Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 30, 2012
Sunday – Year of Faith
Feast of the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph
by  Rev. Fr. Rufino Jun Sescon (Chaplain, Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel)
6:00PM Anticipated Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 Sir 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother's authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard. Whoever reveres his father will live a long life; he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins --a house raised in justice to you.

or 1Sm 1:20-22, 24-28

In those days Hannah conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel, since she had asked the LORD for him. The next time her husband Elkanah was going up with the rest of his household to offer the customary sacrifice to the LORD and to fulfill his vows, Hannah did not go, explaining to her husband, "Once the child is weaned, I will take him to appear before the LORD and to remain there forever; I will offer him as a perpetual nazirite."

Once Samuel was weaned, Hannah brought him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull, Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said: "Pardon, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD." Hannah left Samuel there.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5.

R. (cf. 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

or Ps 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10.

R. (cf. 5a) Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
Happy they who dwell in your house!
Continually they praise you.
Happy the men whose strength you are!
Their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.
O LORD of hosts, hear our prayer;
hearken, O God of Jacob!
O God, behold our shield,
and look upon the face of your anointed.
R. Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.

Reading 2 Col 3:12-21

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.

or Col 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

or 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24

Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. And so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.

Gospel Lk 2:41-52

Each year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety." And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.


Merry Christmas pa rin po. We are still in the Octave of Christmas, eight days after Christmas. And if the world already has somehow folded up thinking that Christmas is over, for the Church, we are just really beginning Christmas. Kaya hindi pa rin ho masamang bumati ng 'Merry Christmas'. Kaya pakibati n'yo nga ang katabi n'yo rin ng 'Merry Christmas'. (people greet each other) Parang hindi 'Merry' ano? (laughs) Ang hitsura n'yo talaga ano. Mainit kasi. Tingnan n'yo na lang ako kung naiinitan kayo. (laughs) 

Christmas, indeed, is the celebration of the family. In the Liturgical calendar, the first Sunday after Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family. But for some, the first Sunday after Christmas, ewan ko lang po kung ginagawa pa po ito ng ibang mga pamilya o ibang mga magulang, natatandaan ko po ang ang lolo at lola ko, kahit ang parents ko, 'yong napamaskuhan ko po ay dapat isinisimba ko rin, bago pa po isuot sa iba - sapatos, damit. That is why I remember that the first Sunday of Christmas is a showcase of what we have received as a family.

There are times that some parents, especially if their children are still small and young, naalala ko ho dati noon pinag-eeksperimentuhan ho kami, frustrated fashion consultant po ang Nanay ko, ano. Ilang beses pong nangyayari noon, ano - tatlo lang ho kami, dalawa ho kaming lalaki, isang babae po, and at times, my brother and I wore the same clothes. Once in a while I see that - mga magkakapatid pareho nang suot, ano? Minsan may mag-asawa, kasama ang anak, pareho ang suot, magka-terno, ika nga.

That is Christmas. Christmas is about families. After all, our Lord decided to pass through the family. Our Lord, being God, could have done anything. He could have just landed here on earth, like Superman, and become man. The Lord really does not need a family, but He chose to be part of a family, to show to us the importance of families. And that is why on the first Sunday after Christmas, the Church also invites us to focus on the family, because God passed by way of the family.

Blessed John Paul II once said, "Humanity passes by way of the family." Ano po ang ibig sabihin noon? Whatever happens to the family happens to humanity. The family, as the basic unit of society, is very pivotal and crucial. Kung anuman ang gawin sa pamilya, ganoon din ang mangyayari sa lipunan. Pag pinasaya mo ang pamilya, magiging masaya ang lipunan. Pag sinira mo ang lipunan, masisira din ang lipunan. Humanity passes by way of the family.

No wonder God decided to pass through a family, to show to us how important the family is. Try to look at people and analyze people. Isn't it that those who have violent tendencies, you will realize that they are violent because they grew up in a violent home? Those people who are, we may say, very generous, grew up in a home imbued with charity. Kaya 'yong iba, kapag may mga nanliligaw, ang unang itatanong ng magulang, "Saang pamilya ba 'yan? Ano ba ang pamilya niyan?" Kasi po, napakahalaga ng pamilya. Ang tao ay nabubuo - ang kanyang pagkatao, ang kanyang buong buhay, ang kanyang buong pag-uugali - sa pamamagitan ng pamilya.

And that is why when forces want to destroy the family, let us pray and be vigilant. It is not a simple measure; it is not a simple law. It is not a simple economic policy. But it is crucial and pivotal whenever it affects the family. Huwag po natin iismolin, kapag pamilya ang pinag-uusapan, sapagkat ang daan ng pamilya, ang daan ng sanlibutan.

This Sunday, let us lift up to the Lord our families. Yes, today, we celebrate the Holy Family - Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Holy Family - that is the adjective that the Church chose - Holy Family, not happy family, not successful family, but Holy Family. Sasabihin natin, 'Sana, happy family kami. Sana successful family kami at healthy family kami.' But today, may we also pray that we may be a holy family.

And holiness here is not just about perfection. Like what I said, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, was not a 'perfect' family. They also had their share of crisis moments. Sa umpisa pa lang, kung matatandaan ninyo, noong Simbang Gabi, mayroon na sila agad problema. Mary got pregnant, even before the marriage. Isn't that a big crisis? That is not perfect. Joseph was having a dilemma. "Will I marry Mary or not?" Sa mga kalalakihan dito - madali ba 'yong ginawa ni Joseph, na pakasalan niya 'yong babae na nagdadala nang hindi niya anak? Di ba may teleserye ngayong ganyan - ganyan ang dilemma niya. Parang si Joseph, that is not easy. Nangingiti ang mga nanood ng teleseryeng 'yon ano. Ano na nga ang title no'n? Kunyari pa ako na hindi nanonood ano? (laughs)

And then here comes, remember just yesterday, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, they had to flee because Herod will persecute, will kill the baby Jesus. They had to leave everything and go to Egypt, uncertain. And now, we are told of the story that Jesus got lost. They lost Jesus. Is that being perfect? No. This family - this Holy Family - had crisis moments. They lost Jesus. Somebody, something was lost.

Brothers and sisters, in our families, there are occasions also when something or someone is lost. Siguro ngayon, katatapos lang ng Pasko pero hindi buo ang ating kasiyahan kasi parang may kulang. Parang may nawawala sa pamilya natin. Ano ba kaya 'yong nawawala? 

In some families, there is an absence of communication. Baka mayroong hindi nag-uusap, di nagpapansinan sa pamilya natin. May nawawala. Nawawala 'yong pag-uusap. Or perhaps, there is an absence of respect. Nagsasagutan na, nagdedemandahan na, nag-aaway na, wala nang Kuya Kuya, wala nang Ate Ate. Wala nang magkakapatid, wala nang magpipinsan. Wala nang respeto. Ano 'yong nawawala sa pamilya natin ngayon?

Or perhaps for some, it is the physical presence that is lacking. Kasi si Daddy o si Mommy nasa abroad, o 'yong mag-anak, kanya kanya na. May nawawala. Hindi kumpleto ang Noche Buena. There is an absence. An absence, even perhaps of unity. An absence of love. Something is lost. Someone is lost.

If, right now, our family is in that situation, the very family that will understand us is Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the Holy Family. They were not perfect. Somebody was lost.

Ano na ba ang nawawala sa pamilya natin ngayon? Marami na bang nawawala? Alin ang unti-unti nang nawawala sa pamilya natin ngayon? Like Joseph and Mary, we are searching, we are praying, we are anxious. And we are told that they were looking for the Child Jesus for three days. Three days. Do you remember something about three days? What Gospel would also mention three days? Isn't it that when our Lord was buried, three days he was gone. His friends, His family thought that He was gone forever. He was dead. But we learn after three days, He rose again.

Yes, Mary and Joseph were searching for three days. The three days there was not just a symbol or a time element that is a symbol in the Bible. What did Mary feel during those three days? Perhaps, when Mary saw Jesus buried, and for three days she did not see Jesus, perhaps Mary remembered the three days when Jesus got lost in Jerusalem.

This, my brothers and sisters, symbolizes a period of uncertainty. A period of great anxiety. A period of long wait. Perhaps some of you will say, "Three days lang? Kami nga eh sa pamilya, tatlong taon na kaming may nawawala." Three days is not just about theoretical time element. Three days point to uncertainty. A point when sometimes we want to give up. A point when we are crushed. Because we think it is hopeless. Three days.

Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, let us also offer to the Lord the moments we think our family is hopeless. When we think our search is in vain. Moments when we want to give up. Today, Mary and Joseph want to tell us, "Do not surrender. Do not give up." It could be a long wait. You couldn't even see a tiny spark of light. But believe. Because the Lord is faithful in His promises. 

We will also find what we are looking for. How? Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple. Sa dinami-dinami nang pwedeng puntahan - Jerusalem was a very big city - they finally found Jesus in the temple. Perhaps Mary and Joseph were asking themselves, where can they find Jesus? In the marketplace? Doon ba siya sa amusement park?

Tayo ho kaya, pag may nawala, 'Ay doon tayo magpunta sa Greenbelt. Do'n siguro natin makikita 'yon, kasi madalas mamasyal 'yon do'n.' Pag nawala kayo at nagkahiwa-hiwalay kayo sa Greenbelt, saan kaya kayo maghahanap? Siguro doon kayo sa Greenbelt Chapel at baka doon kayo matagpuan. Pero baka sabihin, 'Hindi, doon tayo sa sale. Malamang nandoon siya sa sale'. O baka ang iba sa inyo nagko-coffee.

But when Mary and Joseph were asking where can they find Jesus, it is in the temple. In the House of God. We will also find what we are looking for, as a family, in God, with God, towards God. Yes, brothers and sisters, Jesus was God Himself. But He did not exempt Himself from being with God and towards God. Ang problema po mga kapatid, kung saan-saan tayo nagpupunta. Kung saan-saan tayo naghahanap. Sa Diyos pala natin matatagpuan nang sama-sama, bilang isang pamilya, ang tunay nating hinahanap sa buhay. 

And that is why I commend parents who tag along their children. If you notice, I have my longest patience with children at mass. Because I appreciate their presence. Kahit minsan alam ko naman po na ang misa ay hindi naintindihan ng mga bata, 'yong mga nangyayari ngayon. But this will make an impact in their lives. That being with God is also important. 

I hope that our children will grow up, thinking of Sunday, not only as a mall day, but I hope that they would grow up thinking of Sunday as the day of God. As their date with God. As their encounter with God. As the family, together with God. I have always said, since time immemorial, the family that prays together, stays together. The family that revolves around God will find what they're looking for.

And so, as we continue with this mass, let us pray for that grace. Right now, let us pray for our respective families. As I posed those questions earlier, 'Ano kayang nawawala? Ano kayang hinahanap natin ngayon para sa pamilya natin?' Tatandaan natin na kung anuman 'yon, matatagpuan natin 'yon, kung kasama natin ang Diyos. Kung pupunta tayo sa Diyos.

Dear Lord, we consecrate to you our families. Our family is not perfect. Our family also would have its shadows, its weak moments. Our family also will undergo those times when we want to give up, when we want to disconnect. But Lord, today, You remind us that the family is very important to Your eyes. That the family is very close to Your heart. Be in our homes, dear Lord. Be the center of our family. For with you, nothing is impossible. With you, we will find what we are looking for. Amen. 
 You may also want to see: A Holy Life - The Holy Family

A Holy Life

The Holy Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph

Feast day – December 30

The Feast of the Holy Family is a liturgical celebration in the Roman Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday following Christmas, unless that Sunday is January 1st, in which case it is celebrated on December 30th.

The feast of the Holy Family was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany; that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7 through January 13, all inclusive (see General Roman Calendar of 1962). The calendar of the 1962 Roman Missal, whose use is still authorized, keeps the celebration on that date. It was never a holy day of obligation, unless its celebration fell on a Sunday, when therefore there is an obligation to attend Mass on that day.

In the calendar promulgated in 1969, the feast was moved to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas, between Christmas and New Year's Day (both exclusive), or when there is no Sunday within the Octave (if both Christmas Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are Sundays), it is held on 30 December, a Friday in such years. (In other words, the feast is on the same day as the Tridentine-rite Mass of the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas.)

Sources for this article were taken from:



Son of God and Son of Mary, bless our family. Graciously inspire in us the unity, peace, and mutual love that you found in your own family in the little town of Nazareth.

Mother of Jesus and our Mother, nourish our family with your faith and your love. Keep us close to your Son, Jesus, in all our sorrows and joys.

Foster-father to Jesus, guardian and spouse of Mary, keep our family safe from harm. Help us in all times of discouragement or anxiety.

make our family one with you. Help us to be instruments of peace. Grant that love, strengthened by grace, may prove mightier than all the weaknesses and trials through which our families sometimes pass. May we always have God at the center of our hearts and homes until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with you.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph
I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
may I breath forth my soul in peace with you.