Sunday, January 18, 2015

Feast of Sto. Niño - Sunday, January 18, 2015

1ST READING - Isaiah 9:1-6
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt 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. For 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. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames. For 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. His 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 AL M - Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6
R: All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds; his right hand has won victory for him, his holy arm. (R) The Lord has made his salvation known: in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. (R) All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; break into song; sing praise. (R) Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song. With trumpets and the sound of the horn sing joyfully before the King, the Lord. (R)

2ND READING - Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
Brothers and sisters: Blessed be the God and Father of our Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. 15Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that 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. 18 May 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.
Mark 10:13-16
13 People were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” 16 Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.



To say that Filipinos love children is an understatement. We don’t just love children. We adore them. We dote on them. We spoil them. Just look at how we treat them even in Church. We bring all their toys (read: tablets and gadgets!) to church; we give them food to munch even at Mass; we allow them to frolic, pout and shout to their hearts’ content, while Father tries mightily to deliver his homily.

       But lightness and flippancy aside, children occupy center stage in our lives. They brighten our ways and lighten our days with their antics. The harassed young father comes home to them and the yoke that weighs on him is instantly broken and diffused. The hard-pressed young mother, who walks a tightrope trying to make both ends meet, is smothered by the kisses and hugs of a child, and her burden is lifted away.

       I don’t know if Isaiah had children of his own, but he sure understood what children were like. Describing a vision of things to come, specifically the birth of the promised Messiah, Isaiah waxed poetic and lyrical and talked about “a great light,” “joy increased,” and the “exultation of victors,” while dividing spoils of war. And this for good reason: “For a child has been born for us, a son has been given to us.”

       This is the same exultant joy that the whole Philippines now revels in. Who would not be carried away by lusty shouts of“Viva Pit Senyor!” or “Hala Bira!” amidst an explosion of pomp and pageantry? Who among us would not be swayed by the pull of persistent prayer as we beg the Holy Child for strength to carry the collective yoke that weighs on us?

       Truth to tell, the yoke of common problems continues to weigh heavily on our shoulders. Childlike laughter and childish behavior won’t suffice to rid ourselves of this bar across our shoulders. But today’s feast reminds us of one important truth to live by: “It is to such as these that the Kingdom of heaven belongs.” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How do you carry your burdens in life? Is it with the hope and trust of a child?

Teach me, dear Lord, to live my life with joy and wonder, no matter what storms may come.

St. Charles of Sezze, pray for us.

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