2nd Sunday of Lent
March 12, 2017
Listen to Him!
Mt 17: 1 – 9
A mother was showing off her baby to her best friend. “Look at him! Isn’t he the exact copy of his father?” asked the proud mother. “Yes,” replied the friend. “But don’t worry about that. As he grows older, he will probably change and look better.”
Jesus is the perfect reflection of the heavenly Father. When Philip asked to see the Father, Jesus replied: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” (Jn 14: 9 – 10). In short, Jesus is the visible presence of the Father in the world. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, the voice of the heavenly Father was heard on two occasions. The first was during the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the other one was on Mount Tabor during his transfiguration. Interestingly, His words were identical: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
It is very important to note that the heavenly Father’s last words were imperative: “Listen to him.” Jesus is not just the perfect reflection of the Father; He is the Torah, the Law of God personified. He should be listened to and obeyed faithfully. The appearance of Moses, representing the Law, and Elijah, representing the Prophets, confirms this. Listening to Jesus is not only with our ears, but also with our heart and our will, which effectively leads to complete and unconditional obedience to God.
Three elderly men were playing golf one afternoon. They had difficulty with the game due to the strong wind. The first one remarked, “It is windy, isn’t it?” The second replied, “No. It’s already Thursday!” And the third one agreed, “Yes, I’m thirsty too! Let’s go get some beer.”
It is reported that many people nowadays have hearing problems. One obvious reason is their constant exposure to loud noise and music. But worse still, many people are not willing to listen to one another. They prefer to live in their own little worlds, mostly thanks to the high-tech gadgets stuck in their ears all the time, unmindful of the outside world.
But the worst of all is that many people are not anymore willing to listen to God and His teachings. This has serious consequences, not only in our personal lives but also in the life of the world. The rapid spread of the culture of death is the natural consequence of not heeding the teachings and commandments of God.
People have constantly ignored the commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery”. It resulted in the weakening of the institution of marriage and family through the no-fault divorce. “Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% to 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce” (cf. “Marriages, Families and Intimate Relationships,” by B. Williams, et al.). The sharp increase in the number of broken homes and of confused and emotionally disturbed children and the spread of AIDS are the bitter fruits of this sexual revolution.
People have not followed the commandment, “Thou shall not steal”. Hence, massive theft, corruption and cheating became institutionalized in governments and business corporations, leading to financial meltdown and economic disaster. Crimes against life and property are the fruits of economic poverty and political instability.
And because people have continuously disobeyed the command, “Thou shall not kill”, killing has become acceptable and legal in most parts of the world – death penalty, euthanasia, and abortion. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, there are over 3,300 abortions per day in the U.S. alone – about 1.2 million every year. There have been almost 60 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973. And worldwide, there are 42 million abortions every year. That means roughly 115,000 babies killed every day. Yet many people, especially those influenced by the contraceptive mentality, are impervious to this horrific genocide and obstinately claim that abortion is the right of every woman.
How long will people go on ignoring and disobeying God, and further inflict irreparable damage to ourselves and to the world?
The world is still in shock at the triple catastrophe in Japan – earthquake, tsunami and a possible nuclear meltdown. The epicenter of the earthquake was the city of Sendai. But unknown to many, less than 90 miles to the north of the epicenter is the town of Yuzawa, the site of an apparition of Mary in 1973, now known as Our Lady of Akita. Despite its proximity to the epicenter, the city of Akita sustained significantly less damage than other parts of northern Japan. The little statue of Our Lady of Akita, two years after the apparitions and messages, began to emit tears and drops of blood for more than six years.
In one of her messages to the visionary, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa, the Blessed Mother said, “If men do not repent and better themselves, God the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the (biblical) flood, such as never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church, in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises, and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.” (cf. Catholic News Agency, March 12, 2011).
Unless we turn back to God, the future is bleak and scary beyond description. The heavenly Father’s voice once again comes to us more urgently: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Listen to Jesus! Are we listening now?
Let these forty days of Lent be a time for serious examination of our hearts and souls. May the Lord grant us a humble and contrite spirit and lead us on the road to conversion and new life as children of the heavenly Father. May we remain truly pleasing to Him at all times.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
Palmera Springs 3, Susano Road
Camarin, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1422