The story is told about a baby mosquito who asked its mother: “Are we kinda famous?” Replied the mother: “Why do you say that?” Said the baby mosquito: “Because every time we pass by, people start clapping their hands.”
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 2, 16-21), we learn of how Mary kept her focus on the Child, and not on the circumstances that surrounded His birth. Neither poverty nor worldly honor disturbed her peace, and her mission. She was not seeking worldly approval and applause. She was focused on doing God’s will. That was all.
It’s a New Year! May we face 2017 with confidence and trust in God, and with a firm resolve to listen more about what God wants and expects of us. Amid the noise and the haste, may we take time to truly listen and be obedient to His will and plan.
There are people who will say anything just to earn praise. It is funny for a while, but after some time, it is not funny anymore and we soon realize that either he or she is a fool, or just simply thirsty for worldly applause or approval. Such people should realize that happiness and fulfillment are from within.
Mama Mary did not need worldly applause and recognition. Funny how some people desperately need to be seen, heard, recognized, acknowledged, and affirmed. Let us remember that true affirmation is what God says and thinks about us.
The first day of 2017 is the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. Mama Mary will be with us every single day of the New Year. She is our Mother. She is with us. We need not fear.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46, 10). Let us listen to the Lord as we face the New Year, and be assured that He is in perfect control of everything and everyone. Let us trust Him more and worry less.
Today we also celebrate the World Day of Prayer and Peace. With all the violence and killings around us, in our country and in the rest of the world, let us pray more, pray much, and pray on. If we don’t imbibe and practice the Gospel values, we will never have true peace. Ideologies come and go. Leaders and trying-hard leaders are soon forgotten and gone. God remains. His word endures. Man, be not arrogant, be not proud.
Last Dec. 26 I could not find the church in Tanauan, Batangas. I have been there twice or thrice, but somehow that afternoon, I could not find it. Why? The whole street leading to the church was filled with stalls and shops that crop up during the town fiesta, making it difficult for people to get into the church. Worldly treasures—and worldly applause, for that matter—make us lose our bearings and directions as we journey to God’s heart.
While waiting for the 5 p.m. Mass, I spent a few moments at the adoration chapel. How things just fall into place when we put ourselves in the presence of God, and just listen to Him. I was so edified when a group of teenagers came in and spent some time in prayer, on their knees. That put a glimmer in my heart and a smile on my lips. All is well.
All will be well as long as people pray and bend their knees to Someone greater than you and me. Forget the applause. Take time to pray and pause.
Think about this: “When you have more than you need, build a longer table instead of a higher fence! Be a blessing to others and do not allow your blessings to cause selfishness and pride.”
Last Christmas Day, I visited my friend, Harris, who has lung cancer. All I could do was listen to him. Since September he has been in pain, and he told me how he wished to have no pain even for just one day. Every single day for him counts. May we not waste the days still ahead of us this 2017, and may we live each day to the fullest.
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2017 be a better year for all of us, in all aspects, in Jesus’ name.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to be focused on You and not on worldly applause. Amen.
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