Wednesday, September 10, 2014
23rd Week in Ordinary Time
San Nicholas of Tolentine
1st Reading: 1 Cor 7:25-31
Gospel: Luke 6:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to his disciples, Jesus said,
“Fortunate are you who are poor, the kingdom of God is yours.
“Fortunate are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
“Fortunate are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
“Fortunate are you when people hate you, when they reject you and insult you and number you among criminals, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. Remember that is how the ancestors of this people treated the prophets.
“But alas for you who have wealth, for you have been comforted now.
“Alas for you who are full, for you will go hungry.
“Alas for you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Alas for you when people speak well of you, for that is how the ancestors of these people treated the false prophets.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel repeats the word “Alas!” Card players love this word because in card games “alas” is an ace card, a powerful card. But “alas” is not always a high-valued card in all games. In a card game called “piyat-piyat” alas is assigned the lowest value and spells misfortune to its holder. The moral is: be careful with your aces, especially if you are not aware of the kind of card game you are playing.
“Alas” may just be for you as the Gospel of today uses it: a curse. If you play the game of politicians, for example, thinking you are invincible because you have all the aces of power, influence and prestige, think again. Where God is the arbiter, the lowest value is assigned to these aces. These spell your destruction. Nothing is safe to lean on in this world. Only God is our strong foundation.
Today’s Gospel also uses the word “fortunate”. Considering that the word comes from “fortune”, the term is misleading. God’s children cannot submit their fate to the winds of fortune and the wings of sheer luck. The better term to use is “Blessed”, a fitting reminder that any advantageous position we enjoy in this world is God’s blessing and not product of luck. It makes sense to say “Blessed are you who cry now” because indeed sufferings are blessings if we know how to offer them to God. When we offer sufferings to God we make them sacred and derive bountiful blessings therefrom.
“Sacrifice” comes from two Latin words “sacrum” and “facere”. Both words taken together mean “to make sacred”. When we offer sufferings to God these sufferings turn into “sacrifices” and become for us sources of God’s blessings. In this sense those who know how to offer their sufferings to God in a spirit of sacrifice are truly blessed.
Those who play God’s game can safely rely on the aces of sufferings. Blessed truly are they who suffer now in the Lord, for in transforming these sufferings to sacrifices they merit eternal life. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, increase our faith so that even in sufferings we may have you as source of pure joy through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: San Nicholas of Tolentine. He was born at St. Angelo, Italy in 1245. As a young student he was appointed to a canonry in the Church of Our Savior. In Tolentine, a small town in the Papal States, he entered the Augustinian Order. Because of his humility he was sent to different monasteries and was eventually ordained priest.