Saturday, January 19, 2019
SUNDAY, FEAST OF THE STO. NIÑO, Proper Feast in the Philippines.
January 20, 2019 – SUNDAY, FEAST OF THE STO. NIÑO,
Proper Feast in the Philippines.
Is 9: 1 – 16 / Eph 1: 3 – 6, 15 - 18. / Lk 2: 41 –52
Philippine devotion to the Sto. Niño goes back to 1521 when Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan gave a wooden statue of the Sto. Niño to Queen Juana of Cebu as a baptismal gift.
From the 1st Reading: Is 9: 5 – 6
For a child is born for us, a son is given us; the royal ornament is laid upon his shoulder, and his name is proclaimed: "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." To the increase of his powerful rule in peace, there will be no end. Vast will be his dominion, he will reign on David's throne and over all his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever.
Gospel Reading: Lk 2: 41 – 52
Every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, as was customary. And when Jesus was twelve years old, he went up with them according to the custom for this feast. After the festival was over, they returned, but the boy Jesus remained in Jerusalem and his parents did not know it.
They thought he was in the company and after walking the whole day they looked for him among their relatives and friends. As they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem searching for him, and on the third day they found him in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. And all the people were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
His parents were very surprised when they saw him, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I were very worried while searching for you." Then he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Do you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand this answer.
Jesus went down with them, returning to Nazareth, and he continued to be subject to them. As for his mother, she kept all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and age, and in divine and human favor.
Filipinos have a great devotion to the Christ-Child, popularly known as the Sto. Niño. Sinulog, Dinagyang and Ati-Atihan are religious-cultural festivities held in various parts of the Visayas in January to commemorate and highlight this devotion.
The image of the Sto.. Niño finds a place in many homes, business and service establishments in the whole country. This popular devotion to the Christ-Child reflects Filipinos' yearning for intimacy with God.
Pope Francis said that "Jesus Christ is the face of God's mercy." (Misericordiae Vultus, 1) For most Filipinos the Sto. Niño is the palpable face of God.
A child is non-threatening. With the Sto. Niño we are not fearful of being rejected or humiliated. With him we can be child-like, honest, and at times even childish.
Perhaps our child-like attitude is one reason why we see innumerable variations of the Sto. Niño image. Other than the princely green and gold outfit of the royal Infant of Prague, we find the Sto. Niño dressed as a farmer or a fisherman or a policeman or almost whatever is human.
Jesus was a carpenter, knowing the value of work and the daily challenge of making ends meet for daily life. He was not ashamed to do man's work; he toiled and understood each day's hard work as a carpenter. Dressing up the Christ-Child according to one's livelihood of fancy could indeed be Spirit- inspired, as we are moved to fervently ask God to bless the work of our hands and minds and to provide for us, each day, our daily bread through our work.
We thank God for choosing to be born among us and become our Sto. Niño. In the Christ-Child we see God caring for us intensely, loving us faithfully and constantly providing for our daily needs, material and spiritual. In this way we learn to appreciate that Jesus Christ is indeed "the face of God's mercy." Viva el Senor! Viva Sto. Niño!
FINALLY, WE PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER, FOR THOSE WHO HAVE ASKED OUR PRAYERS AND FOR THOSE WHO NEED OUR PRAYERS THE MOST.
Have a good day!
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