Saturday, December 20, 2014

Advent prepares us for Christmas. 9 days of Simbang Gabi make us better understand the significance. Day by day, we deepen our faith. May this season transform our hardened heart into a heart of flesh

Simbang Gabi Webcasting at the Gesu 2014

1st Gabi celebrated by Fr. Jose Quilongquilong SJ, president of the Loyola School of Theology.  Choir: Bukas Palad. Prepares us for the main intention of the Simbang Gabi which is the perseverance of the nation in faith. How to persevere faith: Giftedness, Gratitude and Generosity. Faith is a gift and a blessing. Faith is a perseverance of gratitude of God’s gift, to remember the goodness and the kindness of God. Christmas is a celebration of the covenant. Faith is an expressed work of generosity, an open mindedness. Through the Simbang Gabi, deepen our Christian faith to a life of giftedness, gratitude and generosity.
Homily starts at 16:10

2nd Gabi with Fr. Jose Mario C Francisco. Featured choir was the Dorm Ministry. Are you ready for the coming of the Lord? Against the backdrop of the plight of the Israelites, who were not prepared because they did not listen to message and their heart has hardened they were not saved. How do we prepare? Those in the know will be saved. Hurt, disappointment, betrayal hardened our heart. When it does we do not hear the message of Christ. To soften, God took on a heart of flesh. This Christmas, look into our hearts. Look for signs of the hardening heart. Try to soften to turn into a heart of flesh. When it does, we are ready and our noche buena will be a feast.
Homily starts at 16:30

3rd Gabi Fr Aristotle C Dy. Featured choir is Aleron. Fr. Dy expounds on the lineage of Christ, the significance of 14 generations and the diversity of composition leading to the importance of family, memories and the linkage between God and humanity. This Christmas, we value family, its memory and its diversity and imperfection and how it set the foundation to where we are now. Christmas gives us time to reflect on memories with our families with hope for the future.

4th Gabi Presider is Fr Emmanuel L Alfonso. Singing led by the Ateneo College Glee Club. Life interrupted. When dreams and projects are derailed, life is interrupted. Relating to St. Joseph’s predicament that he is to have a family. But his expectation of the family is not what is given to him. Yet with God’s graces, whenever life is interrupted, open ourselves to the possibilities of greater plans for us. Life on earth is indeed an unfinished symphony. Pope Francis’ plan to retire was interrupted with a greater plan for him after being elected Pope.
Homily starts at 14:20

5th Gabi with Fr Peter O Pojol as presider and music singing led by Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation Music Ministry. Homily details further the Jesus story about the consecration and the significance of grape and growing the hair long highlighting the importance of several people to fulfill the promise of salvation. “Jesus story is the quickening and fulfillment of God’s plan for salvation for all humanity. Plan involves people who are heralds of God’s benevolence by being consecrated to God . . . “. It is His story where we have a role to play.
Homily starts at 16:35

6th Gabi presider is Fr. Xavier Alpasa with the Barangka choir leading the singing. Mary said “Yes!” That was the staging thought dramatized further in various anecdotes, paradigms and mindsets to convey the message of faith in God, the paschal mystery and the joy of Christmas. When we are on low bat, how do we cope? When resources are low and we are struggling, who do we turn to?  How do we encounter Christ goes through steps. Saying yes entails going through a cycle guided by the acronym P.A.S.K.O where P is permanent, A for alab, Sagrado, Kristo and OO for O. Christmas reminds us how Christ redeems us. Our life goes through two halves where the 1st is the coping part with our needs. When needs are challenged, we face a crisis. We doubt, we fear. Crisis presents to us a path with 2 options, either go back to the 1st half facing our needs or move on to trust and to accept God’s graces. Saying yes is the acceptance of the great “I am.” The feeling of accepting God’s grace is described in the gathering of a family together after several decades of separation as narrated based on a personal experience.
Homily ends with Christmas Bells, a poem by Henry Wadsworth “And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said; ‘For hate is strong,  And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’ Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: ‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep! The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men!’"
Faith is a permanent call centered on Christ.  Say Yes.
The final intention of prayer of the faithful "For each one of us, that we may hear the permanent call, that we may be brought to the deep desires, that we may make everything sacred, that we may find Christ and that we may say Yes."
Homily starts at 15:45

7th Gabi with Fr. Antonio Moreno as presider. Be not afraid. The message of the angel to Mary was to accept in the midst of uncertainty and fear. Relating to the desire of a parish priest in Sierra Leone not to leave the ebola stricken community in an atmosphere of fear and uncertainly, he stayed to be with his parish. Not to cure, not to raise the death but to be with his people, provide a sense of solidarity and to  give hope. We face many fears one of them is fear of being poor. We face fear with courage. Not being afraid and accepting is to trust in Emmanuel. God is Emmanuel. God is love. He says to us “I am here!”
Homily starts at 16:14

8th Gabi with Fr. Raymund Benedict Hizon as presider and singing led by Hangad. We pray for various reasons, the fundamental and the genuine. We ask and yet eventually submit ourselves to His will. All prayers though with doubts are answered, the more specific, the better. Asking doesn’t make Him change how he looks at us but changes us on how we look at Him. Prayers follow a format. ACTS. Adoration Contrition.Thanksgiving. Say or Ask. Sharing a personal testimony experienced before Christmas 2013, prayer directed to Ina on the homesickness of a son and the comfort of a mother who suffered a stroke, demonstrated the power of prayer. Mary is an intercessor to our supplication. Let us approach the Lord. Prayer opens our eyes to giftedness. Be not afraid to ask.
Homily starts at 14:26

9th Gabi with presider Fr Norberto Ma L Bautista and Ateneo Chamber Singers singing. What's in a name? How the angel Gabriel influenced Elizabeth and Zacharias to name their son John contrary to tradition. How John lived an ordinary life contrary to expectation. The heroic deeds of a Tacloban military man and a boy during the storm surge, the cafe manager in the Sidney siege and the school teacher of the Pakistan massacre. How it shows God's mercy and compassion. What the theme of the pope's visit means.
Homily starts at 16:36

Webcast courtesy of

The ritual with incense as explained to me by Bien Cruz. In all the masses, the presider is accompanied by altar boys who carry the cross, candles and incense. Scattering incense scent is a ritual practice practiced when masses were celebrated at the catacomb to sanitize the stench. Now is it used to cast away evil.  It is done at the altar, on the bible and on the presider.


  1. Fr. Jett Villarin in his Christmas mass homily shared the significance of the birth of Christ. With Christ in flesh, God through Christ is now like us, near us and is light. There is mutuality between God and man in likeness. Nearness is relative distance, we can be close or be far. The extreme of lightness is heaviness.

  2. From the homily of Fr. J. Villarin- "There are three things we can become and we can promise to each other this Christmas eve. We can be like each other; we can be close to each other; and we can be light on each other. Likeness, nearness, and lightness. These are the blessings we celebrate every Christmas. Pondering the image of mother and child, we discover that when God took human flesh and took on this human journey, he was revealing something about his likeness, his nearness, and his lightness to us. With every gift we offer, let us assure each other of our likeness and nearness and lightness to one another."

  3. Dreams and importance of family

  4. Simbang Gabi homilists meeting the Pope