Sunday Gospel Reflection
Feast of the Sto. Niño
Luke 2:41-52 | Jan. 16, 2022
Was God Ever Dependent on Us?
JM Nuqui – Campus Minister
I think I just caught the virus.
Mukhang nagkatotoo ang mga biro na ang taong 2022 ay “2020 too.” 5 days into the new year— and just when I entered into a personal silent retreat, away from all possible contact—I developed and suffered from the symptoms of COVID-19. I had to be in quarantine and isolation because of high fever, endless coughing, shortness of breath, and sore throat.
It’s been a while since I’ve felt so weak and helpless. My parents were monitoring me by the hour, making sure I take sufficient fluids and the necessary meds. Parang naging bata ulit ako na kailangan bantayan ang pagkain at maya’t maya ay pinapaalalahanan na uminom ng tubig. I was again that little boy who was so dependent on my parents.
My dear friends, you and I know what it means, what it feels, and what it takes to be absolutely dependent on another person and on God for everything. Pero habang tumatanda, parang ang hirap tanggapin na tayo ay dependent pa rin sa mga iilang tao sa ating buhay. Of course, there will come a time that we will and should outgrow our dependence, especially on our parents. We all grow to be healthily independent, self-sufficient beings as we mature.
But my dear friends, no matter how successful and independent we are, we never really outgrow our total dependence on God. At ito ay isang realidad na madalas nating nakakalimutan kapag tayo na ay may pera, position, kapangyarihan, at katanyagan.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Niño. Ang debosyon natin sa Sto. Niño ay nagpapaalala na ang Diyos ay minsan naging bata tulad natin—that our God was once a upon a time dependent on humanity, the very humanity that He was going to save as its Messiah. We need not look far to understand this reality.
We hear in the Gospel today the story of the Losing and Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Madalas napapansin lamang natin ang pagkawala at pagkahanap kay Hesus nina Maria at Jose pagkatapos ng tatlong araw. But what often goes unnoticed is that at the end of the story, Luke writes, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them […] And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.” This part of the Gospel is commonly known as the “hidden life of Jesus.” But was it really “hidden?” Wala ba talaga tayong pwedeng malaman tungkol sa kabataan ni Hesus?
Dear brothers and sisters, look and stare at your Sto. Niño images. Naging bata si Hesus. Just like you and me, as children, perhaps Jesus also played street games with his friends. Natuto rin si Hesus na maglinis ng bahay at maghugas ng mga pinggan. Siguro may pagkakataon din na si Hesus ay nadapa at nasugatan. Nagkasakit din siya at inalagaan nina Maria at Jose. At tinuruan din si Hesus ng kanyang mga magalang na magdasal bago matulog. Looking back at our childhood memories, we realize that “Jesus’ hidden life” isn’t that hidden after all.
And this is what I love with our devotion to the Sto. Niño. We gaze and pray to the Christ-child, not because we don’t believe he ever grew up, but because we remember that our Messiah was once a child, was once totally dependent on the people he loves and that loved him.
Because Jesus knows how to be totally dependent on the people who loved him, how can he not love us so ever deeply, so devotedly—when he knows that more than anything else, ultimately, we have only him for our everything? Kung alam na alam mo, na ang ikinabubuhay at ikamamatay ng isang tao ay ikaw at ikaw lamang, kung hindi bato ang puso mo, hindi ba’t higit mo pa siyang mamahalin, aarugain, at aalagaan?
My dear friends, in the eyes of God, we will always be His children, His niños and niñas. God loves us so deeply that He knows that we have only Him to depend on for everything and for always. At gets na gets yan ng Diyos—yung maging totally dependent. After all, he was, once upon a time, a child.
A blessed and happy Feast of the Sto. Niño!