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(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.)
The gathering in churches and other places of worship during Simbang Gabi is a study on Filipino culture of acceptance and tolerance, at the very least, and on respect and reverence for beloved elders (titos, titas, lolos and lolas). We Filipinos value relationships so much that anyone one looks up to in some way is referred to by endearing terms like ate, kuya, tol, to, ta, or lolo and lola. Just look at us during this Simbang Gabi Mass. We are a motley congregation of young ones, and the not-so-young-ones – the group that now is a little comically called tanders!
I think today’s liturgy is some kind of cautonary tale. It simply reminds us to go easy on canceling out tanders! Manoah and his wife were not exactly ancient, but the woman was barren. As such, she was a perfect candidate for the Old Testament version of the cancel culture. She was not taken too seriously and even looked down on.
Zechariah was more honest and straightforward about his being “old” and his wife Elizabeth being “advanced in years.”
No matter! The Lord had set His sights on Manoah and his wife, and on Zechariah and Elizabeth. There is hope even for those whom the world is all too eager to write off and cancel out. There is hope for those who are ready to believe and behave according to what they believe. – Word and Life Publications/Rappler.com