Reflection on the Nativity of the Lord

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A Tagalog conversation between Jesus and Sta Claus has been passed around, it narrates:

Jesus= “Alam mo, naiinggit ako sa ‘yo.”  (You know, I envy you.)

Sta Claus= “Bakit naman po?”   (But why?)

Jesus= “Kasi sa Kaarawan ko, ikaw ang inaabangan nila.”  (Because on my birthday, they are waiting for you.)

Sad but true. Many people, especially the young, are of this mentality: Christmas is Sta Claus, not Jesus. Hollywood and Walt Disney have produced so many movies –and very entertaining ones – on Sta Claus, and we Catholics do not even put a Nativity Scene or Belen in our homes. The Christmas tree is well decorated and lighted but no Belen is to be found. The malls have very commercialized decorations. In the late 60s, we as students would go around to see the different large sized Belens put up by big companies: Pepsi Cola, San Miguel, Magnolia, Philam Life, Meralco, etc. They were real spectacles. There was a year, however, when Walt Disney characters were displayed including the monsters. Then we now hear people greet us: “Happy Holidays” no longer “Merry Christmas”; taking out Christ from his own birthday!

Let this Christmas be an occasion for us to put back Jesus into His Birthday. Let us look back into the simple narrative of the Gospels, and be moved by the love of our God. God is the creator and owner of the whole world. He has the right to all the elegant clothes as we see at the Oscars. But he has only swaddling clothes –katsa lang ang damit niya. He has the claim to all the flood lights and camera attention given to actors and actresses, to outstanding basketball players, football heroes, or Formula 1 drivers; yet how does he come at his birth? He was rejected by the inn keepers and other town folks of Bethlehem. He has the right to a palace surrounded by servants and medical personnel, but he chooses a stable and is surrounded by animals and shepherds, the marginalized in Jewish society. He has the right to an elegant cradle or crib covered with linen and warm fabrics, but he chooses a manger. Manger is a trough –a palangana- made of wood, rectangular in shape- where the food for the cattle, especially the donkey, is placed. (“Manger” in Middle English & Anglo-French means “to eat”, giving us a hint of who he is = the Bread of Life.) We are attracted to the beautiful, the elegant –magara-, and the fragrant, but Jesus chooses to be born in a most unattractive place, a stable which is reserved only for animals. God is the owner of silver and gold, but he chooses to be born poor. We love comfort and convenience, but Jesus chooses the barest necessities. Many would choose to deliver their babies in an aircon room, with attending doctors and nurses, but God chooses to be born in an isolated stable with sheep, donkeys and cows around him.

As I look through the papers these days, I notice how they grow thick with advertisements and society pages. Much of fashion is printed, elegant people celebrating Christmas parties, many pages on appliances, drinks and delicacies, new resorts and housing projects, cars, electronics, furniture and jewelries. Our media is insensitive to the fact that majority of Filipinos cannot afford even a decent Noche Buena, much less a house or roof over their heads. Many cannot put on decent clothes to go to Church for Simbang Gabi. Many Filipinos have been left homeless by typhoons. I feel ashamed of how insensitive we have become, of how our government officials continue in their shameful ways; they take from the “Kaban ng Bayan” and spend it in lavish trips abroad, while our OFWs squeeze every dollar to send back to the Philippines to help their families. The actors and actresses are now bashing in the flood lights of the Filipino film festival, without thought of many helpless Filipinos.

Now is the time to go back to the stable of Bethlehem and contemplate the ways of God, so different from the ways of men. Feel the love of God, so rich and yet condescending to our poverty; so deserving of our love, yet rejected by innkeepers and town folks of his own city. Mga Tatay, mga Nanay, look at Joseph and Mary; how they wish they could give Jesus a decent place with enough comfort for his birth, but they had to make do of a stable. What were their thoughts, their feelings knowing that this baby comes from God? They may have been sad, or perplexed that they could not give him any better or more comfortable place. They saw how God humbled himself to become a baby, but still he humbled himself the more by being born in a place like this, deprived of comfort and convenience. We proud and arrogant humans need to learn humility from Bethlehem. We need to learn love and compassion for the less fortunate as we see our God identifying himself with the deprived and the rejected. He comes to give himself to us, let us learn to open our hearts and our hands to the needs of others beginning with the members of our family. God is here giving himself to us, giving his love to us. Let us learn to give of ourselves, to give our love this Christmas –kahit hindi pasko tayo ay magbigayan. God is love, let us be witnesses to this love. Amen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR

Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR

Priest/Religious/Bible Professor of the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno.

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< 2021 >
January
SMTuWThFS
     1
  • All day
    January 1, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD

    54th WORLD DAY OF PEACE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cristita Cha, AR

2
  • All day
    January 2, 2021

    ATTENTION: Provincial-Level Christmas Party is CANCELLED.

    SIMPLE PROFESSION OF VOWS OF FRAY CHRISLEAN REY PAMILAGA
    SEMONORE, Antipolo City / 10:00 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Conrado Flores, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Emma Toro, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Sis. Marcelina Nicolas, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Rizalina Salera, SAR (Cavite Chapter)

3
  • All day
    January 3, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF THE EPIPHANY

    500th Year of the Excommunication of Martin Luther (1521-2021)

    60th Anniversary of the Establishment of a Catholic Hierarchy in Indonesia

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Bella Mojica, AR
    Sis. Basilisa Espinola, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Sis. Carmencita Abis, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Melodina Paragat, SAR (Talisay Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Clemencia Ranin, AR

4
  • All day
    January 4, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Ernil Orbecido, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Sis Mary Grace Susas, SAR (Talisay Chapter)
    Fran Cheska Marie Andan (RAY-Laray)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Regina Cadiz, AR
    +Sr. Adelaida Elli, AR

5
  • All day
    January 5, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis Estelita Divinagracia, SAR (Miranila Chapter)
    Bro. Jose Pepito Gabriel Bonete, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Sis. Emiliana Carao, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Leila Barizo (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Cleofe Claro, AR
    +Fray Casiano Cosmilla
    [Attention Recoletos de Manila Community: “the community to which he belongs will celebrate… Mass on the first anniversary of his death” (Add. Code 94a)]

6
  • All day
    January 6, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Sylvia Evina, SAR (Puerto Princesa Chapter)
    Sis. Grace Aba-a, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Juana de la Merced, AR
    +Bro. Rustico Magdales, SAR (Manila Chapter)

7
  • All day
    January 7, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Eliza Stubbs, SAR (Miranila Chapter)

8
  • All day
    January 8, 2021

    RST: START OF ENROLMENT

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Sr. Leticia Cerdeño, AR

9
  • All day
    January 9, 2021

    FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE
    (The traditional Traslación is canceled due to Covid-19)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Rosario Bianes, AR
    Sis. Marcelina Taguinod, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    |+Sr. Dominga Gargarita, AR

10
  • All day
    January 10, 2021

    FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Luz Asuncion Nitura, AR
    +Sr. Paulina de la Purisima Corazon de Maria, AR

11
  • All day
    January 11, 2021

    BIRTHDAY

    Sr. Catalina Ruiz, AR
    Sis. Elena Dagdag, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Ian Gabrielle Canlubo (RAY-Cavite)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Zita Lloren, AR
    +Sis. Elena Caballero, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

12
  • All day
    January 12, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla
    Sis. Josephine Guinto, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Bro. Hilario Torcedo, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    +Sr. Ma. Fortunata Gayumale Gaspillo, AR

13
  • All day
    January 13, 2021

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (1998-2021)
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Jonathan Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Bro. Antonio Sonsona, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Mo. Rosario Rosales, AR

14
  • All day
    January 14, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Emilia Madrigal, AR
    Bro. Jose Valdez, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Luisa Gumiran, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Esterlita Gracia, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

15
  • All day
    January 15, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Anthony Irineo
    Sr. Ma. Marcela de la Cruz, AR
    Bro. Maximo Epanto, SAR (Cebu Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Virgin de la Consolacion, AR

16
  • All day
    January 16, 2021

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD RELATIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

    BIRTHDAY
    Mo. Maria del Carmen, OAR (Bacolod)
    Sr. Zerah Cordero, AR
    Sis. Alice Mojica, SAR (Cavite Chapter)
    Sis. Bernarda Tan, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Lucia Degamo, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    +Sis. Amelia Casiño, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

17
  • All day
    January 17, 2021

    FEAST OF THE STO. NINO

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Corvin Maturan
    Sis. Belen Taniagao, SAR (Miranila Chapter / Trial)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Celedonia de la Santissima Trinidad, AR
    +Sr. Cesaria Barbarona, AR

18
  • All day
    January 18, 2021

    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
    Inclusive dates: January 18-25, 2021
    Theme: “Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 16:1-17)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa
    Sis. Guia Gonzales, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)

19
  • All day
    January 19, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cleofe Maria Agua, AR
    Sis. Angelica Tejada, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Myrna Amante, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

20
  • All day
    January 20, 2021

    ST. SEBASTIAN (PATRON SAINT OF MANILA & CAVITE COMMUNITIES, DIOCESE OF BACOLOD)

    SSC-R MANILA’s FOUNDATION CELEBRATIONS
    Inclusive dates: January 20-22,2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Adelina Reyes, AR
    Sis. Mercedes Velada, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

21
  • All day
    January 21, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Urbano Galanido
    Fray Jerome Virtudazo
    Sis. Leticia de Silva, SAR (Baguio Chapter)
    Sis. Alice Catulong, SAR (Cebu Chapter)
    Sis. Anecita Paglinawan, SAR (Laray Chapter)

22
  • All day
    January 22, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Victor Bendico, DD (Bishop of Baguio)

23
  • All day
    January 23, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Bro. Marciano Cleofas, SAR (Provincialate Chapter)
    Sis. Gloria Acosta, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Sis. Esterlina Silva, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)
    Sis. Rosemarie Gaspar, SAR (Valencia Chapter)
    Judith Mondejar (RAY-Caidiocan)
    Kathrine Bacalso (RAY-Laray)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Gertrudis del Pilar, AR
    +Sr. Cresencia Vailoces, AR

24
  • All day
    January 24, 2021

    SUNDAY OF THE WORD OF GOD
    [NOTE: Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter, Motu proprio Aperuit illis, published on 30 September 2019, establishes that “the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is to be devoted to the celebration, study and dissemination of the Word of God”.]

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Paz Bawagan, AR
    Sr. Faith Niña Fuertes, AR
    Sis. Florida San Juan, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Sis. Raymunda Co, SAR (Laray Chapter)
    Analyn Martinez (RAY-Valencia)

25
  • All day
    January 25, 2021

    SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL

    CSNT-Rs 50th (1971-2021) FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY Inclusive dates: January 25-30, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sis. Erlinda Casaje, SAR (Manila Chapter)
    Bro. Rodelio Gasparillo, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Bro. Feddie Junsay, SAR (Bacolod Chapter)
    Joelle Maria Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Lucia Sagmit, AR

26
  • All day
    January 26, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristopher Maspara
    Sis. Henrietta Morales, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (2005-2021)
    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Margarita Zafra, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

27
  • All day
    January 27, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marilyn Cula, AR
    Sr. Remilyn Leonido, AR
    Sis. Evelyn Balingit, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sis. Murita Jara, SAR (Tondo Chapter)

28
  • All day
    January 28, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Louie Gabinete

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Fernanda del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Ines Garcia, AR

29
  • All day
    January 29, 2021

    LAUNCHING OF HEART SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN 2021 / Province of St. Ezekiel Moreno only

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Francisca Rojas, AR
    Sis. Lourdes Insigne, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Jona Mendoza (RAY-Miranila)

30
  • All day
    January 30, 2021

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jonathan Caballero
    Sr. Angelica Fuentes, AR
    Sr. Pascualina Peral, AR
    Sis. Violeta Siozon, SAR (Antipolo Chapter)
    Sis. Fedencia dela Criz, SAR (Brooke’s Point Chapter)
    Sis. Minerva Alcarde, SAR (San Carlos Chapter)

31
  • All day
    January 31, 2021

    4TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

    68th WORLD LEPROSY DAY

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Josephine Ativo, AR
    Sis. Saturnina Antolihao, SAR (Tondo Chapter)
    Lance Raven Lapinig (RAY-Talisay)

      

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