January 9 is the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Year after year devotees from various places and from all walks of life flock to Quiapo Church to join in the celebration. They say this is their panata (vow) before God for the miraculous healing and other blessings they received. Since God answered their prayers and gave them what they wanted, they ought to fulfill their panata (vow) not only to thank God but in order to receive more blessings from God.
Year 2018 has come! Whenever another year comes, we always consider it a new year. And so, we greet each other, “Happy New Year!” But as we end one year after another it seems that the word new remains an unfulfilled dream. Things remain the same or even worse. The lives of ordinary people are not getting better, despite claims to the contrary. Prices of basic commodities are going up, while the value of human life is going down.
The story of Jesus’ birth recorded in Matthew 1:18-25 is one of the most controversial texts in the Scriptures. But I do not intend to deal with its controversial aspects and much more its mystical elements. What I would like to stress in the writer’s assertion that Jesus’ birth and the things that happened surrounding his birth and growing years have something to do with his becoming the savior of his people.
Of all the Gospel writers, Luke is apparently the most down-to-earth in terms of describing the events and narrating the whole story of Jesus’ birth (cf. Luke 2:1-21). It begins with the journey of a poor couple, Mary and Joseph, who, according to the Biblical records, were not officially married at that time. They were on their way to Bethlehem from their own hometown of Nazareth to fulfill an imperial decree that all people should register not for election purposes (election at that time were not necessary), but for taxation purposes.
November 30 is Bonifacio Day. It is a day to remember a man who offered his life in the pursuit of genuine freedom for our country and people. This man is no other than Andres Bonifacio, the Great Plebian, who was unfortunately betrayed by his own fellow Filipinos in the course of a shameful struggle for leadership in the revolutionary movement against the Spanish colonizers. Historians are saying that he was the first Asian to rise up against the tyranny of Western colonization.
Now, the next question that confronts us today is how are we to give our children Christian education and nurture? How are we to bring our children to Jesus Christ our Lord so that he may touch them and bless them?
November is designated as Children’s Month. As Christian parents, we are responsible for many things with respect to our children. We are called upon to provide our children with food, shelter, and clothing. But in the words of our Biblical text, our greatest responsibility as Christian parents is to let our children come to Jesus Christ our Lord. When we do not do this, then we have failed somehow in our Christian responsibility to our children.
It is significant to note that the worst typhoon in human history named Yolanda happened in our country in the month of November designated as Stewardship Month. In the light of Yolanda commemoration, let us focus our reflection on the stewardship of creation.
November 1 and November 2 are designated as All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, respectively. Roman Catholic traditions try to differentiate the two occasions saying that November 1 is supposedly a celebration purposely intended only for the church’s canonized saints, while November 2 is supposedly for all. But in practice, people do not actually recognize such distinctions.
SECOND OF TWO PARTS
In his study of Methodism in the Philippines, Richard Deats observed that much of the Protestant social witness has been in the nature of first aid, without challenging the entrenched evils that make the first aid necessary. He therefore called for a church that must address itself to such evils as those caused by the gross exploitation of natural resources, the control of much of the land by a few landowners, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and chronic unemployment.
Christianity worldwide is celebrating its 500 years of Protestant Reformation this year. What is significant in this year’s celebration is the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church.
International Teachers’ Day is celebrated annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorating the signing of the “Teaching in Freedom” document in 1966. The main purpose this celebration is to appreciate, assess and improve the educators of the world and to provide an opportunity to consider issues related to teachers and teaching.