Monday, December 31, 2012

Gospel Reflection

December 31, 2012
Monday – Year of Faith
Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
by Rev. Fr. Boogie Tacador, Society of St. Paul
12:15PM Mass, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel (Greenbelt Chapel), Makati

Reading 1 1 Jn 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel Jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'" From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him.


Good afternoon and Happy New Year.

We are now busy preparing for tonight's activity, for the Media Noche. Kung may Noche Buena po noong nakaraang Christmas, ay siguradong mayroon na naman tayong hinandang pagkain para po mamaya. Nakabili na ba kayo ng 13 fruits? Kahit hindi naman tayo mga Chinoy, ano, we are still preparing 13 fruits, which is one of the traditions of the Chinese, like the firecrackers. Dati naman ang mga paputok natin mga kawayan lang. Ngayon ang tawag natin mga pla-pla, mga 'goodbye Philippines'. Baka sa susunod atomic bomb na yong gawing paputok (laughs) huwag naman, ano.

Let us prepare ourselves as we approach the year 2013. And going into our Gospel today, it seems that there is an irony or shall we say, paradox, because today is December 31, 2012, but our Gospel speaks about 'in the beginning'. In the beginning. Based on the Gospel reading today, we are asked to reflect on the challenges that await us in the year 2013. For the Chinese, it could be the 'Year of the Water Snake'. But for us, Christians and Catholics, today is the 'Year of Faith'. It is the year of grace and faith for all of us.

What are the things that we need to consider as part of our preparation for the year 2013? First, today should be a moment of reflection, a moment of discernment on what transpired during the year 2012. Kami po sa Society of St. Paul, from 7 in the morning up to 6 o'clock in the afternoon, we have a whole day of adoration. It is a day of prayer for all of us, to reflect on what transpired during the year 2012. Ano po ba 'yong mga blessings na dumating sa akin? Ano ba 'yong mga pagpapala na ibinigay sa akin ng Panginoon?

At the same time, as we look back, we also ask ourselves. Ano ba 'yong mga pagkakamaling nagawa ko? Ano ba 'yong mga hindi ko dapat gawin? When we are aware of the what transpired during the year, lalo na 'yong mga pagkakamali natin, hindi natin mauulit ang mga iyon in the year 2013, or in the coming years. 'Yan ay isa nating dapat na plano sa araw na ito. The Gospel tells us that in the beginning of this year, we should already reflect on what transpired - the good and not so good - and try to correct them, and fulfill our promise as we enter the year 2013.

Secondly, it could be a day to reflect on the season of Christmas. The Gospel today is also the same Gospel on December 25, on the day of Christmas. In that way, we are also challenged by the Gospel today to realize the meaning of Christmas in our life. As we approach the year 2013, the Christmas story tells us about the coming of the Son of God. The Word became flesh and became the Light of the world. Ang liwanag ng mundo ay dumating sa ating buhay.

This, perhaps, should be another moment for us to reflect. Kung si Hesus ay isinilang sa sabsaban ng ating puso, the Light of the World and the Light of our lives, hayaan nating ang Ilaw Niya ang magliwanag sa ating buhay. Tonight, the sky will be lighted by fireworks. There will be so many lights in the sky. But despite all the glittering lights in the sky, ang tunay na ipinagdiriwang natin ay ang tunay na liwanag ng mundo at ng ating buhay. At 'yan ay walang iba kundi si Hesus na isinilang sa sabsaban ng ating puso.

Jesus came and became one among us, except sin, so that by being one of us, He will guide us to the light of life. 

Finally, in our Gospel today, the Mystery of the Incarnation reminds us that the Word became man. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Lord God offered Himself for our salvation. That is the meaning of Christmas; that is the Mystery of the Incarnation. God dwelling among us and taking our humanity initiates the history of salvation in our own lives. God is one among us in order to bring us toward divinity. 'Yon po ang Mystery of Incarnation na ipinagdiriwang po natin ngayong Pasko at Bagong Taon.

Sana po sa panahon ngayon ay huwag nating kalimutan na ang Diyos na napakabanal ay nagkatawang tao, inako ang ating pagkatao, upang maligtas tayo sa kasalanan, upang makasama natin Siya, at isama Niya tayo sa buhay na banal. As we approach 2013, sana ang kabanalan na 'yan and the quest for holiness will always be there. As the 'Year of Faith', the year 2013 should be a moment of grace upon grace to us, when we should continue striving toward holiness of life.

Sana sa Bagong Taon, mayroon ding pagbabagong maganap sa ating buhay at ang pagbabagong 'yan ay magsisimula in our quest for holiness in our life. My dear brothers and sisters, mag-ingat po tayo ngayong gabi, lalo na po sa mga paputok. In the center of our celebration, as we close the year 2013, sana hindi maalis sa ating isipan ang hamon ng ating Ebanghelyo sa araw na ito, na si Hesus ang liwanag ng ating buhay, at Siyang magbibigay ng gabay at daan sa atin patungo sa kabanalan ng buhay. May God bless us all.