Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Matt 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons


A woman lamented, “I have tried everything, from nagging to bribery, but I can’t move my husband to go to Church on Sundays! What else can I do?”

It would be nice to quote as an answer to this woman a part of the gospel today, “Truly I say to you, the publicans and the prostitutes (and those who do not go to church on Sundays) are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven.”

God is limitless. He cannot be limited only to the Sacraments. Even outside the sacraments God is busy. To worry too much, because one of your loved ones does not come to church, or more shocking, joins another religion, is simply over acting. The best we can do is pray to the Holy Spirit to inspire our “erring” relatives to hearken to their own conscience, where God speaks to them and to try our best o inspire them through our understanding, accepting and liberating one.

Not that the sacraments do not matter. But the sacraments should be the occasion where we could respond to God’s call with, “I will go, sir” and get the power to move our legs and heart to go and do what the Lord bids us to do. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The Lord refers to the people of His time in this parable. The first son who said that he will go but later did not do so is symbolic of the Jewish authorities mouthing so much about their love for God by strict adherence to the law of Moses. In the process of doing so, they had failed to develop the spirit of love and compassion. On the other hand, the second son represents those considered as sinners in the Jewish society especially the most obvious ones, the tax collectors and the prostitutes. It was among them that our Lord found conversion, an openness to His teachings and the readiness to follow God given the right opportunities to do so.

Certainly, both categories of people are not the ideal. However, our Lord is very clear in His praise for the latter group, i.e. the second son. It is among them that one could find so much hope for change; in fact, it is the Lord Himself who gave them that hope. As he reached out of them, the Lord revealed to them a God who is willing to give them a second chance, a chance to be renewed.

I believe that we just have to be extra sensitive to the movements of God in the daily experiences that we go through in life. There is a need for us to be open to see the same God who operates in our daily lives just like when he, in the person of Jesus, was still walking on this earth. Indeed, our experiences are varied from the more spectacular ones as being healed  of a life-threatening illness or being saved from near fatal accident to the more sober and maybe ordinary o0nes as being touched at Mass or when in prayer or finding love and acceptance from others. these experiences and all other experiences have just to be seen through the eyes of a believer who can always say: “God was there in that experience!” (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


December 13, 2016 Tuesday

A priest once encountered a group of children selling accessories made of seashells. Curious about their looks and accent, he asked what tribe they belonged. “We are ‘goodjao,’ answered one kid and he further explained that having been taught by a missionary to live in the way of Jesus’s life and works, they were proudly GOODjao now, no longer BADjao.

The first son, in the Gospel today, seemed bad in promptly refusing the father’s command but ending up doing it. The second son showed a positive response but did the opposite. The message was a clear attack against and a wake-up call to the self-proclaimed righteous religious leaders and Pharisees. Jesus reminded them that true righteousness should be accompanied by a real conversion as proclaimed by John the Baptist. Otherwise, the righteousness of the converted tax collectors and prostitutes would surpass theirs.

Although the gospel, at first glance, seems to praise the first son, both sons actually dishonored their father’s command by word and deed, respectively. Their behaviors also reflect our common weakness as Christians. Many have difficulty committing themselves to the Lord but later find themselves working in the vineyard. Others, on the other hand, have no qualms of committing but end up irresponsible and nowhere to be found.

We can learn two things from this Gospel: first, no matter how rebellious we are to God we are all sent to work in his vineyard and are equally given the chance to follow and disobey his command; second, what matters most to God is not who first says YES but who finally does his will. In this advent season, we are all invited to evaluate ourselves which of the two sons’ responses we are guilty of. If BADjao successfully changed into GOODjao, why can’t we? (Fr. Semie Rebayla, SVD | Agusan del Sur Bible Diary 2016)



YES, LORD: In the past, it was already considered a big achievement to be able to read and write. In our generation, one should at least be a high school graduate to land a blue collar job. But if one wants to advance further in his career, a college degree often does not suffice. And one has to have a university degree, a masteral, even doctoral degree.

The more specialized a person is, the more opportunities are opened to him in being successful in his chosen career.

Unfortunately, not all of us can be experts. Not all doctors can be specialists. Not all teachers can have masteral degrees. Not all priests can take post-graduate studies. Most of us are left with no choice but to remain where we are without progressing in our career.

The good news in the gospel is that even if we cannot specialize in medicine or engineering or theology, there are certainly other opportunities that open up in other aspects of life. To the poor and the rich, man or woman, Filipino or alien, is presented a good opportunity: to become experts in God. While the experts in the world get fat bank accounts and impressive university degrees, the Lord promises those who specialize in Him not academic or honorary titles, not fat bank accounts. The Lord promises eternal life.

And how do we become experts in God, very simple. All we need is a three letter word, YES. While the world ridicules yes-people, the Lord values people who are able to say yes constantly and consistently. To say yes to the commandments because, you know that they give life. To say: “Yes, I will serve even if it is painful.” To say, “Yes, I will love even if left to myself, I will not choose to keep grudges and to hate.”

It is very simple and yet it is not easy. To be an expert in God, I am not saying that it will be an easy life. But it is a simple life, as simple as the three-letter word, YES.

We will say “YES” to God to reverse the “NO’s” that we have given Him in the past. Each time we receive Holy Communion we say, “Amen.” Amen means yes. Each time you receive the Body of Christ say, “Yes, Lord, I want to become an expert in you. Yes Lord I will obey your commandments. Yes, Lord, I will accept your will. Yes, Lord, I will learn to differentiate between the things I can change and the things I cannot change. Let “Yes, Lord” be our prayer everyday. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 202-203)


SEE AS GOD SEES: Let us review the parable. The first son was poor with words but he was good in action. The second son was good in words but he was poor in action. There is no third son. A third son would have been poor in action, poor in words, poor in thoughts and poor in everything. Plainly said, he would be bad in everything. Plainly said, he would be bad in everything. There is no third son in the parable because such a creature does not exist.  In everyone of us, there is always something good. We do not always see it. We do not always want to look at it. We are a people who look more at the hole of the donut rather than at the donut itself. We are a people who prefer to look at the stain rather than to look at the whole picture which is nice and clean. There is no one who is completely bad. There is no one who is completely a sinner. There is no creature called devil incarnate.

The greater the sin, the greater is the grace. Was it not St. Paul who said: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more?” Where the crisis is so bad, the opportunity also becomes very good. When the temptations become so strong, holiness also becomes a strong call. There is none among us so bad that there is nothing good in him. In all of us, we can always find a golden nugget of goodness, no matter how wretched and sinful we may be.

I must admit that when I was younger, I was a man in a hurry. I was a man in haste. I was impatient because I always thought time was gold. Time that is lost, gold that is lost, will never be recovered. Now as you know, I am 42. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am not a young priest any longer. I am not young as a man anymore. My miter hides my gray hair but it is there. The signs of aging are appearing. But as you can see, I don’t wear glasses, neither do I wear contact lenses. I am not shortsighted, I am not farsighted. I am not myopic. Certainly, I have no cataract. But at 42, I have become wider sideways. I think I have started to see things in better perspective and have started to see things according to the perspective of God. And to look for the best, to look for the good in the most wretched sinner, is to see as God sees.

That is my birthday wish today – to see as God sees, to see the best in everybody and to see the good things in the very worst, and to see the opportunities in the most serious crisis – September 28, 2002 at EDSA Shrine. (Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus, pp. 70-71)


Reflection for Tuesday December 16, First day of Misa de Gallo/Simbang Gabi; John 5:33-36 Reflection: Today is the first day of Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi. As we go through this nine days novena Mass let us try to prepare ourselves to be worthy to the coming birth of our savior. This we could do best by having an interior renewal of ourselves, by reconciling with our enemies. And by not focusing on the material side of Christmas focusing rather on the true essence of Christmas which is the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

Have you testified for Jesus by the way you talk and live? Have you humbly called for repentance and renewal? John humbly did all of these noble things, he was sent by God to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Have we done something also to prepare the way for the coming birth of Jesus?

For example if you’re a parent, have you taught your children that the true essence of Christmas is not the material gifts that they would be receiving not either the appearance of Santa Clause? Have you pointed out to your children that the essence of Christmas is about Jesus?

Slowly but surely the true meaning of Christmas is being overpowered already by materialism and commercialism. In our own little way we could be like John also if we would try to highlight the true reason for this Christmas season no other than the birth of Jesus.

Have you done something to humbly point out that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas



Monday, December 14, 2015

Reflection for December 15, Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent: Matthew 21:28-32


Aside from Jesus and the man and his two sons there are others who play an important role in the gospel reading. They are the following: Chief Priest, Elders of the people, Tax collectors, the prostitutes and John the Baptist.

The chief Priest and the elders of the people are those who were always in their place of worship but ironically they oftentimes are wanting or lacking in terms of living their faith. Jesus is actually telling the chief Priest and the elders of the people about their faith that lacks action.

The chief Priest and the elders of the people  represents the Son who said, Yes, sir, but did not go to work in the vineyard. They also did not listen to the call of John the Baptist to turn away from their sins and completely repent.

The tax collectors and the prostitutes were obviously the sinners who humbly repented. They represent the Son who said: “I will not go to the vineyard”, but afterwards changed his mind and went and did his father’s will. They listened to the call of John the Baptist: “Repent and change your ways for the kingdom of God is forthcoming.”

What is the relevance of the gospel to our lives? We who are all sinners like the tax collectors and prostitutes and the son who initially said: “I will not go to the vineyard.” But afterwards changed his mind and went. We are being called by Jesus to repent from our sinful ways. It’s not anymore John who calls us out to repentance but Jesus Himself.

We must listen to this clarion call of Jesus for this is what He desires for us all. To lead lives according to His will and not according to our sinful will. – Marino J. Dasmarinas



MISA DE GALLO DECEMBER 16 – JUAN 5:33-36. Unsa may makalipay sa Dios gikan kanato? Sa unang pagbasa karon ang libro ni Isaias nag-awhag: Puy-i ang hustisya, higugmaa ang kaayo (Do justice, love kindness). Ang maong panawagan mabasa usab nato sa libro ni Micah, nga maoy gihimong tema sa Simbahan sa Pilipinas ning kasaulogoan sa Tuig sa mga Kabos. Kitang tanan gidasig nga magmaki-angayon ug magmaloloy-on sa isigkaingon. Ang hustisya atong ipatigbabaw sugod diha sa atong panimalay, eskuylahan, merkado, opisina ug sa katilingban. Dili kita mamintaha, dili manikas, ug dili mosuporta sa mga buhat nga mapahimuslanon. Ang kalooy atong ugmaron diha sa atong kasingkasing sa matag adlaw. Dili kita mopiyong kon adunay mga tawo nga tabangonon. Molihok kita aron pagtabang kanila tungod kay pinaagi niini kahimut-an kita sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy



Monday, December 14, 2015

TUESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT (YEAR C) – MATEO 21:28-32. KINSA MAN ANG MATINUD-ANON NGA MIHATAG OG “YES” SA GINOO? Ang Sambingay sa Duha ka Magsoon nagtudlo nga ang tawong matinud-anon mao kadtong magbuhat sa iyang gisulti. Ang manghod, nga mipasalig nga motrabaho sa parasan apan wala diay moadto, naghulagway sa mga tawo nga maayo lang sa estorya apan kulang sa buhat. Si Hesus mismo nag-ingon: “Dili tanan nga moingon kanako ‘Ginoo, Ginoo’ ang makasulod sa Gingharian kondili kadto lamang nagbuhat sa kabubut-on sa akong Amahan”. Ning panahon sa Adbiyento, atong basolan ang mga higayon nga wala kita magmatinud-anon sa Ginoo. Atong puy-an ang atong pagka-Kristiyano dili lang sulod sa balay alampoanan kondili sa gawas usab. Adunay nag-ingon: “Your most powerful testimony is how you treat others after the church service.” Posted by Abet Uy



Tuesday, December 13, 2016

TUESDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT – MATEO 21:28-32. UNSA MAY ANGAY’NG BUHATON HUMAN KITA MAKAAMGO SA SAYOP NGA BINUHATAN? Diha sa sambingay, ang magulang nga anak nibalibad sa sugo sa amahan. Apan, wala madugay nakaamgo siya sa iyang sayop ug niadto sa parasan aron motrabaho sumala sa sugo sa iyang ginikanan. Ang maong anak maoy hulagway sa matag makasasala nga nalamdagan sa Espiritu sa Dios, mapaubsanon nga nidawat sa sayop ug nagbag-o sa kinabuhi. Kining sambingay maghagit kanato nga maminaw gayod sa gamay nga tingog sa Espiritu diha sa atong kinahiladman. Kon makaamgo kita nga nasayop, basolan nato kini. Tunlon nato ang atong garbo, mangayo og pasaylo ug mag-ayo sa kadaot nga nahimo. Nindot ang giingon: “I’m sorry” is a statement. “I won’t do it again” is a promise. “How do I make it up to you” is a responsibility. Posted by Abet Uy



MISSING McDO “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.” – Matthew 21:30

Roger was a successful businessman. That’s probably why a neighbor approached him and asked if he wanted to be involved in a new hamburger chain he was starting. He offered Roger the fourth franchise. Roger’s dad, who was himself an astute businessman, said, “Take it!”

Roger thought about it but later on turned down the deal. He must have regretted that decision when that startup burger joint, named McDonalds, became the giant chain it is today. He was on the brink of so much wealth, but he missed it because of one decision: He ignored his father’s smart advice.

You may be on the edge of one monumental and life-changing blessing right now. You may be on the threshold of something big that God wants to give you. It may be an emotional treasure, a financial blessing, the answer to a longtime prayer, a special relationship, a new beginning, maybe a greater impact in your ministry, or a breakthrough in some impossible situation. But, like that man who missed his share of Ronald McDonald’s fortune, it may all come down to your making the right decision. Will you avoid sin and obey God, or ignore Him and have it your way? Jon Escoto (faithatworkjon@gmail.com)

Reflection: This Christmas season, don’t miss out on the greatest Treasure of all. Let our celebrations center on the Reason for the Season: Jesus.

Father, I’m being tempted and it has become too difficult. Help me to obey You.



A FAITH GOD CAN SEE – There was a father who called his three children together. As they sat together in a circle on the floor, the dad placed a toy in the middle. He explained to them that he won the toy as a door prize and he wanted to give it to one of them but with a condition. He asked them, “Who is the most obedient?” The children just stared at him. Sensing that they didn’t understand the word, he then asked, “OK, who always obeys Mommy and does everything she says?”

One of the children picked up the toy and handed it to the father. “You win!” exclaimed the child.

The children may not have understood the word obedient but they saw it in the actions of their father.

It is plain in the Parable of the Two Sons that obedience, i.e., acting on the Word of God, is a condition for entry in the Kingdom. In the parable, we saw a son who said yes but did not do his father’s command and another who said no but eventually did his father’s command. Obedience is not something God wants to hear from us. It is something God wants to see. God wants children whose faith He can see and not just a faith He can hear.

Isn’t that what happens every Sunday or every time we gather at Mass to worship? We profess our faith and God hears it. I’m sure it is something sweet to the ears of God, but there is something sweeter — candy to the eyes of God – when we put actions to back up our faith. How many times in the Scriptures have we read, “When Jesus saw their faith….” precede a miracle?

When you continue to smile at difficult people at the office, when you say no to personal TV time to attend to your children, when you continue to understand an erring spouse, when you continue to give in times of scarcity, when you struggle to get off your bed and go to Church for Mass — that is the kind of obedience that God wants to see. That is putting actions behind your faith.Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is your faith life audiovisual?

Bless me with the strength to obey You today, O Lord — that I may gain favor in Your eyes and a place in Your Kingdom.



JUMPING FOR JOY – “He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went.” – Matthew 21:29

My seven-year-old niece, Isabel, wanted a particular video game for Christmas. One December night, I went with the family to Walmart, where there was a big Christmas sale. We found the game, but it wasn’t on sale. With much hesitation, my sister-in-law bought the pricey item because she had promised to get it for her daughter.

Isabel’s mom surprised her later at home, and my neice screamed with excitement. She jumped for joy as she thanked her mom. My sister-in-law was glad she bought the toy, even if it cost more than what she was willing to spend. The joy on Isabel’s face was worth it.

Today’s Gospel reveals to us how deeds matter to God more than our words. To say yes and not take action is a broken promise that disappoints. But to take action after having said no is redeeming. God must be heartbroken when we do not support our words of love and faith with obedience and deeds. But He must be jumping for joy whenever we change our minds to follow and fulfill. Nova A. Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)

Reflection: Always mean what you say. When you say you will, make sure to follow through, especially when it’s a promise made to the One above.

Lord Jesus, may I always have a change of heart, by Your grace, in times when I find it difficult to say yes to You.



CONSISTENT LIVES – The parable is a picture of the realities of Jesus’ time. Jesus’ listeners understood that that parable was referring to them — as the ones who said yes but later on failed in living out their original submission to God’s will. The despised sector of their society, however — the prostitutes and all other public sinners — have said no as seen in the lives that they lived. But later on, they are the ones who emerge as faithful responders to the divine initiatives.

The challenge of the parable is true then as it is today. William Barclay puts it succinctly, “Promises can never take the place of performance, and fine words are never a substitute for fine deeds.” These words should echo to all of us who dare to call ourselves Christians. By virtue of our baptism, we have submitted ourselves to God’s invitation — we are now the adopted sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters to Jesus, followers of Christ, saved by His cross. We see in this parable that our declaration of belief in our one Savior can never take the place of a practical declaration of this faith. It has to be lived. It has to find realization in how we live our lives, how we live lives that are consistent with the faith that we profess.

The Christian way is the way that is seen, and not simply heard. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you think your witness as a Christian is consistent? What areas need improvement?

Dear Jesus, enable me to offer to You a consistent heart ready to do Your will.




The son said in reply, “I will not,” but afterwards he changed his mind and went. – Matthew 21:29

Once upon a time, there was a village where the children’s favorite pastime was hide and seek. The mountains were their vast playground.

One day, a little child dared to hide at the peak of the tallest mountain. He climbed so high that when he looked down, he felt dizzy and was afraid to go down.

The villagers saw him but the cliff was too steep for them to climb. Even their strongest climbers tried to save the kid but gave up.

Alas, one woman elbowed her way through the crowd. With seemingly unlimited stamina, she out-climbed the strongest villagers and was able to save the boy.

The people cheered and celebrated.

When they asked the woman where she got her astonishing energy, her answer blew them away. “I am the mother of the kid!”

Friends, desperation can be a most potent motivation!

It’s OK to say no at first, but when you tap into your deepest desperation for God, you do whatever it takes to do His will! Obet Cabrillas (kpreacherobet@gmail.com)

Reflection: What is that one important decision that you keep on delaying but would significantly change your life?

Lord, You will always be my Higher Power. Keep me motivated, O God. Let me be always desperate for You! Amen.



THE THIRD SON – The parable of the two sons is narrated by the Gospel of Matthew in the height of the controversy between Jesus and the chief priests and the elders of the people. The first son, who gave his “no” but later on rethought his response and went on to fulfill his father’s command, referred to public sinners who were open to the grace of conversion that Jesus brought. On the other hand, the second son, who initially said “yes” but failed to go and do things, referred to the Jewish elders who were unmoved by Jesus’ teachings of repentance and transformation.

It is, however, a dangerous move to stretch the parable too much to say, “See, actions are better than words!” This is not the point of Jesus. The prevailing experience that we have as humans, which makes us feel the struggle and the discrepancy between what we say and what we do, is one effect of sinfulness. This is one manifestation of our broken humanity.

There is a third son to look up to as an option to follow: Jesus, the storyteller of the parable. He is “yes” in word, and He is also totally “yes” to the Father in His whole life. I recall the words of Jesus to the Samaritan woman by the well of Jacob (John 4:21-24): “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father… in Spirit and truth…” This is what the Father seeks: That we come to Him, and relate with Him with wholeness and integrity — that we be His children in mind, in heart, in will, by our words and actions. This is what Jesus embodies in His being Word-Incarnate. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: In what areas of your life do you find it easy to say “yes” in word, yet take time putting this yes to action? Where does your struggle come from?

Lord, grant me a heart that willingly says yes to You and commits to do what I say. Amen.



Zep 3: 1-2, 9-13; Mt 21: 28-32


The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is the indicator of the pace of growth of any country. Interestingly the GDP of India in 2013 was 5% which is higher than of United States (1.9%). One of the reasons why the growth rate of U.S has come down is the attitude of complacency where one is satisfied with whatever one has instead of progressing further. This is called ‘economical complacency.’

The gospel passage speaks of spiritual complacency that could affect any Christian easily. When John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus, many of the tax collectors and sinners accepted the word and turned away from their wrong doings. But the Pharisees and Sadducees were reluctant in accepting the changes as they were so satisfied with their existing practices of religion. They had no thirst for anything new that brings progress in their spiritual life. Jesus condemns them for their failure to accept changes even after seeing how the prostitutes and tax collectors have made advancement in their relationship with God (Mt 21:32).He spoke to them the story of two sons whom the first one gave no importance to the words of his father and there by broke the relationship with him.

The periodical participation in the Holy Mass, novenas, and rosaries may make us so complacent with our spiritual growth. But there are large numbers of people who are thirsty of darshan of God. Even though we may accuse this world as ‘consumerist’, there still are a large number of people who have sacrificed their wealth, comforts, job, etc. in search of God. There are thousands who thong around God-men and pilgrim centres.  If we could absorb only a part of their desire for God, we would have grown deep in His love.

God wants us to be with the zeal for his love (Zeph 3:9). Let’s come out of our spiritual complacency as He does bear with the people who are neither cold nor hot (Rev 3:16). Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI



December 13, 2016

We all know people whose manners are brusque, whose speech is blunt and curt. When we first meet them, we have the impression of meeting ogres. But, if we get to know them better, we discover that their rough exterior hides a heart of gold. At any time we can ask them a favor, even a big favor, and these toughies will first rant and rave—then grant you your favor with royal prodigality. Other people are the very opposite. They are all smiles and oily protests of friendship. But when you need them, they disappear in thin air. Which, of these two kinds of people, do we appreciate more?

In today’s gospel reading Jesus makes a similar comparison between, on the one hand, a grumbling son who first balks and shows bad manners but obeys his father and, on the other hand, a polite and well-mannered son who mouths his compliance but does not obey his father. This second son represents the scribes and the Pharisees who seem pious but reject John the Baptist, God’s prophet, whereas the first son represents the sinners who converted at John’s preaching.

What kind of son, what kind of daughter am I?



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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