January 21, 2017
Feast of the Sto. Nino
The Gospel Today
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them.
Reflection (Sem. Alfredo O. Dimaano, Jr.)
The Sto. Nino was the first Christian image brought to the Philippine shores as a gift from Ferdinand Magellan to the queen of Cebu, who was later on baptized to Catholicism. Since then, the devotion to the Holy Child spread and is now one of the most popular forms of religious piety in the country.
The word child in Filipino is ‘bata’. This invites me to have the child-like spirituality: trusting, honest and simple. I enjoy talking to children because they are filled with sincerity in the way that they express their thoughts and sincere with how they feel, not sugar-coating things but will simply say what is in their hearts. The same must be true for me in my relationship with God. I must present myself just as who I am with no pretensions for God knows what is in my heart. I must possess the same openness as a child especially in my prayer – trusting and authentic in my relationship with God.
At the same time, when the stress is changed, the word ‘bata’ can also mean differently to express one’s ability to carry life’s burdens. We say, “nagba-bata ng hirap”. In the same way, Jesus as a Child, with the fullness of divinity in Him, had always existed with the orientation to holy suffering. This reveals in me that as a Christian following the footsteps of Christ, I must develop in me the joy of a child and the obedient endurance to carry burdens, just as Jesus did. In that way, I can be Child-like and Christ-like.
Viva Senor Sto. Nino!