Feast Of Sto. Niño
15 January 2017
Eph. 1:3-6; 15-18
Mt. 18:1-5, 10
Introduction: Filipinos love children and fondle them as cute! The image of the Infant Jesus is connected with our history since the onset of evangelization of our Country in 1521. That is why the Feast of Sto. Niño is celebrated in the entire Philippines today. This is a timely reminder for us of the value of life and the care for children and their equivalent as persons in our society.
(1) This typically Filipino Feast – Sto. Niño – commemorates the First Mass ever celebrated on Philippine soil by Fr. Pedro de Valderama on 31 March 1521. Following this event was Rajah Humabon and his wife’s baptism along with others. Humabon was named Carlos after the name of the Spanish King and his wife was named Joana in honor of the King’s mother. To commemorate this event, Magellan gifted Joana an image of Infant Jesus which became ever since to this day the venerated Icon in Cebu.
(2) Today’s Feast reminds us to be welcoming of children as Jesus was. We welcome the baby in the womb of mothers. Married couples are to be open to life in their love-making! May all children be treated as persons in every family, as precious gifts of God to mankind, treated well by their parents, not abused verbally or physically or allowed to be abused sexually in child trafficking, even in cyber space! May the elders care to guard them from the dangers of the world: from bad company or for vices of smoking, drugs, alcohol, gambling, and from sin.
(3) Today’s feast also reminds us to care for God’s creatures who because of some defect will remain forever little children to be cared for. I refer to the PWD, even the elderly in their second childhood. Parents and family members, do not be ashamed of them in society. They are treasures of the Church, even “swerte” in the family. If they are cared for well and loved they become normal. Our love makes them normal! Try it and see the result!
Conclusion: The Sto. Niño challenges all of us to care for one another especially the most vulnerable and defenseless, not as things to be used but as gifts to be cared for because God created everyone and everything as special.
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches