7th Day of Simbang Gabi (December 22, 2022)
A Service of Thanksgiving
December is probably the month that we wait for every year. Because it’s fun, colorful, and there are lots of food. We receive many graces, bonuses, gifts, Christmas, etc. We are thankful for all the grace we have received this whole year. Even though there is inflation, we still received many blessings from the Lord, we are still blessed by God.
Brothers and sisters in our Gospel we heard the Magnificat. This is a song. A song of gratitude from our mother Mary. A thank you for the grace she received from God, being the mother of Christ. A thank you because God fulfilled his promise to redeem his people. But the gratitude of our mother Mary does not end with her lips. He showed gratitude by serving her cousin Elizabeth, who is also pregnant.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Mary gave us an example of how to give thanks to God. That thanking God does not end with words but with deeds, in serving our neighbor, in helping others.
Personally, I was touched by an incident when I was exposed to the urban poor. As part of our seminary formation program, we were sent to a a community of illegal settlers in Quezon City. Each of us was assigned to a family for a month. With my foster family, I lived in a small house. We have a neighbor, a poor man, he just lost his job. Usually, when you are under contract, your contract ends when December is near. When my foster mother found out that he no longer had a job and no money to buy food, my foster mother brought him food. I did not understand what I saw. So I asked my foster mother: “Nay bakit po kayo ng bigay ng pagkain sa kapitbahay natin, eh konti lang po ang pagkain natin, sakto lang po sa atin or kulang pa nga kasi nadagdag po ako.” My foster mother answered: “Alam mo anak kahit mahirap lang tayo, mas maswerte pa din tayo, dapat tayo magpasalamat sa Diyos dahil may pagkain tayo, biniyayaan tayo ng Diyos at dapat lang na ibahagi natin ito sa iba.”
That incident changed my outlook in life. Even though they were poor, even with the little they had, they still managed to share it with others. They are grateful to God for the little they had and they showed their gratitude to God by sharing it with others, by helping those who needed it most in life. I remember a saying that was posted in our convent when I was a missionary in Panama. It says: “Si tienes el corazón rebosante de amor, aunque tengas los bolsillos vacíos, siempre tendrás algo que dar.” (“If you have a heart full of love, even if you have empty pockets, you will always have something to give.”) Even if we are poor, as long as your heart is full of love, you still have something to give, and that is loving God by loving our neighbor. May we imitate Mary in her gratitude to God by helping other people.