3rd Sunday In Ordinary Time (Feast Of Sto. Nino)
Cycle B | 21/01/18
Is. 9: 1-6
Eph. 1: 3-6; 15-18
Mk. 10: 13-16
INTRODUCTION: The Sto. Nino is one of the most popular devotions among Filipinos that dates back to the beginnings of Christianity in the Philippines. It is believed that Ferdinand Magellan, who along with the Spanish Conquistadores discovered our beautiful land, gifted the Queen of Cebu with an image of Sto. Nino before losing his life in battle in Mactan in 1521. The same image was found by the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1565 whence the devotion spread throughout the Country.
(1) The focus of the devotion is the Child Jesus in the Christmas story, the mystery of God who takes on the life of a human being so that our life can be a sign of God. This Child Isaiah calls in the first reading “a child born and a son given” with all kinds of titles of divinity, “our ruler, Counsellor, God, Father, and Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah is speaking of this Child who is weak but God. This devotion brings out Jesus’ love for children as the Feast is a family feast in many regions. However, this love of Jesus for children should not be attributed to an alleged innocence of children–the N.T. never says that children are innocent–but to the fact that they spontaneously act in the awareness that they need others, that they are dependent on others. It is this spirit that the aspirants to the Kingdom should acquire: awareness that they are dependent on God and that they are interdependent in the community.
(2) In the Gospel, this Child Jesus come of age shows fondness for children embracing them, taking offense at how his disciples treat them, and pointing that being childlike is one of the conditions for entry into the Kingdom. The principal beneficiaries of the Kingdom are children, those negligible being (Mk. 10:17-27) The Kingdom is offered to people and must be welcomed with the freshness and simplicity of a child who neither reasons nor calculates but gives itself altogether without hesitation.
Christ’s reception of children thus cannot be regarded as a recommendation for infantilism or another vain search for primeval innocence. What he is recommending is the adult attitude which acknowledges limitations and accepts dependence upon God with interdependence between people. It is an attitude which gives due place to reason but employs the whole person, heart included, in the quest for faith. The child who acts with all his/her being,is in the final analysis more human and integral than the thinker entangled in arguments and worry about motives.
(3) Today also the whole Church remembers the Pontifical Missionary Work of the Holy Childhood. Parents and educators should inculcate in the children an active interest and devotion to the Missions. Children are told to pray, do good works, and offer sacrifices for the Missions. They are asked to recite one Our Father, Hail Mary with the invocation “St. Francis Xavier, St.Therese of the Child Jesus, Pray for us and for the children of the world.”
CONCLUSION: This devotion is so popular because in Jesus we recognize ourselves, our own humanity in all its helplessness. See in hi the kind of person we watts become: good, loving, trustworthy, approachable to everyone who wants to encounter Jesus. We are to become like the adult Christ, caring for others, “giving up our life” by doing in everything “the will of the Father.”
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches