December 31 – 7th Day of Christmas

John 1:1-18

The Word


Aside from fireworks, some Filipinos on this day buy round-shaped fruits from the market, for they say it would bring perfection and prosperity. Before midnight, parents would tell their children to open wide the windows and doors of their houses and switch on all the machines and motor power appliances and, even vehicles, so that they would always be in good running condition for the whole year. Traditions like these intensify the festive character of the season.

However, may tonight’s fireworks not obscure the real LIGHT. Jesus who enlightens and brightens our lives. May the beginning of a new civil year not be reduced to making resolutions that will only remain in oblivion, but of a recognition of Jesus the LIFE. May we welcome the LIGHT and the LIFE today and everyday, so that, like St. John we may daily say “Indeed from his fullness we have all received, grace in return for grace…” (SVD friend Bible Diary 2002)


A story is told about a couple who took their son, 11 and daughter, 7 to Carlsbad Caverns in Texas. As always, when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern, the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface. The little girl, suddenly enveloped in utter darkness, was frightened and began to cry. Immediately her brother’s voice was heard: “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.”

In a real sense, that is the message of the gospel; light is available, even when darkness seems overwhelming. John describes Jesus as God’s creative, life-giving and light-giving word that has come to earth in human form.

In our journey to God, sometimes we encounter darkness and we long for illumination. Sometimes we stumble and fall in the dark. But we must not falter in our faith because the Light of the world was sent to light our path.

John the evangelist begins his gospel with a description of the Word of God. The “Word of God” was a common expression among the Jews. God’s Word in the Old Testament is an active, creative and dynamic word. God’s Word is also equated with his wisdom. The Book of Wisdom describes ‘wisdom’ as God’s eternal, creative and illuminating power. Both ‘word’ and ‘wisdom’ are seen as one and the same. (Fr. Marlone Ramirez, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


Movies entertain but they likewise reflect reality. News inform as they report on reality. As viewers and listeners, we naturally react. We laugh, we cry. We commiserate and emphasize. We hate ,we get angry. Movies and news or any media output for that matter, do not represent the whole of reality but only piecemeal presentations or interpretations of reality. But that us human as human can be. Life is seen from perspectives, angles and facets. Granted that in our human condition, we have been blessed to behold in an instant the fullness of reality which is also human longing, the experience would be too much and too soon. It will leave us physically and mentally aching, instead of being relieved.

We all hunger and thirst for knowledge, for truth, for God – in a word, fullness. But it is a search, a discovery, a journey of faith. The journey itself is the gradual unfolding of the fullness of God as he calls and leads us onwards moment by moment, day by day. That journey already started when “the WORD became flesh and dwelt among us.” In Him, Jesus Christ, we will behold “the glory of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (Fr. Jerome Adriatico, SVD Bible Diary 2007)


December 31, 2016 Saturday

It is the last hour!–1 John 2:18

St John lived through the “last hour” of the so-called Apostolic Age. The Apostles had served as authoritative and unifying witnesses of the life and teaching of Jesus. But as they were dying one by one, “antichrists” or false preachers of the Gospel also began emerging and dividing the Christian communities that were fast spreading within the vast expanse of the Roman Empire.

What can sustain us through such chaos? How can we as disciples of Jesus remain constant and faithful in spiritually confusing times? St John’s timely message was to counsel his fellow Christians to find their bearings through an inner compass and an outer support:

You have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge [of Him]! (1 John 2:20)

Theology today will perhaps rephrase this simple statement of St John in more precise though complex words, such as: “Let us believers remain in steadfast communion with one another in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.” The Greek word orthos means “right” or “correct”. Doxa and praxis mean “teaching”and “conduct,” respectively. Through the Gospel, we have come to know the all-provident God in the person and preaching of Jesus. Orthodoxy then consists in prayerful reflection on his Good News. Then, we have the ongoing “anointing of the Holy One” – symbolized by the sacraments.  Orthopraxy then consists in faithful participation in their nurturing celebration.

Today we have reached the “last hour” of a passing old year. At the same time, a new year opens out before us as a yet untrodden road. What can spur us Christians to journey onward are the orthodox guidance of the Gospel, and the orthoprax nurture of the sacraments – both animating us within the fold of the Church. St John of the Cross once imaged the Church as a bon re consisting of burning pieces of firewood.  If firewood sets itself apart from the warming and glowing communion, in no time will the cold dark night snuff out its solitary heat and light. (Fr. Pio Estepa, SVD | U.S.A. Bible Diary 2016)



Saturday, December 31, 2016

7TH DAY IN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS – JUAN 1:1-18. UNSA MAY ATONG BUHATON NING KATAPUSANG ADLAW SA TUIG? Una, magpasalamat kita sa Dios sa mga grasya nga atong nadawat gikan Kaniya sulod sa nilabay nga tuig. Ikaduha, mangayo kitag pasaylo sa Ginoo kon ugaling nakahimo kita’g dili angay sa atong pagkasumusunod ni Kristo. Ug ikatulo, mamalandong kita kon unsay angay natong himoon aron mahimong mas buotan nga mga anak sa Dios. Ang ebanghelyo nagtudlo nga ang tanang maayong buhat magsugod gayod kang Hesus, ang Pulong sa Dios. Busa, atong sugdan kining bag-ong tuig pinaagi sa pagpahiluna og usab sa atong kinabuhi diha ni Kristo. Adunay nindot nga tambag: “Being a Christian is so much more than saying, “I love Jesus”. You must live for Him daily. When people see you, they should see Jesus, too.” Posted by Abet Uy


NAMED, KNOWN, WANTED – But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. – John 1:12-13

Christine Caine, an international motivational speaker, found out in her thirties that she was adopted. Wanting to know more about her identity, she asked the Adoption Community Services for her records.

Her records say she is number 2508 of 1966 — 2508th baby born on 1966. Unnamed. Her father’s name was not stated, making her origin nameless. Unknown. Her mother was not emotionally attached to her. She wanted to get it over with and get back to work as soon as possible. Unwanted. These three words — unnamed, unknown, unwanted — clutched Christine’s heart until God reminded her who she really is: a child of God.

At some point in our lives, we’ve felt the same way. We forget that at the very core, we are all children of God. God has knitted our innermost parts in our mother’s womb and has woven all our days even before one of them existed. God called us His own, gave us a name, and has loved us since. No document, no failure, no sin, no unfortunate event can ever erase our true identity. Veia Lim (

Reflection: On this last day of the year, let go of all that hinders you from living your full life as God’s own child.

Heavenly Father, let me never forget that before I am anything else, I am Your beloved child.


THE DOORWAY OF TIME – This day is a great doorway. We pass through this day to end 2016, and to begin another experience called 2017 A.D. We leave behind 2016 like a room full of all kinds of things: joys and pains, regrets and realizations, goodness and evil.

Reading through the poetic expression of the Gospel for today, I recall the well-known Jesuit theologian, Karl Rahner, who wrote something along this line: We cross the year with the blessing of the name of Jesus over our heads, the greatest name from the heaven, the name of God-with-us, the name of God-made-man like us, the name to which every power and domination above and under the earth bow down.

We love to look for charms and good luck as we go through this day and tomorrow. As true Christian believers, let us not look for these as pagans do. Let us rather take the time to bless everyone — at home and elsewhere — like Peter and John did. Let us tell the people with voices full of Christian faith and hope: “Silver or gold I have none, but what I have I give you, may you be truly blessed in the name of Jesus! Amen” (cf Acts 3:6).

In convents and monasteries, a beautiful blessing of doors is done as part of welcoming the New Year. The top of doors are inscribed with a chalk mark. Initials, with the indications of the New Year 2017 (for example: “20 + C + M + B + 17”) are inscribed upon the doors with the blessed chalk. After prayers, each room of the home is sprinkled with holy water and incensed. The initials, C, M, B, can be interpreted as the Latin phrase“Christus mansionem benedicat,” which means “Christ bless this house.”

How about this Christian rite for your homes today — for a change? Out with the golden frog that licks a coin. Out with the sitting cat that moves its paw. Out with grapes and cotton hanging on door sills. Instead, let us welcome Jesus — “Word-Made-Flesh,” “God-With-Us” — and let us dedicate our homes to Him who crossed over from eternity to time.Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Make a list of your personal joys and pains in 2016 and submit them to Jesus. Make a list of your plans, visions and dreams for 2017 and pray over them with Jesus.

For all that happened in 2016, thank You, Lord. For all that will be in 2017, thank You, too. Amen.


Saturday of Christmas Week

1 Jn 2: 18-21; Ps 96: 1-2. 11-12. 13; Jn 1: 1-18

Each Gospel has its own way of introduction. Mathew and Luke begin with the narration of Jesus’ conception and birth while Mark presents Jesus as an adult man from Nazareth. John goes a step further tracking his origin from the beginning of time itself. Even before anything was created HE existed. He identifies Jesus with the divine Word through which the whole world was created. Not only that the he was the Word with God, but he was God himself. The proclamation that “Without him was not anything made that was made” is really very powerful. The ‘Man’ Jesus who lived and worked with them is raised to a transcendental level and presented as ‘God’ Jesus. Thus in Jesus the Divine and the Human fuse into one inseparable entity.

In the Old Testament context Word of God is active and creative hovering over the void giving shape to anything that was created. Psalm 33/6 says “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made” Many references to the Word of God can be found in the Old Testament. The whole creation is an act of the Word. Book of Wisdom says God made all things by his Word. Here the Word of God is equated with the Wisdom of God.

This creative and life giving Word of God took the form of human flesh and dwelt among the humans. An ancient Church antiphon in prayer says, “What he was, he remained, and what he was not, he assumed.” The transcendent God as Word became tangible human being in Jesus. But as he became one among them man did not recognise him. That is the pity.

This is what happens in our daily human experience too. What appears beautiful and attractive when it is farther becomes less attractive as it becomes nearer. The heroine in the Bollywood movie appears so enchanting but one’s wife who takes care of the minutest needs of the husband remains dull and unattractive. The hero in the movie appears to be all powerful but one’s husband who toils day and night appears to be a weak creature. Familiarity breeds contempt.

“The world was made through him yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” A father works abroad battling with hard weather and harder living conditions but when he comes home after many years, his wife and children despise him and do not recognise him. Such a pathetic word picture is given by John here. Do I really recognise Jesus? Do I appreciate what he has done for me? The greatest gift that he gave us, who believed in him, is the gift of becoming the children of God. He gives us a new birth in his Kingdom.

To see the divine in the weak, crying child Jesus, to see the divine in the crucified Jesus who cries hanging on the cross, we need to open our inner eyes of faith. Let us be motivated by true faith. Let us appreciate the invaluable gift of salvation that Jesus gave us. Dr Martin Mallathu CMI


December 31, 2016

Today is the last day of the year. For a lot people, this is the day when they take New Year’s resolutions. As Christians, what can we say on this topic?

First, just as we find promises and vows in all religions, likewise Chris­tianity (following up on Old Testament traditions) has always ­encouraged vows and promises. Why? Because they have the advantage of making our will stronger and more resolute. Well, we could say that our New Year’s resolutions are mini-vows and have the same good effect of strengthening our resolve to adopt some good new habit.

Second, we notice, however, that few people keep their New Year’s resolutions for a whole year. Now why is this? Presumably because they take on too many or too difficult ones. The wise thing to do here is to restrict oneself to only one resolution and to choose a resolution which is neither too easy nor too difficult.

Third, once we have chosen our resolution, we should announce it to all and sundry (if it is not too personal) so that other people’s expectations after that will act as an added pressure helping us to live up to our resolution.

Fourth, as in anything else, prayer gives us the strength to stay the course.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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