Christmas in the Philippines

[REFLECTIONS] None too poor; no one too rich

Word and Life Publications

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[REFLECTIONS] None too poor; no one too rich

FOOD SECURITY AND LAND TENURE. In this file photo, farmers walk through a rice field. Rappler

7th day of Simbang Gabi: Today’s theme is gratitude to God – 'utang na loob sa sa Diyos' – for the wonders the Lord has done not only for Mary Most Holy, but also for our community and each of us

1 Samuel 1:24-28; Luke 1:46-56

We now live in a world full of self-entitled spoiled brats. In these times dominated now, no longer by televangelists, politicians, and entertainers, but by social media influencers, almost everyone now seems to have that self-appointed right and task of calling out someone, canceling somebody, and proclaiming one’s non-guilty verdict in the name of art or freedom, misguided though it may be.

One obvious and clear consequence of all this digital hubris, apart from the lack of remorse after sending someone to digital hell, is the lack of gratitude.

We Filipinos have never been the paragons of gratefulness (often in the name of hiya syndrome). We do not usually find it easy to say Thank You to each other. We just graciously smile and probably say nothing more. But the digitally spawned misplaced sense of entitlement has dealt a final blow to our capacity to be grateful, really grateful and truly appreciative. Having been a teacher over the past 47 years, I think I can safely claim my right to voice an opinion in relation to this. Young people, for the most part, have lost the fine and delicate art and craft of being appreciatively grateful.

Here comes a welcome reminder from today’s liturgy. Hannah was by no means rich. But being poor is not an excuse to withhold some- thing that can be drawn from deep inside the storehouse of our innate riches – the capacity to be grateful. This is what Hannah precisely did. She offered her child back to God.

No one is too poor as to be able to offer nothing back. No one is too rich as to have nothing to declare as a need and therefore literally have nothing to be grateful for. Louis Evely wrote this back in the 70s: “If you have nothing to be grateful for, there is nothing Christian in you.”

– Word and Life Publications/

This reflection is part of the Patnubay ng Misa, which can be downloaded at the Word and Life Publications site.

Here are more reflections and stories about Christmas in the Philippines

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