October 4, 2020 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100420.cfm)
For pasalubong, a madre once bought a box of munchkins from dunkin doughnut. While waiting for their flight, a family sat beside her at the pre-departure area. Giving in to her cravings for sweets, the sister took a munchkin from the box, and enjoyed eating it. Suddenly, from the same box the little boy also took and ate one. She did not mine at first, thinking the boy must be hungry. But then, the ate also took and ate one. This has upset the madre but she just ignored it and took one for herself. But then so did the nanay and tatay. This really irritated her that she glared at the family who was consuming the rest of the munchkins. But what really infuriated her was when the nanay took the last munchkin and offered it to her. Now indignant and so enraged, the sister stood up and changed her seat. But later on, when she opened her tote bag to get her purse, she saw, much to her embarrassment and shame that inside her bag was her own box of munchkins unopened. “Opps, hindi pala kanya yon.”
Sometimes it is good to examine and ask ourselves: “What are the things that we claim as being rightly ours and yet are not truly ours?” This may not only be material possessions but could also be our status in society used to lord over others… titles used for personal advantages, prejudices and biases harbored towards others… or self-righteous behaviors that makes us feel morally better or more privilege or important than others. Sometimes, we are not different from that madre. We sometimes claim these privileges, which do not really belong to us, that we come to think and believe that they are only ours to own. Worse, we are sometimes greedy enough to claim that we are the rightful owners of the munchkins and it is only us to have and enjoy.
Certainly Jesus would not tolerate and justify such behavior of distinctiveness, self-righteousness, greed and conceit. This is what Jesus criticizes here in our gospel today.Tweet
By telling us the parable of Ungrateful Tenants, he reminds us that God has already done His part for our salvation, and that we should also do our part. And our part is not to hoard, accumulate and own all the blessings He has given us but to produce its fruits and share it with others. Here, Jesus strongly condemned the Pharisees and scribes of his time and warns us of our tendency to be so pre-occupied with honor, recognition, privileges, titles, and social status – thinking and claiming that we are greater compared to others, and much worse, even resorting to greed, fraud, and murder, (pangdaraya, kaswapangan at pagpatay) in order to protect and maintain such claim.
For Jesus, the Kingdom of God is wider than our human standards of social status and privileges. He reminds us today that we are not the rightful owners but mere tenants, sharers, benefactors or stewards of God’s graces. We cannot exclusively claim ownership and privilege for what we have, because everything we have is a gift from God. For Him, God’s Kingdom is more like a big farm where all of us participates and shares in the production and fruits of the bounty, where each of us has something to contribute and benefit from, since no one is too poor who cannot share with others and no one is too rich who does not need others.
Our Eucharist today has a simple message: What you enjoy now are not only fruits of your labor but most of all, God’s gifts. All of these are God’s blessings to you and for all of us. Accept the Gift, but don’t forget to acknowledge and thank the Giver. Be fruitful and share the fruits of God’s kingdom to others, for all these are not yours or mine, but His.
Life on quarantine during these pandemic times do make us reflect and realize that our life is essentially on-loan, a God-given chance to live and create this life now. What we have now are just but borrowed time, talents and treasures to make life fruitful and bountiful for all. Somehow pandemic times is God’s way of pruning and forming us to be who we are and we should be – His stewards, mere tenants of His creation. Grant us, O Lord the humility to trust your Ways of creating anew our lives according to your Will. Amen.
By Fr. Aphelie Mario Masangcay, CSsR (a former Filipino Redemptorist Missionary for Filipino Migrants in South Korea who, due to immune compromised diabetic condition, stationed back home in the Philippines for now).