Christmas in the Philippines

[REFLECTION] Together, to gather, to get there!

Word and Life Publications

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[REFLECTION] Together, to gather, to get there!

The local government of Carmona, Cavite, lights up its town plaza to welcome the Christmas season, on November 22, 2022.

Dennis Abrina/Rappler

1st day of Simbang Gabi: We are gathered together, not just because of tradition, but because of faith in the Lord who calls us together, to get there … our total liberation in Christ!

Isaiah 56:1-3.6-8; John 5:33-36

(This series of reflections is courtesy of Word and Life Publications, publisher of ‘Patnubay sa Misa’ at ‘Euchalette.’ Rappler is sharing these reflections for those preparing for Christmas.)

Simbang Gabi is simply phenomenal! We come out of our homes (and beds at dawn!) in droves! Entire families change their routines. Workers, both the formally and informally employed, go out of their way to join the Mass at dawn or the Mass in the evening. And on both times, Churches are overflowing.

The SG tradition is as much cultural-historical as a religious phenomenon.

But today’s readings offer us a theme to reflect on – a call to go beyond the level of the cultural-historical and reach the level of a faith-filled religious experience. Isaiah gives the opening salvo. He reminds us of “salvation [that] is about to come;” “justice about to be revealed,” and calls to mind what the Lord God did to assure the fulfillment of these promises: God is the one who “gathers the dispersed of Israel,” and He keeps the promise alive thus: “Others will I gather to him besides those already gathered.”

We are once more together in churches and places of worship all over the country for all of nine days including today. But our gathering is not just an answer to a cultural-historical summons. It ought to be a testimony to the truth of our faith, much like John the Baptist’s testimony to the light. Konting push pa, mga ‘tol! We are gathered together, not just because of tradition, but because of faith in the Lord who calls us together, to get there … our total liberation in Christ! – Word and Life Publications/Rappler.com

This reflection is part of the Euchalette, which can be downloaded for free at the Word and Life Publications site.

Click here for more reflections about Christmas.

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