The feast that we celebrate today, which belongs fully to the Christmas cycle, is an invitation to look towards Nazareth and contemplate the life of the family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. In this family the fragile Jesus who was born in the manger, submitted to the advice and teachings of his mother and showed the kindness of his father before the eyes of everyone. Jesus did not appear on earth with a human figure without being a true man. Jesus became one with us when Mary said “Yes” to God, while Joseph stood beside her, strengthening the foundation of love. Here, marriage was created.
There was this one time, a few weeks right after I arrived in the missions in Panamá, where I was the only one left in our parish. My two other companions were not around because they had to do attend to other commitments. A middle-aged woman probably in her late fifties suddenly came knocking on the door. She looked distressed and seemed that she needed to talk to a priest. So I brought her a chair and pull out a chair as well for me. She then started talking and telling me her story and at times would stop to cry. She was talking at a very fast. Now during this time I had just arrived at Panamá and couldn’t speak nor understand that well the Spanish language yet. But I could pick out some words and it was clear that she was really troubled. I just kept silent for most of the time. When she was done talking I wanted to console her with words too and tell her about how God never abandons us etc. but I just couldn’t express myself that well in Spanish and she couldn’t understand English either. So I just told her, “No hablo ni entiendo muy bien el español pero rezaré por usted.” (I don’t speak nor understand Spanish that well but I will pray for you.) Afterwards, she said “Gracias, Padre” then gave me a hug and left.
I just can’t imagine how festive the atmosphere right now knowing that we are already on the 4th and the last Sunday of Advent which coincides with the last day of “Simbang Gabi” and that finally the long wait is over!
Christmas has lost its original meaning for many people. Hopefully we can go beyond the superficial celebration of Christmas and instead focus on Jesus, love and giving.
Readings: Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1,2-3,3-4,5-6; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-14
“COME.” This has been our cry while hopefully waiting for our Savior Jesus Christ. This prayerful supplication is a confession of a wounded race that is incapable of coming closer to God without God himself extending his hands. At the same time, it is our confession about the One who is coming. He who is coming is God who will strip himself of his divinity (cf. Phil 2:5-11) to reconcile us back to the Father (cf. 2 Cor 5:18).
The first time I realized that the name JOHN is an abbreviated expression that means “Gift of God,” I was really filled with amazement. For Zachariah and Elizabeth who was barren all their lives, the baby named John was indeed a great gift, a blessing from God.
Noong nasa elementarya pa ako lagi kung naririnig sa mga matatanda na ang mapagkumbaba ay pinagpapala. Tulad ni Maria ang kanyang kababaang loob ang nagtulak sa kanya na tanggapin ang misyon na iniatas ng Diyos sa kanya na maging Ina ng Diyos at siya ay biniyayaan.
On this 6th day of the Simbang Gabi, we reflect on the Canticle of Mary, prominently known as the Magnificat. It was the most joyous song ever recorded in the bible.
“[Mary] was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.”
Jgs 13:2-7; 24-25
5In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.