In one of our parish anniversary celebrations, I was tasked with overseeing the liturgy and other preparations for the mass to be presided over by our Archbishop. My mindset then was to give the bishop the best of our hospitality and reverence, that is why I wanted everything to be seamless and perfect. As we were waiting for his arrival, I saw an old man entering the church. I knew that he was mentally challenged because he keeps on coming to the church to ask for alms. That time, I was afraid that he might make a scene, so I hastily gave him some coins and tried to send him away. However, he insisted to stay and told me he just wanted to see the bishop. At this point, I asked the help of altar servers to send him away.
In today’s gospel, the people do not seem to recognize the magnanimity of Jesus’ presence among them. They seek for signs while God is amongst them. They do not realize that there is something greater than the signs they are seeking – JESUS; the Word made flesh, the fulfillment of God’s promise. Often, I am blinded by my perception of God’s presence. Whenever I think of a ‘God experience’, I think of something spectacular, extraordinary, etc. I am too preoccupied with my own ways of worship and service to God that is why I fail to see Christ in the faces of the poor and the needy. I forgot that at the heart of the Gospel is a message of charity to all men. When I sent the old man out of the parish, I felt like having rejected Jesus. I was too preoccupied with trying to please the bishop, unmindful that I had mistreated a poor old man. Perhaps it would not have been a big deal if I let him stay and the bishop might even be delighted to interact with him. The gospel’s invitation for me is to recognize the divine in every human face in such circumstances, to recognize that of which is something greater—CHARITY.
By. Sem. Paulo O. Magistrado
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,
“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”