Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Gospel Reflection

January 01, 2013
Tuesday – Year of Faith
Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God
by  Rev. Fr. Rufino Jun Sescon (Chaplain, Sto. Niño de Paz Greenbelt Chapel)
6:00PM Mass at Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel, Greenbelt, Makati

Reading 1 Nm 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:  “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:  This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,  and I will bless them.”

Responsorial Psalm Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

R. (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2 Gal 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to ransom those under the law,  so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons,  God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,  crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a son,  and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Gospel Lk 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message  that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen,  just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.


Once again, Happy New Year po sa inyong lahat.

Nararamdaman ko pa rin ang puyat n'yo. Siguro may mga pamilyang hindi nagse-celebrate ng Noche Buena, pero lahat pag Media Noche, talagang nagdiriwang at nag-aabang.

And as a Church, let us also be reminded that it is a Holy Day of Obligation today for us Catholics, not because it is the first day of the new year, but rather because today, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. In fact, in the Church, New Year took place already during Advent. It is not really New Year today in the calendar of the Church. It is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. That Jesus, born to Mary, is not only man, but true God and true Man. That would have a lot of repercussions in geology, but for us, tayo pong mga Katoliko ay naniniwalang si Hesus ay Diyos at Taong totoo, and Mary is the Mother of the God-Man, Jesus.

Today, Blessed John Paul II, also, when he was Pope, instituted the World Day of Prayer for Peace. We begin the New Year begging for peace. And what better way to begin the new year, what better way to pray for peace, than to be with Mary, Mother of God, and Queen of Peace.

Well of course we know that most of us would really focus on the New Year, and we have different traditions. I remember my parents would tell me, and even my grandparents, as we begin the countdown, my Lola will hold me and she will inspect me, because my Lola would make sure that my pockets are filled up, para daw buong taon may laman. Ganoon talaga ang mga tradisyon, ano, mga pamahiin.

Sasabihin, "buksan ang mga bintana para pumasok ang swerte". Eh 'yong magnanakaw ang pumasok, ano? (laughs) Lahat ng usok, ano, pumasok. (laughs) And of course, you have your fruits, ano, lahat bilog. May mga naka-polka dots ba ngayon? Ayan, para daw ho talagang swertehin. These are symbols. And of course, by midnight, meron pa bang tumatalon sa inyo sa midnight? Huwag ho kayong maniwala doon. (laughs) Lagi ho akong tumatalon, wala naman hong bisa, ano? (laughs) One inch na lang po 'yong hinihiling kong pandagdag, wala pa rin. (laughs)

Anyway, I was just reminded to tell you a story of these three guys who went to a New Year's Eve party. They got so drunk and when they were going back home - they were living in a condominium in the 31st floor - and when they arrived in the lobby, the receptionist told them, "Sir, we are sorry but the elevator is not working. You have to climb the stairs in going to your room." One of them said, "Well, that's fine. Anyway it's New Year." And he told his friends, "Ok, you, as we climb the first ten floors, you lead us in singing, para hindi tayo ma-bore, para hindi tayo mapagod, kakanta tayo. And then during the second set of flight of stairs, I will tell you jokes and funny stories. And then on the last set of stairs...", he pointed to his other friend and said, "you tell us sad stories."

So up they went. The first ten floors, they were singing. Lasing na, eh. On the second flight, they were exchanging jokes and funny stories. And now, for the final set of stairs, the first guy said, "Alright, you begin with the sad stories." And then the third guy said, "Alright, you want to me to tell you a sad story? Sad news? Well, you see, I left the key of our room there in the car." (shocked reaction and laughs) That is really very sad, ano? (laughs) They have to go down again, 'no

You know, if you are about to go to a place, and you are about to leave a place, you try to check what you're bringing. I remember one summer exposure, there was this priest who really had a habit. Once he closes the door of his room, he is like a security guard engaged in body check. Mayroon ba kayong kilalang ganoong tao, ano? Kapag lalabas ng bahay, lalabas ng kuwarto, kakapain 'yong bulsa, titignan 'yong bag, if he was able to bring the key, if he was able to bring what he is supposed to bring. This priest would make sure that he brought his keys. For him, that was the most important thing that should be in his pocket.

I remember when we were students, for ten years, I already had imbibed that habit that once I go, I will touch my pocket and check if my rosary is there. Kasi ini-inspection lagi ang rosary. May points. Pag wala kang rosary, minus. And it became so part of my life that even after school, once I leave, I try to check my pocket if I have my rosary. May mga ganoong tao.

Kayo kaya, pag paalis kayo, paglabas ngayon, sasabihin ninyo, "Naku, huwag n'yong kalimutan 'yong senior citizens' ID, sayang 'yon. 20% din 'yon, kakain tayo ngayon." 'Yong iba sa inyo, of course, hindi pwedeng makalimutan, double check pa, ang cell phone. Napakahalaga ng cell phone na 'yan. Minsan pag nakatayo kayo rito, nakikita ko 'yong iba sa inyo habang nagmimisa, kinakapa ang cell phone. Nandito pa ba, baka nanakaw na, ano? (laughs) Chine-check n'yo 'yong cell phone ninyo, ano?

When you are about to leave, when you are about to go to a place, you try to check - ano kaya 'yong mga hindi pwedeng mawala? 'Yong mga iba talaga may mga 'kikay' kit. Mga 'kikay' kit ng mga nanay, mga Ate. Pero minsan, kahit mga lalaki mayroon na ring gano'n. (laughs) May mga 'kikay' kit na rin. Di pwedeng mawala ang make-up, kasi kahit ano'ng mangyari, magme-make-up. Pagkatapos magmisa, magme-make-up. Bago kumain, magme-make-up. Pagkatapos kumain, magme-make-up. (laughs) Palagi nilang dala at hindi pwedeng mawala sa bulsa nila 'yan.

But you know, my brothers and sisters, today, on the first day of 2013, we just left the old year. We are now venturing to the new year. Perhaps today, it would be good to ask ourselves - what are bringing? What did we leave behind? Did you bring what you're supposed to bring for the new year? Or perhaps you're still carrying with you, things that should have been left behind?

Naranasan na ho ba ninyo 'yon? Ang dami dami n'yong dinala. Pupunta kayo sa beach, nagdala ka ng pantalon, nagdala ka ng sapatos, pero hindi mo naman pala kailangan. Ang daming laman ng bulsa natin, pero hindi naman pala kailangan. Today, New Year, remember that we are also on a journey. A journey in life. And what are we bringing?

It is in this context that the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, makes sense. Because, Mary, we were told in the Gospel, pondered everything in her heart. Mary had the right things in her heart. And she is our example, our model, our intercessor, on how to journey this New Year. And so we pray to Mary, to our Mother, to help us carry what should be in our hearts.

(Father Jun pauses for a while in the reflection and showed the people a short, 2-minute video clip entitled "Stethoscope", showing what is in the hearts of people, what we carry in our hearts, and what we left behind, hopefully to challenge us and make us think, what is really in us.)

Kung sa atin kaya itatapat ang stethoscope na 'yon - anong kanta kaya, ano kaya ang maririnig natin? Pag-ibig o galit? Kapayapaan o awayan? As we begin the New Year, it may be good to ask ourselves - what is in our hearts? What are we carrying in our journey?

At this point, instead of pursuing a reflection, I will invite you to join me in prayer. The first day of the New Year is about to end. But perhaps because we are so busy, we are so tired, we have so many concerns, we have not really prayed from the heart, and really talked to the Lord. And so I invite you to take this opportunity with me, in this mass - in our first mass, in your first mass for this new year - that we may truly offer a sincere prayer for the Lord.

You may close your eyes - just don't fall asleep (laughs) - and silently join me in this prayer.


"Good Lord, it is the first day of 2013. A few hours have already passed since midnight when we bid goodbye to 2012. Oh, that year was so fast. It was just like yesterday, when we had also the new year for 2012. Where has the old year gone, Lord? How did it go? And how did I go with you, Lord, during those past 12 months?

I remember the times we walked and talked together, You and I. And I remember the times when I forgot, somehow, that You were right there beside me. I remember the times when You took delight in my words and in my work. And I remember the times I ignored and forgot You. But still, You loved me and forgave me. Nothing I have done, Lord, merits all You have given me. Your love is grace and pure gift. In return, Lord, I offer so little. And I have so little to offer. Yes, Lord. I offer so little, and I have so little to offer.

But there comes a new year, Lord, and with it, my prayer to live a life more worthy of all that You so freely give me. In this new year, Lord, make strong my resolve to be faithful. Make deep my trust in Your presence. Make sure my hope in Your promise. For without Your help, I will fail.

Lord, You offer me only what is true and pure, good and just, strong in grace. In this new year, help me to recognize what is false, cheap and sham. Help me settle for nothing less than what comes from Your heart and light. Lord, I praise You. I thank You. I am sorry. Help me."


At this point, brothers and sisters, we will pray a prayer of offering. If you don't mind, I invite you to place your right hand on top of your chest, near your heart, and feel the beat of your heart. Every beat of your heart, is a beat of God's love. A beat of grace. A beat of opportunity. A beat of hope.


"Lord, I offer You my heart for this year ahead, and pray that You soften what is hard in it. That you smoothen its rough edges. That you heal its brokenness. Not so much for my sake, but for those who will come to my heart and its love, in the new year. I offer You my mind, and pray that You help me sort through some of my doubts and confusion. That You sharpen my mind with truth. That You expand the narrows of my mind, and open me to wonders I don't yet know.

Lord, I offer You my body. Help me respect and care for the flesh and bone that You formed to my soul. Take me out of bed, off the couch, up from the chair. Move me, shake me, walk me, strengthen me, and my moral frame, for the work You give me to do.

Lord, I offer You my time in 2013. Teach me not to waste the precious time You give me. Fill my days with energy and the will to live by Your Word, and work for Your glory. Fill my nights with deep and restful sleep. Show me what You will make of my life in the new year ahead.

Lord, in this new year, I offer You those who You've entrusted to my care. My family. My friends. The people I work and live with. Those who look to me and lean on me for support, care and hope. Make me faithful to them. But make me not so strong, Lord, that I fail to depend and lean on You.

I offer You my blessings in the year ahead. Help me know the difference between what I desire, and what I truly need. Teach me to share what I have, especially when I have more than I need. Teach me to see the needs of others, and to care for them, as I care for myself.

Lord, I offer You the challenges of the year ahead. Give me the wisdom and strength I need to confront and work through them. And I offer You the burdens and sorrows the new year will bring. Give me strength and the consolation to bear them. 

I offer You the joys of the new year, Lord. Let me not miss one of them. Let me delight in them. And let me share them with others.

Lord, we are here, right now, before You. We are alive. You are giving us a brand new chapter, a blank chapter that we will still write on, and may we write it on with Your will forward.

Lord, we have just left 2012. May we leave behind the wounds, the bitterness, the anger, the divisions, the conflicts, the burdens, the obstacles. Lord, if right now we are still carrying them, grant me the strength to let go. And Lord, let me grab firmly what I truly need in this journey - love, forgiveness, peace, truth, Your goodness.

I offer you the new year, Lord, and pray that I will come to its end in Your peace and in the embrace of Your arms. With Mary, Your Mother and my Mother, Queen of Peace, I shall journey the new year with confidence, Lord, because as I feel now the beat of my heart, I can also feel Your love, Your presence, Your peace. You are in me, O Lord. Remind me always that I carry You in my heart. And with that, I am so confident for this new year. 

I praise You, Lord. I thank You, Lord. I am sorry, Lord. Help me, Lord. Amen.

 Mary Mother of God - pray for us

You may also want to see; A Holy Life - Mary Mother of God

A Holy Life

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Feast day – January 01

This feast, closely connected to the feast of Christmas, is the most important and oldest of the major feasts of Mary. It is based on the source of her privileges: her motherhood. Jesus Christ, God's Son " born of a woman," (Galatians 4,4) came to deliver us from sin and make us children of God. He is also Mary's Son, and she, his mother, helps bring his blessings to the world.

She is "truly the Mother of God and of the Redeemer...not merely passively engaged by God, but freely cooperating in the work of our salvation through faith and obedience." (Lumen Gentium,53,56)

Mary was not simply a passive instrument in God's hands; rather she discovered and accepted new dimensions to her motherhood as her life unfolded. Scripture indicates signs of her new unfolding motherhood.

At the marriage feast in Cana in Galilee, where Jesus worked his first miracle, Mary is "the Mother of Jesus" who manifests " a new kind of motherhood according to the spirit and not just according to the flesh, that is to say Mary's solicitude for human beings, her coming to them in the wide variety of their wants and needs. At Cana in Galilee there is shown only one concrete aspect of human need, apparently a small one and of little importance ("They have no wine"). But it has a symbolic value, this coming to the aid of human beings means, at the same time, bringing those needs within the radius of Christ's messianic mission and salvific power." (Pope John Paul 11, Redemptoris Mater 21)

Mary's care for humanity and its needs would not limited to her earthly life; it lasts "without interruption until the eternal fulfilment of all the elect. (Lumen Gentium, 62)
Whether in her own lifetime or from her place in heaven, Mary's solicitude for human beings looks, above all, to making known the messianic power of her Son. At Cana in Galilee she told the servers at table, "Do what he tells you." (John 2,5) In all her care for others, she points out Jesus to them.

Throughout her life, then, Mary was a follower of her Son. At the foot of the cross, her motherhood reached a new maturity when Mary experienced her Son's redeeming love for the world. Her spirit was touched and refined by the mystery of his death and resurrection.

From his cross, Jesus, seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, said to Mary, "Woman, behold your son."(John 19,25-27) "The words uttered by Jesus signify that the motherhood of her who bore Christ finds a 'new' continuation in the Church and through the Church, symbolized and represented by John. " (Redemptoris Mater, 24)

Before Pentecost, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit promised by Jesus, the disciples "continued with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."(Acts 1,14) "Thus Mary who is present in the mystery of Christ as Mother becomes- by the will of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit- present in the mystery of the Church. In the Church too she continues to be a maternal presence, as is shown by the words spoken from the cross:'Woman, behold your son.' 'Behold, your mother.' "

Sources for this article were taken from:  http://www.cptryon.org



Hail, Mary, Mother of God, venerable treasure of the whole universe, lamp that is never extinguished, crown of virginity, support of the true faith, indestructible temple, dwelling of him whom no place can contain, O Mother and Virgin! Through you all the holy Gospels call blessed the one whom comes in the name of the Lord.
Hail, Mother of God. You enclosed under your heart the infinite God whom no space can contain. Through you the Most Holy Trinity is adored and glorified, the priceless cross is venerated throughout the universe. Through you the heavens rejoice, and the angels and archangels are filled with gladness. Through you the demons are banished, and the tempter fell from heaven. Through you the fallen human race is admitted to heaven.

Hail, Mother of God. Through you kings rule, and the only-begotten Son of God has become a star of light to those who were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Mary Mother of God – Pray for us