Seventh Gift

December 22, 2017

First reading                           1 Samuel 1:24-28

In those days,
Hannah brought Samuel with her,
along with a three-year-old bull,
an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine,
and presented him at the temple of the LORD in Shiloh. 
After the boy's father had sacrificed the young bull,
Hannah, his mother, approached Eli and said:
"Pardon, my lord!
As you live, my lord,
I am the woman who stood near you here, praying to the LORD. 
I prayed for this child, and the LORD granted my request. 
Now I, in turn, give him to the LORD;
as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the LORD."
She left Samuel there.

Psalm                                    1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8ABCD

My heart exults in the Lord, my Saviour.

Gospel                                 Luke 1:46-56

Mary said:

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever."

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months
and then returned to her home.


No Return, No Exchange
By Fidji R. Sarmiento

Have you ever received a gift that you so want to give back?

Like the dreaded giveaway mug from a birthday party, or the annual mundane company umbrella during the holiday season. Or maybe, an expensive pack of Wagyu beef from Japan, when you are in fact a vegetarian.  Or let’s say you got a shirt from a brand you’ve been raving about, but it’s just waaay too small. Not that you are being ungrateful or rude. But reality is, at the back of your mind, ”Sayang naman ang pera dito. Kung puwede lang isauli.” Sure the intention to be thoughtful and generous was purely there.

But still…

And then shift your eyes to the Virgin Mary. The Blessed Mother of God. The Immaculate Conception. Our life; our sweetness; and our hope. Ang ating mahal na mahal na Ina.

She was PRAISING the Lord for a very unlikely gift – a surprise pregnancy. Imagine her confusion, plus his fiancé’s confusion. How in the world would they explain to everyone that that baby bump was, you know, the God incarnate? Human as they are, we can be certain of how problematic this unlikely gift to be. (Not to mention St. Joseph who even contemplated to make a quiet escape.)

Fast track to our complicated lives today. How in the world would we exactly praise the Lord after receiving the news that the unlikely lump on your chest is cancer? That the promotion your received was not after all what you wanted? That the little boy that you waited to conceive for years was suddenly diagnosed to have autism?

TRUST. Utterly, undeniably, complete trust in the Lord. The kind of trust that you confidently believe that there is a purpose behind this. That there is a wise and just God watching over me, who also trusts my spiritual strength to carry a load as heavy as this. Yes we may speak of humility, of acceptance, of gratitude. But trust does not come easy.

Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not COMMANDED you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

So as the cliche goes, "In God we trust". 


As we continue to contemplate on Your Son’s birth, we humbly ask that You hold our hearts with Your compassionate hands. We are so sorry that we complain a lot. The traffic, the weather, the insensitive guy beside us on the train, that arrogant boss, that family member who wastes away our hard-earned money, that pesky pimple, or that receding hairline. Lord, we shout to You, like Mary, with all our being – WE TRUST YOU, with all our heart, our mind, our soul! Forgive us, O Lord. And help us, especially all clergy and religious, to be trustful of Your purpose and promise. And may this coming Christmas season be the beginning of our complete surrender to Your Will. Amen.  

The Gift


Dear Jesus, You taught us that worrying won’t help us solve our problems. Like Mama Mary, who trusted God so much that her heart was bursting with joy despite her trials, we will trust in You. Today, we will trust in You, believing that for all of our whys and buts, You have a perfect answer. Amen.

(Fidji s a 24/7 mom of 4 and a special education teacher and consultant by profession. She also crafts a lot and is a diehard DIYer. If you think her hands are full, you should see her heart.)

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