Sunday, January 19, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, January 19, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 9:1-6
1The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone.2You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, as they rejoice before you as at the harvest as men make merry when dividing spoils. 3For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian. 4For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. 5For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him: Wonder-counselor, God-hero, Father-forever, Prince of Peace. 6His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!
P S A L M - Psalm 98: 1,2-3,3-4,5-6
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
1Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R2The Lord has made his salvation known in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. 3He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song: sing praise. (R5Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song.6With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord. (R)
2ND READING - Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has a blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,  4as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love 5he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, 6for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted un in the beloved. 15Therefore, I, too, hearing your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, 16do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. 18May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones.
         The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2He called a child over, places it in their midst,3and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. 10See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”


Seldom do I have the chance to visit the beautiful city of Cebu, but whenever I go there, my first visit is to the Basilica of the Sto. Niño, where I pay my respect to the revered image of the Child Jesus.

       It is quite different from the Baby Jesus we have venerated at Christmas. There the Baby Jesus was covered only in skimpy swaddling clothes. In Cebu, the Sto. Niño stands before us in the full regalia of a king. He wears a crown and royal purple cloak. He holds the scepter as a symbol of power and the globe as a symbol of the universe. Before us stands the King of kings, the King of the universe.

       Looking at the Baby Jesus in the belen (nativity scene), we can easily think: What a small, weak, cute but harmless baby Jesus is. This impression is corrected by the image of the Sto. Niño. The Baby Jesus did not remain a baby but grew up and became a powerful, often demanding, preacher. This helpless baby of Bethlehem later uttered uncomfortable things like, “Love your enemies” or “He who wants to follow Me must take up his cross.”

       And so the image of the Infant Jesus in royal robes reminds us to look beyond its appearance and discover the adult Jesus, our Lord and Savior. When the late Pope John Paul II visited Cebu, he also paid a visit to the image of the Sto. Niño. In a homily, he reminded the faithful of what we just said: Jesus did not remain a child; He grew up. And then he continued, “In the same way, we must grow up in our faith.” To face the trials and demands of life, we need a strong and mature faith.

       To grow spiritually, we need regular nourishment through the sacraments. Especially in the Holy Mass, we receive even double nourishment. First, the Word of God that nourishes and guides us in our daily life. Then we receive the Eucharist, where Jesus becomes our nourishment.

       The feast and the image of the Sto. Niño then encourage us to grow spiritually, to trust God like a child and so mature in a faith that enables us to face whatever difficulties may lie ahead.Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: The Infant Jesus in royal robes asks today: Are you still developing your faith? What are you doing to strengthen your faith?
Jesus, help me to deepen my faith, to mature spiritually and so become a more effective follower of Yours.

St. Fabian, pray for us.

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