being “weak” as St. Paul noted in his First Letter to the Corinthians (1:22-25) today.
There is is really no way of explaining love because it is meant to be felt than understood; likewise, love is never meant to be a strength or power to dominate because it is about being enveloped or cocooned in its tenderness and warmth.  To love, simply put, is to just show it, period. That is what St. Paul meant in “proclaiming Christ crucified” wherein we radiate this love from God we have inside to others.
Remember our reflection last week about prayer being the little voice within us that calls each of us “my beloved child” like the voice in the Transfiguration heard by Peter, James and John “This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.” (Mk.9:7)
In this Season of Lent, we are asked to pray and fast so that we could hear the Father calling us His beloved like Jesus.  It is only when we hear and experience that call of being His beloved can we truly give alms and live out our faith in Jesus, the name above every other name.  Amen.
fr. nicanor f. lalog ll
santissima trinidad parish
malolos city 3000
bulacan, philippines

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