Thursday, January 7, 2021

Build a Monument

 Build a Monument

Some lines from the poem "A Priest Is Always Wrong Because..." come to me as I reflect on today’s readings: 

If he begins his Mass on time, his watch is advanced; if he begins a minute later, he keeps people waiting; 
If he preaches too long, he makes people get bored; if his homily is too short, he is unprepared.
If he is young, he has no experience; if he is old, he should retire.

The point of the poem is in the last line:

As long as he lives, there will always be someone to criticize than him. But if he dies, there is no one to replace him.

In today's Gospel, Jesus went home to Nazareth. He went into the synagogue and proclaimed a passage from Isaiah that read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me..." He ended it with a personal declaration, "Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." Then it ended with people asking one another, "Isn't this Joseph's son?"

Those words were uttered with sarcasm and disbelief that a local boy so familiar to them is now styling himself as a prophet. Noticing their malice, Jesus would later declare, "Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown." Haters will always hate. Bashers will always bash. In the Philippine social media, bashing has become an art. In fact, we have made it into a profession.

It’s a good thing Jesus did not care about the number of likes His sermon gathered. He is not even bothered when people turn away from Him when He delivers a teaching difficult to accept (see John 6:66). His self-esteem was not dependent on public perception. I guess Jesus lived by this principle: When people throw stones at you, don’t throw them back. Gather them and build a monument.

He teaches because He has a message to deliver (that is a prophet), not because He has to deliver a message (a pleaser). Fr. Joel Jason

reflection question
Are you a prophet or a pleaser?

Consecrate me in the truth, O Lord, and strengthen me to proclaim it. Amen.

Today, I pray for: ____________________________________________________

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