Sunday, December 18, 2016

Birth of New Faith, Hope and Love. 2016 Simbang Gabi at the Gesu

9. The gospel of the final novena of the Simbang Gabi at the Gesu narrates the naming of the old couple Elizabeth and Zachariah's son as John. The ceremony fulfills the transition of the childless couple from barrenness to fruitfulness as a result of conception.

Fr. Adolfo Dacanay in his homily explains that the name John which was divinely inspired captures the significance of the birth as it means "precious gift of God." Childless for decades, the conception gives importance to the virtue of patiently waiting which is lacking today especially in this virtual age.

When the promise of salvation is fulfilled with the birth of Christ, God would have gifted us with the ultimate joy.

This Christmas, we are reminded not to take the gift for granted which is manifested in opportunities, blessings as these are precious which the merciful God granted to us unconditionally.

Merry Christmas!
2016 Katipunan

Banner from the Ateneo website
8. On the 8th day of the 9-day Simbang Gabi at the Gesu, Fr. Arnel Aquino provides a perspective on the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. Like Fr. Luis David’s scholarly homily, it expands on the significance of the Magnificat, magnifying God but with a point of view of humanity. While we glorify God, it should not diminish man to smallness. Magnifying Him should not invalidate our humanity. Yet we also magnify when we like to look good, invalidating, belittling, underestimating and putting people down.

God created man in the likeness of His image. God’s biography is imprinted on humanity. Through the promise of salvation fulfilled on Christmas day, it should bridge us close to him. Thus life is sacred and to be valued. To be alive is pregnant with grace.
Fr. Aquino closed his homily with a message to reset our sense of self-importance: by magnifying God’s blessings multiplying our thank-yous,  validating each other and showing importance and building up.
That is the spirit behind the prayer “My soul magnifies the Lord. In God, my Savior, my spirit rejoices.”

7. Mary and Elizabeth engage in a conversation about the shared conception experience, Elizabeth with John and Mary with Jesus.

Fr. Luis David expounds on its significance and relates it with magnificat, the magnification of space and the magnification of God. In today’s time, we have a role in the magnification of God but be wary that magnification can burn.

Featured choir was Aleron which rendered an inspired “Ave Maria” and “Lord make me an instrument of peace" during communion.

Nearing Christmas, my intentions for myself, my family, my community and my nation got clearer sparked by the song Gifts for the Child of Winter with this line "O bring us winter gently, let our hearts be warm."
6. Mary conceived first in her heart and then in her womb. Mary in the virgin state was painted as innocent, naivete and childlike. Appropriately, Fr. Roberto Buenconsejo devoted his homily on Mother Mary on the 6th Simbang Gabi, a traditional Christmas novena in her honor. It enlightened us on the significance of the announcement of angel Gabriel that Mary a virgin would mother a child called Jesus.

The Ateneo College of Law Glee Club (yes, kumanta sila) interpreted the song "Inay" by Fr. Arnel Aquino about a mother waiting for the child to come home as a fitting tribute to our mother.

Our closing prayer on teaching us the value and sacredness of human dignity was offered through the intercession of Mother Mary.

5. Expounding on the barrenness to fruitfulness of Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist, Fr. Jason Dy highlights learnings happening between the transition. 1. God can transform. 2. Submit to God’s timing. 3. Fruitfulness is God’s blessing to be shared.
Barrenness in those times is seen as unfaithfulness and a punishment. To transform to fertility is a result of the promise of salvation.
This Advent season as we prepare for the birth of Christ, those among us fruitful are called upon to share with the less fortunate who are victims of structural injustice and circumstances not within their control (not the victimizers nor the opportunists but those you see as helpless but can be enabled with your gesture. No to dole outs too). Doing so makes the coming of Christ a more meaningful season for us.
Before the final blessing, a special prayer was offered to teach us the value and sacredness of human dignity among other related intentions.
Singing was led by the Ateneo College Glee Club.

4. "Do not be afraid," announced by an angel to Joseph, instilling fear, a negative emotion. We fear "what we do not understand and hate what we cannot conquer." Survival is at stake. Like going out at night and be mistaken as an addict or visiting a local prison cell. But fear also leads to a positive outcome. Spiritually, it makes us trust God. Fear awakens hope. Fear based on faith is hope. -4th night of Simbang Gabi 18 Dec at the Gesu presided by Fr. Eric Escandor. Music led by the Bukas Palad Ministry.

3. On the 3rd Simbang Gabi at the Gesu, continuing with the 2016 theme of birth of new faith, hope and love, Fr. Antonio Moreno expounds on the gloom and doom narrating the Aleppo Syria killings and evacuations, the bombing of the Jesuit chapel in Syria and closer to home, the extra judicial killings. But with solidarity and hope and the church with Pope Francis, we will overcome. Emmanuel, “Christ is with us.” Christ as the suffering man will see us through in suffering and in joy.
2. Fr. Nono Alfonso in his homily on the 2nd Simbang Gabi at the Gesu painted a gloomy picture of despair, loss, failure and defeat with the imprisonment and beheading of St. John the Baptist. Relating it to contemporary times locally and globally politically, post May 2016 elections, activities perceived as defeats were cited. So dreadful was the feeling that when peace be with you was offered, there appeared to be none.

After the mass, I personally told the priest I could not wait to jump from Day 2 to Christmas. Fr. Nono said, “matatapos din iyan.” The bad news just filters our faith to better prepare us for the birth of Christ. It is in these moments when we turn to the life of Jesus.
1. We may not want to hear the prophecies of St. John the Baptist building walls to filter them out. We unfollow him and will not gain our redemption. Yet the messages we ignore maybe what we need to know and to face. Not to forget that these unpleasant news are the ones that made Christ one of us this Christmas. –Gist of the homily of Fr. Johnny Go on the 1st Simbang Gabi 2016 at the Gesu.

Ateneo de Manila University Community Prayer
Dear Father in Heaven,
Lead us not into temptation,
the temptation to lose heart
in this time of darkness and confusion.
Deliver us from our lies and deception,
from our fears and anger that darken the Light of Truth.
Discipline our ambition, restrain those who abuse power,
those who exploit the poor and the weak.
Hold back the arm of violence,
the terror that walks our streets.
In these trying times, we pray for justice and truth,
for true peace and unity in our country.
Teach us to be vigilant always.
Give us the courage to face the dark forces
that steal the life and hope from our people.
We pray for our leaders
and for those to whom we give authority to protect us.
Turn them to your light and to your ways.
Remind us again of the value and sacredness of human dignity.
Teach us again to respect and uphold the rights of every person at all times.
No matter how sinful we are, we are still all Your children
who are precious in Your Eyes , who are Living Temples of Your Spirit.
Teach us to remember the lessons of our past.
Train our children to love and fight for the Truth,
Your Truth that makes us free and just to our neighbor.
As we wait for our Lord Jesus Christ in this Holy Season of Advent,
grant us the grace of patient discernment
to become a community that is empowered
by a faith that does justice,
a community that believes in your love
and incarnates that love in mercy and compassion.
Our faith leads us to hope in You alone
as we fight to let your light shine in the darkness,
under the banner of the cross of your Son,
and with the people you have created in your image and likeness,
out of the depth of your love.
We offer you these prayers through our Lord Jesus Christ,
with the help of Mary, our Mother.

No comments:

Post a Comment