Posted by: RAM | January 21, 2018

Sunday (January 21): “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Holy Name

Feast of the Sto. Niño (in the Philippines only)

First Reading: Isaiah 9:1-6
But there will be no gloom for those who were in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
You have multiplied the nation,
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as people exult when dividing plunder.
For the yoke of their burden,
and the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For all the boots of the tramping warriors
and all the garments rolled in blood
shall be burned as fuel for the fire.
For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your lovetowards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints.

Gospel: Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Reflection:  A story is told about a man who wanted to know God on his own terms and intelligence. So, he read books that would help him know God but to no avail. He be friended people from his church’s parish yet there still was no development of his knowledge about God.

Finally, a wise man advised him to humbly abandon himself like a child before God. So he did and thereupon began pouring all the wisdom that he would need to know God deeply.

Today we celebrate the feast of Sto. Nino, this is one of the most well attended and most popular feasts of the church here in the Philippines. Many also are devotees of Sto. Nino in fact we see the image of Sto. Nino in almost all of the catholic families here in the Philippines.

There are also images of Sto. Nino in government/private offices; majority of politicians are devotees of the Sto. Nino. For the reason that the Sto. Nino is present everywhere it may seem that our country is morally upright. Better think again, the country is still mired in corruption, immorality, arrogance and killings.

Where is the influence of the Sto. Nino then? Do we allow our devotion to the Sto. Nino change us for the better? Certainly not and this is our big problem. We are fond of displaying images of our faith but the irony of it is this: Our faith remains on exterior display and it ends there.

There is no conversion and change of heart. If only we would learn to imbibe and internalize the virtues of the Sto. Nino who is a little child that is always humble and honest. Who doesn’t know how to cheat, kill and lie. Who doesn’t know how to compromise with wrong. Then, our devotion to the child Jesus or Sto. Nino is not in vain.

In the gospel, Jesus is angry with His disciples for they were preventing the children to go to Him. So Jesus told them: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Mark 10:14)

Is Jesus speaking here of the literal children only? Of course not! Jesus is also speaking here of the adult ones which includes us. Adult ones who have childlike virtues such as: Humility, simplicity, forgiveness, honestly and the like. – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Saint of the Day: St. Agnes, Patron of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, and the Children of Mary (291-304)
St. Agnes of Rome was born in 291 AD and raised in a Christian family. Agnes was very beautiful and belonged to a wealthy family. Her hand in marriage was highly sought after, and she had many high ranking men chasing after her. However, Agnes made a promise to God never to stain her purity. Her love for the Lord was great and she hated sin even more than death!

Whenever a man wished to marry Agnes, she would always say, “Jesus Christ is my only Spouse.”

According to legend, the young men she turned away became so angry and insulted by her devotion to God and purity that they began to submit her name to authorities as a Christian follower.

In one incident, Procop, the Governor’s son, became very angry when she refused him. He tried to win her for his wife with rich gifts and promises, but the beautiful young girl kept saying, “I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

In great anger, Procop accused her of being a Christian and brought her to his father, the Governor. The Governor promised Agnes wonderful gifts if she would only deny God, but Agnes refused. He tried to change her mind by putting her in chains, but her lovely face shone with joy.

Next he sent her to a place of sin, but an Angel protected her. At last, she was condemned to death. Even the pagans cried to see such a young and beautiful girl going to death. Yet, Agnes was as happy as a bride on her wedding day. She did not pay attention to those who begged her to save herself. “I would offend my Spouse,” she said, “if I were to try to please you. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then she prayed and bowed her head for the death-stroke of the sword.

Other accounts of Agnes’ life hold the Prefect Sempronius responsible for her martyrdom. It is said he condemned the young girl to be dragged through the streets naked. Some versions of the legend state that Agnes’ hair grew instantly to cover her entire body and all the men who attempted to rape the beautiful virgin were immediately struck blind.

The stories go on to explain that another man presided over Agnes’ trial after Sempronius excused himself. The new man sentenced Agnes to death. At first, Agnes was tied to a stake, but either the wood would not burn or the flames parted away from her. This prompted an officer to draw his sword and behead the girl. It is believed that her blood, which poured out to the stadium, was soaked up with cloths by Christians.

She died a virgin-martyr at the age of 12 or 13 on 21 January 304.

Agnes was buried beside the Via Nomentana in Rome. Her bones are currently conserved beneath the high altar in the church of Sant’Angese fuori le mura in Rome, which was built over the catacomb that held her tomb. Her skull is preserved in the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone in Rome’s Piazza Navona.

In 1858, Father Caspar Rehrl, an Austrian missionary founded the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes.

St. Agnes is widely known as the patron saint of young girls. She is also the patron saint of chastity, rape survivors and the Children of Mary. She is often represented with a lamb, the symbol of her virgin innocence, and a palm branch, like other martyrs. She is shown as a young girl in robes holding a palm branch with the lamb either at her feet or in her arms.

Her feast day is celebrated on January 21. On her feast day, it is customary for two lambs to be brought in to be blessed by the pope. On Holy Thursday the lambs’ wool is removed and woven into the pallium the pope gives to a newly consecrated archbishop as a sign of his power and union with the pope.

More Saints of the Day:
St. Agnes
St. Alban Bartholomew Roe
St. Brigid
Bl. Edward Stransham
St. Epiphanius of Pavia
St. Fructuosus of Tarragona
Bl. Inez
St. Lawdog
St. Maccalin
St. Meinrad
St. Patroclus
St. Patroclus
St. Publius
Bl. Thomas Reynolds
St. Vimin

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark.  Follow Tweets by @TheOneKinEnt  @Pontifex @CardinalChito Maynila, Pilipinas


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