Sixth Gift


December 21, 2017


First reading                    Zephaniah 3:14-18A

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!

Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!
The LORD has removed the judgment against you,
he has turned away your enemies;
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear.
On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged!
The LORD, your God, is in your midst,
a mighty savior;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
and renew you in his love,
He will sing joyfully because of you,
as one sings at festivals.

Psalm                             Psalm 33: 2-3, 11-12, 20-21 

Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.

Gospel                           Luke 1:39-45      



Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth. 
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
"Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy. 
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled."


Reflection  

What is Important to You?
By Anabelle Payod-Balla

When I was young, I remember spending a lot of time with my friends and the people in our parish. There seems to be enough time to play, to talk, and to work on our projects together. It was easy to make time for people, for relaxation, for household chores.

Now, it's different. Everybody seems preoccupied with something, or rather, with multiple things at the same time. I often experience talking to people whose mind or eyes are wandering somewhere else that it feels like I am talking to a distracted zombie. Even my kids are so busy that it is becoming a challenge getting their full attention! There are millions of distractions out there today, millions of things that get our attention. There is so much to absorb. Our entire being is consumed with so many information. And with so many things happening around us, it takes up our time and our energy. We are oftentimes confused in what to focus on, making it difficult to make decisions, to make choices.  It's tiring out our brain, tiring out our being.

How can we shut out the noise? How can we overcome the distractions of this world- the overflowing information pushed to us by media, by the internet, by the tube, by our gadgets- the games, the trivia, and all the things that we want to possess?

How can we focus on what is more important? Speaking of, what is more important to you? What happens when we give more time and more focus on things that truly matter?

The good news is that like Mother Mary, we are bestowed with free will. We are empowered to make our own decisions! We can choose where we want to spend our time!

We can choose to spend our time creating happy memories with our loved ones, helping those in need, and reaching out to those who need us. Or like Mother Mary, we can visit a friend or a relative who may need someone to talk to, or someone to bless them. Our presence can be a gift to others. Our presence may be something that our loved ones might be longing for. Our presence can be something we can give this Christmas season and beyond.

Happy Christmas! May you experience the true joy of peace and quiet this season.

Prayer
 
Father, thank You for empowering us to make our own choices and decisions. Please help us, especially all clergy and religious, to be wise in choosing where to spend our time. May we spend more time doing things that give You glory. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

The Gift 

Spending Time Wisely


Lord Jesus, busy as You were in proclaiming the Good News and doing works of mercy to all in need, You spent time to be with the Father and with the people You worked with. Today, we will strive to spend our time with You in prayer together with our family. Amen.

(Anabelle is married and is blessed with four lovely daughters. She is currently holding a management position in human resources in one of the multinational companies in Cavite. Currently the Faith Section Editor, Ana is one of the Tanghalang Anluwage’s members since its inception in 1991.)

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