Homily for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: Like Father, Like Son
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Sunday January 17 2021
Feast of the Santo Niño
This Sunday is a special feast for Filipinos. We are well-known for our strong and deep devotion to the Child Jesus. Because of this the Holy See granted us the special permission to celebrate the Feast of the Santo Niño every 2nd Sunday of the liturgical year.
In a very special way, this feast takes prominent attention this year 2021 as the Philippines celebrates the 500 years of its Christianization. The devotion to the Sto. Niño is as old as the Christian faith in our country. The miraculous image now enshrined in the Basilica of the Sto. Niño in Cebu is the very image given by Magellan and the first Spanish missionaries to the wife of Rajah Humabon five centuries ago. No wonder, then, that this devotion is so dear to us Filipinos due to its great historical significance.
Secondly, devotion to the Santo Niño has its natural appeal to us as a people because we are a society that has strong and close family ties. And children are the center of attention in our families. We are a people that is naturally fond of children.
And most importantly, this devotion has its theological and doctrinal basis. It is the expression of our faith in the Mystery of the Incarnation. Jesus, the Son of God, became man. Hence, He went through all the stages of human life, from childhood to adulthood, for He is True Man.
But what does true devotion to Santo Niño really mean? Is it enough that we have the image of the Child Jesus in our homes? Is it enough to join the Sinulog dance and rhythmically shout, “Pit, Señor”? Is it enough to join the procession and watch the performance of the Ati-atihan?
True devotion to the Santo Niño is definitely more than any of these. It simply means following the example of the Child Jesus. The Gospels have clearly illustrated that Jesus was an obedient Child: obedient to His heavenly Father and obedient also to His Mother Mary and Joseph. Thus, because of His perfect obedience, He is the perfect image of the heavenly Father: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9). In the same way, if we follow the obedience of Jesus, we will also look like our Father in heaven. This is precisely the purpose and meaning of the Mystery of the Incarnation: God became like us so that we may become like Him.
Nowadays, obedience is not attractive to many people. We fight for our personal freedom. We look at obedience as surrender of our freedom to somebody else. Hence, we reject it for we think it demeans our dignity and limits our freedom. But if we look at the example of Jesus, was His freedom diminished because He obeyed His heavenly Father? Was His dignity lost because He submitted Himself to the authority of Mary and Joseph? Certainly not! On the contrary, it was His obedience that made Him perfectly pleasing in the eyes of the Father: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Lk 3:22).
Obedience, therefore, perfects our freedom and enhances our dignity as children of God. Needless to say, the key to obedience is becoming like a child: “Whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mk 10:15). That is what the image of the Child Jesus reminds us. On the other hand, disobedience to God, which basically is what sin is all about, is what creates all the trouble in this world. To disobey God, to commit sin, does not make us free. Rather, as St. Paul said, it makes us slaves. And the fruits of sin are sufferings, pains and death. It does not enhance but destroys our dignity as creatures and children of God.
We just have to take a look at what is happening in the world to realize this. As people try to pursue their personal freedom, generally understood nowadays as doing what anyone likes to do, they disregard moral and divine norms and openly disobey God. The results are disastrous. The culture of death is spreading with impunity all over the world, bringing in more devastation and misery to our homes, families and communities.
Our loving Father wants us to live in happiness and peace. There is only one way to achieve it: we have to obey God’s commandments and to live in harmony with His will. Let us translate our devotion to the Santo Niño into our daily lives. Let us become the beloved children of God, truly pleasing in His eyes.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches