December 23

Luke 1:57-66

The Birth of John


Zechariah becomes “dumb” because of his unbelief in the news of the angel. But looking into the other characters of the story who is the real “dumb”?

The birth of John brings great joy to Zechariah,, Elizabeth, their “neighbors and relations.” This unnamed group recognizes the wonders God has done to the family but otherwise knows nothing of the deeper meaning of the birth. They even want to take charge of the naming of the child after the father. Elizabeth seems to have little to say in the matter and struggles to insist that the child be called John as the angel commanded. Zechariah finally breaks the deadlock by writing “John is his name.” his long silence is broken with his authoritative written declaration and with a beautiful canticle of praise – the Canticle of Zechariah.

Zechariah’s silence, Elizabeth’s struggle to be heard, the neighbor’s insistence on the conventional shows a significant contrast. They portray the many ways a person can express his/her conviction – voluntary or involuntary silence, persistence and courage despite suppression, assertiveness without knowing the deeper significance of the issue. The much-celebrated trial of the century with a President as the defendant depicts how people interpret the many sides of the “truth.” Where do I find myself when confronted by the truth? The objective truth leads to freedom. Freedom leads to happiness. Happiness leads to praise. Zechariah’s “dumbness” is transformed into a glorious canticle, the Benedictus, which the Church prays everyday. (Sr. Elaine Faith Taneo, SSpS, Bible Diary 2002)


A person’s name is important is important. That’s what he carries all his life, it determines his identity. One realizes more its importance in official documents. Just a wrong spelling here or there in a passport may cost him a string of troubles.

It’s interesting what the Bible says in Isaiah 49:1: “Yahweh called me from my mother’s womb; he pronounced mu name before I was born.”

That seems to be the case in today’s gospel. God himself determined the name “John” before this child was born; he was to prepare the way of the Messiah. When God plans something, his plans has to be followed up to the last detail. His word has to be believed. Zechariah, John’s father, lost his speech because he doubted the words of the angel, that his wife would bear a son even in her old age. Following God’s word, on the other hand, brings blessing, wonders and healing. When they were discussing what name they were to give, Zechariah insisted, “John is his name.” And the Scripture says, “Immediately his mouth as opened, his tongue freed and he spoke blessing God.”

Conforming with God’s plan is not easy. This had been the cause of the downfall of the angels (Rev. 12:7), of the fall of our first parents in the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1), of troubles and conflicts between husband and wife and within the family and of wars between peoples and nations. To conform one’s will to that of another is most difficult. But whatever there is conformity of wills, there is peace, there is harmony, there is sharing, there is love. When one entrusts himself totally into God’s hands, things can only go right. This is what St. Paul wanted to express in Romans 8:28: “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him, whom he has called according to his plan.” (Fr. Erasio Flores, SVD Bible Diary 2006)


In their book, Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner noted that parents name their children not after popular persons but after successful ones. It doesn’t matter what field they are in as long as they are the epitome of success. Recent popular names like Carter and Reagan (former presidents), and for some reasons biblical names like Samuel, Benjamin, Sarah are deemed “successful.”

The relatives of Zechariah therefore cannot understand his choice of the name John for his child. Most probably they didn’t know anyone named John much less a “successful and popular” John. For Zechariah, john was a name that connotes success and God’s special grace bestowed on his child. All of us have been given a special mission. Maybe our own name can give us a hint. (Fr. Boboy Jimenez, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


December 23, 2016 Friday

So much excitement…so much anticipation! Just two days before the birth of our Lord Jesus in Bethlehem. God’s wonder is in the air: Christmas trees, Christmas lights and Christmas carols.

Just like the excitement that is building up as neighbors and relatives of Elizabeth, known as old and barren but now, pregnant, were beginning to wonder how it possibly happened. Would it be a normal delivery? How’s Zechariah taken this? I can imagine, there were more questions than answers.

And many more questions on Elizabeth’s giving birth to a son, “What, then, will this child be?” And on the eight day after the child’s birth, the time for the traditional circumcision and naming, Elizabeth says it’s “John”! Zechariah, muted for questioning Angel Gabriel (Luke 1:18-20), scribbled down: “John is his name!” Henceforth, Zechariah could speak again! If I were there with the neighbors, I would have goose bumps all over and with more anticipations than questions.

In the First Reading from the Book of Malachi, the Lord is sending a messenger to prepare His “way and who is described like a refiner’s fire, refining the sons of Levi like gold or silver. As Elijah, the prophet, is being sent, God is Himself more excited because the people’s anticipation of the prophet from heaven will lead to His promised redemption.  That is why our response today is, “Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand”.

And John, born and named, is also like Elijah, sent before the day the Lord comes. John is preparing the way of the Lord, and is leading us to our redemption because the birth of our Savior is near at hand and I am so excited! (Fr. Arlo Bernardo S. Yap, SVD | CT Manila Bible Diary 2016)


8th Day of Misa de Gallo, 23 December 2013: The hand of the Lord was with him…

Readings: Malachi 3: 1-4. 23-24; Luke 1: 57-66

The short reflection on the 9th day of Misa de Gallo is taken from the Gospel reading: “All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, ‘What, then, will this child be? For surely the hand of the Lord was with him’.” (Luke 1: 66).

We often marvel at the work of the Lord in our lives… these things we need to ponder in our heart allowing the hand of the Lord to touch our lives…

Yes, the touch of the Lord is the HEART of the matter in our spiritual journey.

Today, we are reminded of a passage from the Acts that echoes the core of our spiritual journey… the heart of our solidarity with all believers…

“And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts (Acts 15: 8-9)

Many spiritual masters and directors claim that Spiritual Life is a matter of the heart. These are some of the famous phrases that point to this reality:

· Being single-hearted…

· A clean/purified heart…

· The heart of the matter…

· Religion of the heart…

· God dwelling in the heart…

· The ‘hand of the Lord is with us’…

Bapa Jun Mercado, OM


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doubt As A Christian – (Luke 1:57-66) Homily

In the Gospel today there appears to be a message worthy of our reflection.

This reflection begins with The Father of John the Baptist, Zechariah. As we recall, the Angel of the Lord had appeared to Zechariah and informed him that his prayers had been heard.

The Angel stated that Elizabeth, his wife, would bear him a son, and that he would be happy and joyful.

The Angel reported that the son was to be named John, and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb, and that many of the children of Israel would turn to the Lord because of John. But Zechariah responded to the angel by stating “How shall I Know? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” He basically told the Angel that he didn’t believe him.

So upon hearing Zachariah’s doubt, the Angel Gabriel stated that Zechariah would become speechless and unable to talk until the day these things were to take place.

How many of us have ever wondered if our prayers are actually heard by God?

And not unlike Zechariah, when there is evidence that God has indeed heard our prayers and responded to them, how many of us somewhat doubt that God had anything to do with it?

We often quickly dismiss the event as something related to chance, to luck, maybe a good break, or even due to something of our own accord.

Why is it so difficult to think that when we ask for help from God, that he listens, and then he responds.

Isn’t it really that simple?

Or are we more like a doubting Thomas than we would want to admit. As humans, we have a tendency to doubt things at times, especially if we don’t see it with our own eyes.

Even John the Baptist, that person who had become and is a model of such faith, courage, and conviction even showed this weakness later in life.

John the Baptist, while in prison sent some of his followers to Jesus and asked, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another? (Mt.11:3) In suffering he had forgotten the words that he had spoken on the Jordan River. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)

In our time of weakness, we are no different than Zachariah, or John the Baptist We doubt the grace of God. We doubt the love of God. Nothing would satisfy us more than to have Jesus appear right in front of us to convince us that he is here, that his grace is with us, and that he loves us, but then we would not have faith, we would have proof.

In moments when we are tired or sick, Satan uses these opportunities to place doubtful thoughts in our minds. Those are the moments when we must persevere the most in our faith, those are the moments when we must pray for each other.

Faith is a gift, it cannot be earned, it cannot be bought, it is a gift from God. We should thank God for the gift of faith that he has given to us, and never cease to ask God for growth in our faith, in our trust, and in our understanding of who He is.

As you are quite aware, we are rapidly approaching The Feast of Christmas.

We will be celebrating the visitation of God to His people. However we must not forget, it is a visitation that He makes everyday, and he remains continually with us.

As incredible and glorious as The Feast of Christmas is that God would become incarnate for us and he would take on our flesh and come into this world as one of us, so that he would be able to save us from our sins, this is the mystery that we celebrate, in essence, every single day. He remains with us always.

As we begin to prepare to celebrate this great Feast of Christmas and the glorious mystery of the incarnation and the birth of Christ, we look into our own hearts and we ask our selves:

How strong is my faith, My belief in God?

What type of doubts do I carry with me?

How much of my life, lived out daily, conforms with my professed beliefs.

Can I see God’s hand in the workings of my life?

Do I pray to God and then watch and listen for his response?

Am I living the mystery that I will celebrate on Christmas?

Am I prepared for Christmas? Spiritually!

Have I prepared within my heart; to be open to receive him into my life.
These are all questions that every Christian should make and seriously contemplate.

During the nine months of his wife’s pregnancy, Zechariah had time to reflect upon all that God had done for him and to meditate upon the goodness and the mercy of the Lord who cast his gaze upon his family, with the result that one of his descendants would be the one to proclaim to all the People of God the coming of the messiah!

Zechariah had a special purpose in his life. And through God’s grace fulfilled his special role.

John the Baptist, also, possessed a holy vocation that lead and prepared the path for our Lord.

Yet, we also are given a specific vocation, a calling, to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to make known who Christ is to the world.

We are to be joyful, caring, and compassionate people, whom others will know and recognize as Christians by the way we love each other. We are to develop our gifts and to utilize them for the Glory of God.

We are to cast away our doubts, to nourish our faith, to live a life free of anxiety and fear, and to know we are loved beyond our understanding by the source of all love.

And there is no doubt…..very soon it shall be Christmas, and we shall adore, praise, and thank God for the greatest gift of all time: The gift of God who became man – Jesus Christ.


KABUTIHANG MAGPAKAILANMAN: Reflection for 8th Day of Christmas Novena -SIMBANG GABI – December 22, 2014 – YEAR OF THE POOR

Ano nga ba ang meron sa pangalan mo?  Natanong mo na ba ang iyong magulang kung bakit ito ang pangalang na ibigay n’ya sa iyo?  Karaniwang ang mga pangalan ay nanggagaling sa magulang kaya nga’t malimit na tayong makakita ng mga Jr, (junior) sa huli ng pangalan.  Kung minsan naman ay pinagsamang pangalan ng tatay at nanay ang pangalan bata.  Halimbawa ay Jomar sapagjkat ang tatay ay Jose at ang nanay ay maria.  May kuwento na minsan daw ay kinausap ni Mommy Dionisia ang anak na si Manny. “Anak, gusto ko naman pag nagka-anak kayo uli ni Jinky, di lang pangalan ninyo ang pagsasamahin, Dapat kasali din pangalan ko!” “Oo naman nay, kasu midyu mahirap yun!” sagot ni Manny.  “Hindi ah! May naesep na nga ako eh!”  payabang na sagot ni Mommy D.  “Talaga nay anu?” “Simple lang anak… DIOMANJI (Dionisa-Manny-Jinky)!”  hehehe… Bakit nga ba JUAN ang pangalang ibinigay sa anak ni Zacarias at Elisabet?  Kung susundin natin ang tradisyon ng mga Judio ay dapat na ibinigay sa kanya ang pangalang Zacarias tulad ng kanyang ama.  Kaya nga laking pagkagulat ng mga taong naroon ng marinig na JUAN ang ipapangalan sa kanya sapagkat wala sa kanilang kamag-anak na may gayong pangalan.  Ano ba ang nilalaman ng pangalang Juan?  Sa wikang Ingles ang ibig sabihin ng Juan ay GOD IS GRACIOUS!  Totoo nga naman, napakabuti ng Diyos sapagkat unang una ay tinanggal Niya sa kahihiyan ang pagiging walang anak ng mag-asawang Zacarias at Elisabet.  Pangalawa ay sapagkat ang pagkapanganak kay Juan ay nagpapakita na nilingap ng Panginoon ang kanyang bayan sa kabila ng pagkasalawahan nito!  Tunay ngang “God is good all the time and all the time God is good!”  Hindi Niya binigo ng Diyos ang Kanyang bayan sa Kanyang pangako.  Ang Diyos nanatiling TAPAT sa tao.  Tunay ngang hindi mapapantayan ang katapatan ng Diyos sa atin.  Sa kabila ng katigasan ng ating mga ulo ay ipanagpatuloy pa rin Niya ang planong kaligtasan!  Tayo lang naman kasing mga tao ang nagtataksil at may pusong salawahan.  Madalas nating ipagpalit ang Manlilikha sa kanyang mga nilikha!  Sa katunayan ay ito ang kahulugan ng kasalanan ayon kay San Agustin.  “Aversio a Deo, conversio ad creaturam!”  (Turning away from God and turning towards creatures!)  Ilang beses ko na bang ipinagpalit ang Diyos sa mga makamundo at mga materyal na bagay (o kahit tao)?  Kung minsan naman ay hindi natin pinaninindigan ang pangalan ni Kristo na ating tinanggao noong tayo ay bininyagan. Ang masama pa nga ay ikinahihiya natin ito sa tuwing hinihingi nito ang ating pagsaksi,  Simpleng pagdarasal bago kumain sa isang fastfood restaurant o kaya naman ay pag-aatndanda ng krus pagdaan ng jeep sa isang simbahan  ay ating ipinagwawalang bahala dala marahil ng kahihiyan na rin sa ating mga katabi.  Paano pa kaya kung buhay na natin ang hinihingi para panindigan ang ating pangalang Kristiyano?  Huwag sana nating biguin ang Diyos kung paanong di Niya tayo bilang Kanyang bayan!  Patuloy Niya tayong liingapin sa kabila ng ating pagkamakasalanan.  Sapagkat  Siya ay Diyos na mabuti…. napakabuti! At ang kanyang kabutihan ay magpakailanman! Ipinaskil ni kalakbay ng kabataan


WHAT DO YOU REFLECT? – “Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek…” – Malachi 3:1

Did you know that there are five Gospels? Yes, there’s the Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and then there is your Gospel. Why? Because people may not be able to read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but they will see Christianity through the kind of life you lead.

St. John the Baptist was one such righteous witness. To him fell the special task of being Jesus’ herald. Two days before Christmas, we remember his example because of the preparations he made for the coming Messiah.

Let’s reflect on the spiritual preparations we should all practice. John feasted on honey and locusts, so should we remember to feast on God’s good graces. John wrapped himself in humble clothes, so should we put on virtues received from the Lord Spirit. He retreated to the wilderness, so should we retreat to the humility that a newborn child in Bethlehem brings us.

Herald, messenger, witness. May we be like St. John, living lives that allow others to see the Messiah. Rod Velez  (

Reflection: The shepherds reflected God’s mercy, the wise men His royalty, Joseph and Mary His obedience, the angels His glory, themanger His humility. What about you, what do you reflect for Jesus this Christmas?

Lord, aside from the material gifts I will give to loved ones this season, may I give Jesus to them as well.


THE GRACE OF ANSWERED PRAYERS – The name John means the Lord is gracious. That is how things turned out to be for Zechariah and Elizabeth — God truly has been gracious to them. After years of waiting, their plea has been heard. They were given a child despite all the odds — they were already old and Elizabeth was sterile — that were up against them.

But something was remiss somewhere, for Zechariah had to become mute before the promised “grace” is fully realized. Zechariah failed to acknowledge God’s goodness by doubting how the Lord can truly show His graciousness to them. He failed to see that God takes him and his prayers seriously.

I recall this story from a friend: A woman was betrothed to a Muslim man but she was a devout Catholic and wouldn’t want to convert just so she could marry the man she loves. And so she devoted much time in prayer for the man to be converted to her faith. She prayed not only for the man to embrace her faith, but that he would deeply fall in love with the Church that she loves. So she prayed day and night. Offered novena prayers left and right. Prayed all formula prayers that she knows. Her main intention deeply entrenched in her heart, she would tell God, “Lord, make him fall in love deeply in the Church that I love.” Then the miracle that she has been hoping for happened, as if like a Damascus experience kind of thing — abrupt and quick. The man fell in love with the Church, so in love that he wanted to convert, be baptized and eventually become a priest!

Zechariah may have prayed seriously hard for that particular intention. Hence, when the Lord made His presence felt, it was clear that it was a response to a long sought-for blessing — your prayers have been answered, the angel said. Fr. Sandy Enhaynes

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What deep desires are you praying for? Are you praying with faith or in doubt?

Thank You, Lord, for the example of Zechariah and Elizabeth. It helps me to hang on to my dreams and to believe in Your positive answer.


RENEWING TRADITIONS – Kris-Kringle. Christmas tree. Christmas lights. The Belen. Christmas shopping. Christmas bonus. Parties galore. Cash give-aways. Gifts. Toys. Food. Simbang-Gabi. Christmas lanterns. Gift-giving to indigents. Visiting an orphanage. Caroling. Outreach to the elderly. Christmas raffle. Midnight Mass. Noche Buena… There is no doubt that Christmas is a season of many traditions — traditions that often cause our busyness, anxieties, excitement, expenditures, and yes, traffic jams.

Our Gospel lesson today, which primarily narrates the circumstances of the birth of John the Baptist to Elizabeth and Zechariah, also touches on a community tradition about the naming of a child. The custom was to name a child after some important relatives or ancestors. The villagers noted that “John” was not a name of any of their relatives. Zechariah, however, was firm in his choice. His son would be called “John” (literal meaning: “God has shown favor”) according to the instruction of the angelic messenger (Luke 1:13). God’s new inspiration, for Zechariah, was better than any centuries-old tradition.

Another Christmas, indeed. We are thankful. But it is also good to ask: What new meaning and new challenge does this Christmas bring to us? Like Zechariah, let us allow God’s message to come afresh to us. The mystery of the Incarnation is essentially God coming to us in our realities and time. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: What new things and more meaningful ways or traditions can you consider as part of your Christmas celebration this year? Why?

Beyond all the traditional preparations for Christmas, may I focus more on preparing my heart for Your indwelling, Lord. Amen.


Mal 3:1-4, 23-24; Lk 1:57-66

God Is Gracious

Today’s first reading is the prediction of prophet Malachi on the coming of a messenger to prepare the way of Yahweh. He is foreseen as a severe critic of the life style of the people and calling them tometanoia (repentance). He is compared to the refiner’s fire and fuller’s lye. We can see these prophesies coming true in the personality of John the Baptist. His role was to prepare the people of Israel to offer due sacrifice that will be pleasing to Yahweh “as in the days of the old, as in years gone by.” From this prophesy it is very clear the role and function of the messenger. It is to restore the lost order and harmony. Malachi also compares the messenger to Elijah, the prophet. Later on as an answer to the demands of his disciples, Jesus himself attributed to John the role of Elijah, which was “to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with doom.” This passage makes it clear the compassionate heart of God. In Shakespeare’s play, King Lear Act 4 scene 1, Gloucester makes a audacious statement, “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.” But God we encounter in the Bible is so motherly that he tries every means to get his children back home.

Today’s Gospel relates the commotion surrounding the birth of John the Baptist and its impact on the people involved. At his birth Elizabeth who was resigned to barrenness miraculously obtained motherhood and his father Zechariah regained his speech. Their neighbors and relatives wanted to name the child Zachariah to perpetuate his father’s name while Elizabeth had a different proposal. She suggested the name John which in Hebrew is Yohanan meaning “God is gracious”. It is a normal human tendency to forget the benefactor. But Elizabeth and Zachariah were not that type. Instead of trying to perpetuate its father’s name they preferred to proclaim Yahweh’s name and his graciousness. We all should in fact be named Yohanan because we are all gracious gifts of God. The quality of life of those who live with that awareness will be very much different from that of people who live their life as taken for granted. “For surely the hand of the Lord will be with them.”Dr Kurian Perumpallikunnel CMI


Saturday of the 4th Week of Advent

24 December 2016

2 Sam 7: 1-5. 8b-12. 14a. 16; Ps 88: 2-3. 4-5. 27 and 29; Lk 1: 67-79

Renew and Repair the World

The great Hymn of Benedictus

With Christmas around the corner, today’s Gospel presents before us the great hymn Benedictus (meaning ‘Blessed’ from its opening word in Latin) which is sung every day in the Divine Office at the end of Morning Prayer. Zechariah had been struck dumb for doubting the word of the angel, but he recovered his speech and broke out into this song of praise when he confirmed his faith in God by naming the boy, John, as commanded by God. There is a clear reference to Jesus in the song that praised God because “he has raised up a horn for our salvation within the house of David his servant”.

However, all was not well with their current scenario. As representatives of Israel, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were emblematic of a people facing an uncertain future in a politically charged time.  They found no meaning in living as a people of covenant when the they were surrounded by thwarted expectations, widespread political, economic and social oppression, and normalized violence. The people of the day could not withstand the threat of despair and the lure of resignation and keep the harsh realities of the world from eclipsing what they had known as God’s vision for the world? This was the backdrop that Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and with prophetic insight.

The Past vindicates Future

What he witnessed in the present enabled him to recall all that Israel had seen and known and experienced of God throughout the ages. The remembrance of God’s redemption in the past inspired Zechariah to envision a future again and to perceive God’s unmatched power and purpose at work in spite of all odds. In sending the Messiah, God has made a gracious visit to his people to redeem them.  This was the mission for which Jesus Christ was sent into the world ‘to redeem those in the darkness of sin’.  In the feast of the Incarnation we celebrate the gracious gift of God in sending his only begotten Son to redeem us.  Zechariah thanked God for having “visited his people” and “has come to their rescue” just as he had promised through the prophets down through the ages. Zechariah sees that the very impossibility of God’s past deeds of redemption renders a seemingly impossible future all the more plausible. Thus he is able to proclaim, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79).  His words invoke the God who at the dawn of Creation itself brought light into being in the midst of chaos and darkness (Gen 1:2-4).  Zechariah knows that this God, according to whose vision and in whose image all humankind was made, is the same One whose covenant promises are sure and to whom the world still matters and always will.

The Message:

  1. Our Role to Go before the Lord:Zechariah goes on to speak of his newly-born son: “You will be called a Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.” That will be John’s special role, to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus our Saviour. He will do that by giving “his people knowledge of salvation through forgiveness of their sins”, a salvation that will come through Jesus giving them the experience of being reconciled and reunited with their God. It is clear that, what is said by Zechariah of John, applies very much to each and every one of us as well.  It is also our calling “to go before the Lord to prepare his ways” for others.
  2. Tender Mercy of God for us as well: By the tender mercy of our God the rising Sun, our Lord Jesus, will “give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death”. That surely includes all of us in some way. In the brightness of that light he will “guide our feet into the way of peace”. The realisation of that peace and harmony in each one, in every community and throughout every society is a sign that the Kingdom has come. Let us see anew, with Zechariah, that the way of peace is where God meets us in covenant relationship. God meets us to renew and repair our vision for the world and to call us to renew and repair the world itself. We all realise how much that peace is needed in our world, in our own society, in our own communities, in our homes and in our own selves.

May the Prince of Peace come and dwell among us this Christmas. “Lord, you have been gracious and merciful towards your people.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bear witness to the joy of the gospel to those around me.” Dr. John Ollukaran CMI


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 23, 2015 MISA DE GALLO

Lukas 1:57-66

UNSA MAY MENSAHE SA PAGKATAWO NI JUAN? Ang ebanghelyo nagsaysay sa pagpanganak ni Isabel, nga asawa ni Zacarias. Ginganlan nila ang bata og Juan, subay sa gisugo sa anghel. Ang pangalang Juan nagpasabot og “Ang Ginoo nagpakita’g dakong kaayo”. Si Juan maoy gasa sa Dios para sa iyang mga ginikanan; gasa usab siya para sa katawhan tungod kay siya mag-andam kanila sa pag-abot sa Mesiyas. Ang pagkatawo ni Juan magpahinumdum kanato sa kabililhon sa matag binuhat nga mahimugso ning kalibotan. Ang Ginoo maoy nagbuot sa atong pagkatawo. Dako kita’g bili tungod kay ang Dios maoy tag-iya kanato ug walay lain nga nahimugso o mahimugso pa nga sama kanato. Sama kang Juan, gipakatawo kita sa Dios alang sa usa ka katuyoan – ang pagpaila ni Kristo, nga mao ang gugma sa Dios para sa katawhan.

Ning kapaskohan:

Atong susihon kon giunsa nato paghatag og bili ang atong kinabuhi ug ang kinabuhi sa atong mga silingan. Giampingan, gipalambo, ug gitahod ba nato ang kaugalingon ug ang isigkaingon?

Ato usab nga pamalandongan kon unsa ang tuyo sa Dios sa pagbutang kanato ning kalibotan. Kon masabtan nato nga kita gihimo aron sa paghatag og himaya sa Dios, nan sugdan nato ang pagpasidungog Kaniya pinaagi sa atong mga maayong binuhatan. Posted by Abet Uy


Friday, December 23, 2016

DECEMBER 23 – LUKAS 1:57-66. UNSA MAY MENSAHE SA PAGKATAWO NI JUAN? Ang ebanghelyo nagsaysay sa pagpanganak ni Isabel, ang asawa ni Zacarias. Ginganlan nila ang bata og “Juan”, nga nagpasabot og “Ang Ginoo nagpakita’g dakong kaayo”. Si Juan maoy gasa sa Dios para sa iyang mga ginikanan; gasa usab siya para sa katawhan tungod kay siya mag-andam kanila sa pag-abot sa Mesiyas. Kini magpahinumdum kanato sa kabililhon sa matag binuhat nga mahimugso ning kalibotan. Dako kita’g bili tungod kay ang Dios maoy tag-iya kanato ug walay lain nga nahimugso o mahimugso pa nga sama kanato. Sama kang Juan, gipakatawo kita sa Dios alang sa usa ka katuyoan – ang pagpaila ni Kristo, nga mao ang gugma sa Dios para sa katawhan. Adunay nag-ingon: “There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.” Posted by Abet Uy


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reflection for December 22, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent; Luke 1:57-66

Reflection: Do you have a prayer before the Lord? Do you follow the will of the Lord for your life?

The pious couple of Zechariah and Elizabeth had a prayer before the Lord and their prayer was for them to have a child. After a long period of time their prayer was granted by the good Lord for they were given the gift of a child. Thus, it was an answered prayer for the pious couple.

But that is not the end of the story, the good Lord through an angel told the couple to name the child John. And so they named him John contradicting the wishes of their relatives and perhaps the custom of naming a child after their parents. The pious couple of John and Elizabeth followed the will of the Lord and named the child John which means gracious gift of God.

What is the implication of the gospel for your life?

You have to be persevering and persistent in your prayer. And you should not waver for God rewards those who persevere and those who are persistent. It may take time for your prayers to be granted but it surely will be granted not based on your own time but based on God’s time.

Oftentimes you want to chart your own destiny, your own personal journey and somehow through your hard work you were able to achieve what you want. Yet there is still that void and emptiness. Why? This is for the reason that you carved your own destiny, your own personal journey. You did not follow God’s will for you, the God who has been manifesting in your life. The same God who has been silently speaking to you though the events of your life.

If only you would learn to be persevering in your prayer. If only you would follow God’s will for you. There surely will be no more emptiness in your life and you will not be longing for anything more in our life. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


December 23, 2016: Thoughts on Eight Day of Simbang Gabi

Today’s Reading from the Gospel of Luke [Lk. 1:57-66, 80] provided us with information regarding the birth of John the Baptist.

Because of the “old age of Elizabeth,” [Lk. 1:36] no one would have expected her to bear a child. In view of this, the neighbours and relatives saw this as a “great mercy to her.” [Lk. 1:58] Rarely does the Holy Bible use the word “great” unless something extra- ordinary is about to happen. In Genesis 19:19, we read of the “great kindness” of God when he saved the life of Lot before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. In 1 Samuel 12:24, we read a reference to the “great things” that God had done for the people. God had freed His people from the Egyptian slavery. He brought them to the promised land and prepared the way for them to possess it.

When the neighbours and relatives of Elizabeth spoke of the “great mercy” [Lk. 1:58] that God had shown towards her, they were revealing God’s redemptive acts.

As commanded by God, [Lev. 12:3] on the eight day, John the Baptist was circumcised in perfect observance of the Law of Israel. This ceremony was viewed as an important act of initiating a male child into the covenanted people of God. When reviewing St. Paul’s Epistles, we learn that the old custom of circumcision is not a necessity to receive salvation through Christ.

As the late custom of Israel dictated [Tob. 1:1, 9], those who were present wanted John to be named “Zechariah” after his father. To this, Elizabeth objected. She said he should be named, “John.” [Lk. 1:60] When the relatives objected to this, Zechariah asked for a writing tablet on which he wrote, “His name is John.” [Lk. 1:63]

At this point, it must be remembered that the angel Gabriel [Lk. 1:19] had appeared to Zachariah and told him that his wife would bear a son who must be named John. [Lk. 1:13] Because Zachariah, being of old age, did not believe Gabriel, he became mute and was to remain so until the fulfilment of this prophecy. [Lk. 1:20] When Zachariah wrote on the tablet, three things became obvious. The prophecy that Elizabeth would bear a child was fulfilled. The prophecy that the child would be called John was fulfilled. And the prophecy that Zachariah would be able to speak again was fulfilled at that moment.

In view of all this, it is no wonder that “fear came over all the neighbours and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea.” [Lk. 1:65] Those who heard of these things, they asked themselves in their heart, “What then will this child become?” [Lk. 1:66]

The whole story of John’s birth is thick with Old Testament echoes, especially echoes of the story of Abraham. God appeared to Abraham, promising that his wife would bear him a son; He announced the son’s name and the role Isaac would play in salvation history (see Genesis 17:1, 16, 19).

The same thing happened to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Through his angel, God announced John’s birth to this righteous yet barren couple. He made them call John a special name—and told them the special part John would play in fulfilling His plan for history (see Luke 1:5–17).

As Paul says in today’s Second Reading, John was to herald the fulfillment of all God’s promises to the children of Abraham (Luke 1:55, 73). John was to bring the word of salvation to all the people of Israel. More than that, he was to be a light to the nations—to all those groping in the dark for God.

The Catechism of Catholic Church is indeed right when it summarizes the identity and the mission of John whose name means “God is gracious” with these words: St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way (cf. Acts 13:24; Mt 3:3). “Prophet of the Most High,” John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last” (Lk 1:76; cf. 7:26; Mt 11:13). He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29; cf. Acts 1:22; Lk 1:41). Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom” (Lk 1:17; cf. Mk 6:17-29) (CCC 523).

As we await with joyful anticipation the coming of Jesus, whose way was prepared by John the Baptist, whose name means “God is gracious” let us be gracious to the sinners, the undesirables, and the unlovables and be compassionate to the poor, the needy, the suffering, the brokenhearted and the lost.

Thomas S. Monson has given us a concrete advice: “We, too, can bless if we but follow His noble example. Opportunities are everywhere. Needed are eyes to see the pitiable plight and ears to hear the silent pleadings of a broken heart. Yes, and a soul filled with compassion, that we might communicate not only eye to eye or voice to ear, but, in the majestic style of the Savior, even heart to heart’” (Courage in Meeting Life’s Challenges ,LDS Church News, 1993, 10/09/93)” Fr. Estong Bendita. 2016.12.23


December 23, 2016

In his play Romeo and Juliet (II, 1-2), Shakespeare makes Juliet ask:

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose

By any other name

would smell as sweet.”

This view of things is thoroughly Western, for in the Bible a name is considered very important. It is not a mere identity tag. It has a mysterious affinity with its bearer, it can even predict the kind of person he or she will be. It often expresses religious belief or a prayer of petition.

Today’s gospel reading revolves around what name should be given to Zechariah’s child. Zechariah in Hebrew means “Yahweh remembers.” But in the Bible this name is ambiguous. In some contexts it refers to a remembrance by God of a person’s sins and with a view to punishing that person. On the other hand, the name John (Yehohanan in Hebrew) means “Yahweh is gracious,” a name much more fitting in the circumstances than the name Zechariah. Besides, the orders of the angel Gabriel were clear: “You shall name him John” (Lk 1:13)

What’s in a name? A lot. Do you know why you were given your name? Any connection with God, by chance?


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: December 23

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