Sunday, January 28, 2007

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Jer 1:4-5, 17-19; Ps 70; 1 Cor 12:31-13:13; Lk 4:21-30

In the gospel, we see the people’s very cruel reaction to the person of Jesus. “They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff . . .” (Lk 4:29). Why are these people so mad of Jesus that they want to kill him?

John Pilch, a respected Bible scholar, provides us with some relevant information. First of all, it is customary in Mediterranean culture for a son to carry on his father’s trade and his grandfather’s name. Jesus causes a controversy because he does not seem to be carrying his father’s trade. The people are asking, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” They know Jesus’ family and they are aware of the fact that his father is a carpenter. And so they are wondering why this guy is doing something different. Why is he acting like a prophet instead of doing carpentry like his father? In the Mediterranean world, Jesus’ behavior is quite anomalous.

Moreover, the people are mad of Jesus because he preaches in his hometown but performs not a single miracle there. The people think that if this man really is a prophet and miracle worker, then he should at least do something for his own people and not simply announce the arrival of the Messianic age. Instead, Jesus aligns himself with the prophets Elijah and Elisha who had extended God's favor to gentiles, considered outsiders by the Jews. Directing healing miracles to others first rather than to his own kinsmen make people extremely angry of Jesus.

One of the first indigenous bishops in Nigeria returned to his native town for a reception soon after he was made bishop. His townspeople, most of whom had only a faint idea of what the Christian faith or the office of bishop stands for, came together to give him a big reception. In the welcome speech, the people expressed how happy they were that one of their own sons had risen to the exalted position of those who had direct access to God. They promised him they would all embrace Christianity if he, as bishop, would use the power of his office to suppress one of the Ten Commandments for them. Before they could say which of the Commandments they had in mind, the young bishop shocked them by telling them that the Ten Commandments are of divine and not human making, and so are unchangeable. The celebratory mood turned into disappointment and the bishop had to make a hasty departure from his own people.

(The story is from Ernest Munachi Ezeogu)

Like the bishop in the story, Jesus is expected to do special favors for his own village people. Obviously, however, the Lord is fully aware of the universality of his mission and he does not want to show partiality in fulfilling his task. He wants people to understand that God plays no favorites, that divine love really is intended for all. The writers of the Old Testament also had this basic awareness of the encompassing nature of God’s love. In the first reading, for example, Jeremiah is appointed by God as a prophet to the “nations”, implying the universality of his mission.

Today’s good news inspires us to emulate the way Jesus fulfills his missionary task. Let us learn the art of universal loving, that which always considers the good of all, not only of the few who are close to us. Christian love, the theme of Paul’s letter in the second reading, embraces all, rich and poor, ignorant and educated, sinners and saints. For genuine Christians, selective loving is no loving at all. This message is particularly important for Filipinos because the “tayo-tayo (we) mentality” is quite strong in our culture. We are very proud of our strong spirit of bayanihan (camaraderie), pakikipagkapwa (fellowship) and pakikiisa (solidarity). But, our generosities often are very parochial and we lack genuine social concerns. It is unfortunately observed that while Filipino homes are immaculately clean, our public toilets are dirty. Our failing concern for the common good is manifested more clearly in the practice of nepotism which is quite rampant in our institutions, political and religious. We can afford to sacrifice the national interests in favor of our local constituents or of our families.

The gospel also inspires us to imitate Jesus’ courage to speak the truth, no matter what the cost. The Lord knows that by speaking against the clannish and exclusivist attitude of his own people, he will get the ire of his listeners. Nevertheless, Jesus goes on to speak the truth. He says what he has to say, and he doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process, even if it means him also getting hurt. The truth, for Jesus, is non-negotiable; it is not influenced by his own selfish interests. This also is an important reminder to us Filipinos because often we are willing to exchange our values and principles for the sake of political or financial interests. Our cherish value of utang na loob (sense of gratitude) has become for us a liability for genuine national prosperity.

Once there was a farming town that could be reached only by a narrow road with a bad curve in it. There were frequent accidents on the road, especially at the curve, and the preacher would preach to the people of the town to make sure they were Good Samaritans. And so they were, as they would pick the people up on the road, for this was a religious work. One day someone suggested they buy an ambulance to get the accident victims to the town hospital more quickly. The preacher preached and the people gave, for this was a religious work.

Then one day a councilman suggested that the town authorize building a wider road and taking out the dangerous curve. Now it happened that the mayor had a farm market right at the curve on the road, and he was against taking out the curve. Someone asked the preacher to say a word to the mayor and the congregation next Sunday about it. But the preacher and most of the people figured they had better stay out of politics; so next Sunday the preacher preached on the Good Samaritan Gospel and encouraged the people to continue their fine work of picking up the accident victims, which they did.

(The Story is by Francis X. Meehan in A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers by William J. Bausch)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Conversion of Paul (Year C)

Acts 22:3-16; Ps 116; Mk 16:15-18

Ordinarily, the Church celebrates the feast of a saint on his/her death anniversary. A holy person’s moment of death is the point wherein he/she starts living and enjoying life everlasting with God. In very few occasions, we also commemorate the birthday of a holy person such as that of Mary (September 8) and John the Baptizer (June 24). The feast, however, that we are celebrating today is unique because it is not a birthday or a death anniversary of someone, but a day of his conversion. Why does the Church celebrate in a special manner the day of Paul’s conversion?

First of all, I would like to believe that the Church commemorates the day of Paul’s conversion in order to remind people of the power of grace over sin. The grace of God is greater than human sinfulness. It is difficult to imagine a sinner more evil than Saul of Tarsus (the man who later became Saint Paul). He was a religious fanatic and a murderer of Christians. He intended to wipe out all followers of Christ on this planet. But God chose to save Paul from the power of darkness and made His move while the murderer was on his way to kill more Christians. After his dramatic encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul started to become the fearless apostle of Christ to the gentiles.

The story of Paul’s conversion should encourage us not to lose hope on someone. How many times have we said that a person is incorrigible or unredeemable? We should not say that to anyone, not even to ourselves. Not as long as a person lives is he/she hopeless. We should allow God to work His way to a person’s heart. We could give advices or provide guidance to a person through our words and actions, but ultimately, it is God who is going to change the sinner from within. It is never too late for anyone to be saved because God’s mercy is boundless and there is no time limit in His offer of salvation.

Moreover, I would like to think that the Church remembers the day of Paul’s conversion in order to remind us of the great celebration in heaven for every converted soul on earth (Lk 15:7). The Good Shepherd is willing to leave the 99 of His flock in order to find one lost sheep. And when He finds it, He celebrates with His friends because every found sheep or every converted soul is worth the celebration.

The story of Paul’s conversion should inspire us to work hand in hand for every person’s salvation. We should not attempt to convert the world; rather, we aim to convert one soul at a time, starting with our own. The great spiritual guru, Anthony de Mello, writes about a Sufi Bayazid who once said this about himself:

“I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was, ‘Lord, give me the energy to change the world.’

“As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come into contact with me. Just my family and friends, and I shall be satisfied.’

“Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, my one prayer now is, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start, I should not have wasted my life.”

(The anecdote is from A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers by William J. Bausch)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Neh 8:2-4, 5-6, 8-10; Ps 18; Cor 12:12-30; Lk 1:1-4; 4:14-21

The reading, hearing and explaining of God’s Word became an essential aspect of Jewish community life. The first reading, for instance, describes how the prophet Ezra brought the Book of the Law and read it before the assembly of men, women and children. In his sharing and explanation of the Word, Ezra tried to encourage the people to remain joyful and hopeful despite their trials and afflictions of the exile (Neh 8:9-10). It was the proclamation of God’s Word that sustained the life and identity of Israel.

When Jesus went into the synagogue on a Sabbath day, he was being faithful to the tradition of his people. The gospel recounts how Jesus stood up, took the scroll and read a part of the Book of Isaiah which says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord ” (Lk 4:18-19; cf. Is 61:1-2). Some Bible commentators would suggest that this was Jesus’ most favorite passage in all of Scriptures. The passage would shed light on his true identity and mission as the anointed one of God.

Isaiah’s prophecy was a vision of a world that God has long desired for humankind – a world of equality, freedom, wholeness and peace. When Jesus said, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21), he was simply saying that God’s dream for humanity is being fulfilled in him. He is the anointed one referred to by the prophet Isaiah who would bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed.

The readings, first of all, inspire us to make the proclamation of the Word of God central in our daily lives. The Word should be our main source of nourishment and strength. This challenge is particularly important today when we hear a lot of attractive yet deceiving messages from people in the media and in consumerist and materialist society. The Psalmist reminds us that the Word of God provides spirit and life: “The law of the Lord is perfect; it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted; it gives wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right; they gladden the heart. The command of the Lord is clear; it gives light to the eyes” (Ps 18:7-9).

Moreover, the readings challenge us to participate in bringing God’s vision to fulfillment by serving the poor, the oppressed and others who are in need. By sharing the life, joys, hopes and sorrows of the less privileged members of society, we are working to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor, to set people free from all sorts of slavery, to enlighten people from any form of blindness and to help them in their struggle for justice and equality.

Saint Paul’s metaphor of the “Body of Christ” inspires us to mutually minister to one another. Since all parts are important, there shall be no division but equal concern for one another. Interdependence among us is essential for the “Body of Christ” to grow and bear fruit. Affection, love or esteem must be given to all, and yet, we need to extend special preference to the inferior members of our community. As Paul says, “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we cloth with greater honor. . . . God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another” (1 Cor. 12:22-25).

The Body of Christ, therefore, is a community of co-responsibility. What Paul envisions is a community that lives together and that shares everything together. “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Cor. 12:25-26).

Once in a carpenter’s workshop, there was this conversation going on. Everyone was accusing Brother Hammer because he makes a lot of noise. So Brother Hammer was in the chair, and he was the target of conversation. They said that Brother Hammer had to leave the workshop because he is always hitting Brother Nail on the head and he is always making noises.

And Brother Hammer said, “Okay, I will leave, provided that Brother Pencil leaves also, he always makes little impressions in the workshop, just a line, what use is Brother Pencil?”

Brother Pencil said, “I will leave the workshop, provided that Brother Plane also leaves because he always works on the surface.”

Brother Plane said, “I will leave, provided that Brother Screw leaves. Because Brother Screw, in order to make him do something, you have to turn him round and round, and round, and it takes time to make him do anything.”

Brother Screw said, “I will leave, provided brother Ruler leaves, because Brother Ruler always measures the others with his own measurements, as if he is the only one right here. He is the one who always measures everything.”

Brother Ruler said, “I will leave, provided that Brother Sandpaper leaves because he is always rough with others.”

Brother Sandpaper said, “I will leave, provided that Brother Saw leaves, because Brother Saw always cuts deep with his teeth. When he speaks, he is sharp, no mercy on anyone, as soon as the teeth hit, he cuts deep.”

In the meantime, during this conversation, while Brother Hammer was still in the seat, the carpenter of Nazareth entered the workshop. He put on his apron, and he had a job to do. He was going to make a table. So, he picked up the pencil, he picked up the saw, he picked up the planer, he used some screws, he used the hammer, he used some nails, he used the sandpaper, and by the end of the day, he had used all of the tools, and the table was finished.

Then brother saw said “I perceive brothers that all of us have a part to play in this workshop. There was not a tool that Jesus Christ used, that another tool could have done the job. There was not a single accusation that was not absolutely true. All the accusations were true, and yet, the carpenter of Nazareth, Jesus Christ used every one of those tools.

In the community we each have different characters, and like this carpenter’s workshop, each one of us has a unique part to play.”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Senor Santo Nino/ Holy Child (Year C)

A mother was teaching her three year old son the Lord’s Prayer. For several evenings at bedtime, he repeated it after his mother. One night he said he was ready to solo. The mother listened with pride, as he carefully enunciated each word right up to the end. “And lead us not into temptation”, he prayed, “but deliver us some e-mail, Amen.”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Filipino families would make little children the center of their attention. Children in Filipino homes are over protected and lavished with love from their siblings, parents and grandparents. This could be the most significant reason why the devotion of Filipinos to the child Jesus is quite strong. The Santo Niño is a little child whom we easily can love and shower with affection.

There are at least three reasons why we, Filipinos, should keep and develop our love to the Santo Niño. First of all, the Santo Niño reminds us of the beginning of the Christian faith on earth. The Santo Niño provides a visible representation of the great mystery of the Incarnation. When the fullness of time came, the Second Person of the Triune God decided to be born as a little child and to become one like us in everything except sin. At the center of our faith is the fact that God became little in order to make us great. Saint Irenaeus once wrote, “On account of His great love, He became what we are, that He might make us what He is.”

Second, the Santo Niño reminds us of the establishment of the Christian Faith in the Philippines. In 1521, the Spanish conquistadores landed in the Philippine soil. The missionary friars who were with them worked hard to introduce Christianity to the natives. In the beginning there was strong resistance, but after some time the friars were able to bring many to the Christian faith, including the king (Humabon) and queen (Juana) of Cebu. As a baptismal present, Magellan handed to the queen an image of the Santo Niño. Today, the same statue, which marked the Christianization of the country, is venerated in a beautiful basilica in Cebu.

Finally, the Santo Niño serves as a perpetual reminder of the key to our salvation. Jesus said, “Unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God” (Mt 18:3). Obviously, the Lord doesn’t want us to remain a child forever. He wants us to mature physically, emotionally and spiritually. He likes us to grow in our faith and love of God and neighbor. And yet, in all these, the Lord wishes us to remain childlike. He wants us to remain humble, simple and trustful in God who is our Loving Father in heaven.

One big stumbling block on our way to heaven is pride. A proud person would forget easily that God is the source of all blessings. He would think that he achieves everything only with his efforts, and thus, would not be grateful to anybody, not even to God.

A proud person would hardly say “sorry.” He would see only the faults of others, not his own. Even when he recognizes his mistakes, he would not say “sorry” because repentance for him is a sign of weakness.

Worst of all, a proud person would be quick to judge and slow to forgive. A person who does not realize his own need of forgiveness would tend to be very hard on others.

As we celebrate the feast of the Santo Niño, let us be reminded that true greatness lies not in lording it over others, but in being grateful, humble, compassionate and merciful with others.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Is 62:1-5; Ps 95; 1 Cor 12:4-11; Jn 2:1-11

The gospel tells us that Jesus requested six jars holding anywhere from 20 to 30 gallons of water each. We appreciate the fact that Jesus performed his first miracle by changing these 120 to 180 gallons of water into wine. Taking just 120 gallons which equate to 480 quarts, we must come to a conclusion that Jesus our Lord knew how to throw a party.

After the Lord changed the water into wine, the writer of John’s gospel commented that “this was the first of the signs given by Jesus” (2:11). What happened at Cana in Galilee was more than a miracle and a party; it was meant to point a profound reality concerning God and His people.

Bible commentators note the fact that the “changing of the water into wine” took place at a wedding banquet. In the Scriptures, God’s relationship with the people of Israel is described as a marital union: Yahweh being the husband and Israel as the spouse. The first reading, for example, says “As the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you” (Is 62:5). Saint Paul speaks of the same reality when he describes the Church as the bride of Christ. It is God’s desire and delight to be one with us, to share life with us and to love us unconditionally. The gospels portray the Messianic era as a marriage feast (Mt 22:10; Mk 2:19) because this is the time when God lives amongst His people.

Like a good shepherd, Jesus was to gather the people of God under his care. As he changed the water into wine, so Jesus was going to transform the people into a Church or a community of caring disciples. Christianity was like a choice wine that was kept until later in the history of humanity.

Today, countless people come to believe in Jesus Christ and many also are enjoying meaningful lives because of the Christian faith. Undeniably, however, there are people who are disgruntled and unhappy because they feel that the Church (often equated with the hierarchy) is not helping them or that the Christian faith is not making a real difference to their life. The second reading is relevant because it provides an important key to keeping Christianity a choice wine for people to relish truly and fully. Here, Saint Paul reminds us that the Church is not only the priests and religious but the whole Christian community of which every member has a vital role to play. The Holy Spirit gives to individuals various gifts/talents not for personal use but for the service of the community. Christianity sometimes would appear irrelevant because Christians themselves do not fulfill their mission in the world. Christians would find meaning in following Christ when they strive to use their gifts/talents to serve one another.

Like Mary, we are to remain ever mindful to the needs of people around us. Mary considers the difficult situation of others more than her own personal concerns. Indeed, she remains a model of a caring disciple who glorifies God through self-denial and self-giving.

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

“What food might this contain?” The mouse wondered – he was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap. Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning.

“There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The pig sympathized, but said, “I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers.”

The mouse turned to the cow and said “There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!” The cow said, “Wow, Mr. Mouse. I’m sorry for you, but it’s no skin off my nose.”

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital, and she returned home with a fever. Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient.

But his wife’s sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well; she died. So many people came for her funeral. The farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear someone is facing a problem and think it doesn’t concern you, remember – when one of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We are all involved in this journey called life. We must keep an eye out for one another and make an extra effort to encourage one another.

(The story is from an unknown author)

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Epiphany of the Lord (Year C)

Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:2, 7-8, 10-13; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12

A wealthy businessman was now old and wanted to retire. So he called his three sons and told them: “I am not going to divide my business and give it to all three of you. What I want to find out is this: which of you is the best businessman. So I am going to test the three of you. Whoever wins the test gets the whole business.”

So the old man gave each of the sons a thousand pesos. With that money each one was supposed to buy something which would fill a big empty room. The boy who filled the room most completely would win.

The first boy went out and bought a big leafy tree. He had it cut down and dragged into the room. It filled about half the room.

The second young man went out and bought all the kunai grass which some farmers were cutting off their field. They carried it in and filled most of the room.

The third boy was the smartest. He went to a small trade store and bought a candle for 25c. In the evening, after dark, he called his dad over to the large empty room. He then put the little candle down on the floor in the middle of the room and lighted it. After a minute or so he turned to his father and said, “Dad, can you see any little corner of this room which is not filled by the light of that tiny candle?”

That boy won the business.

(The story is from an unknown author)

There is an interesting fact about darkness that we should know by heart. Darkness, no matter how sometimes overwhelming it is, can be destroyed by the smallest of lights. Such is the inspiration of the lyrics of the song: “It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark.”

The idea of a light shining in the dark is the central message of the feast of the Epiphany. The Church celebrates the manifestation of Jesus Christ who is the full revelation of God’s love for humanity. The three wise men represent people from different parts of the world who accept Jesus as the light that brightens the whole world, a light no darkness can extinguish.

The feast of the Epiphany reminds us of our special calling to be a light of the world. We are to be living images of our Lord who overcame darkness by his very life, a life filled with love and self-giving. Christians, no matter how ordinary or how little, are called to share the love of God to everyone.

A spiritual writer identifies two centers of force in the world, namely: the “force of having” and “the force of giving”. Herod is the exact representative of the force of having. He is so self-absorbed. He only thinks of himself and of what he can get. Herod’s narcissism prompts him to kill the innocent children and many others whom he suspects as rivals to the throne. If the force of having rules, there would be chaos, darkness and death. The three wise men represent the force of giving. They know that their powers are entrusted to them to serve the needs of others. They recognize a greater Power that controls everything in the world. They want to know Him and to give honor to Him. Their humble recognition of God’s sovereignty moves them to go out of their comfort zones in order to find the Light of lights. If the force of giving rules, there would be peace, happiness and fullness of life.

British TV celebrity Malcolm Muggeridge went to India to film Mother Teresa’s nuns working with dying patients. His camera crew didn’t anticipate the poor lighting in the building and failed to bring extra lights. So they thought it useless to film the sisters at work. But someone suggested they do it anyway. Maybe some footage would be usable. To everyone’s surprise, the film was spectacular. It was illumined by a mysterious light. Muggeridge believes the light resulted from a “glow” of love radiating from the sisters’ faces. He sensed this “glow” himself when he first entered the building. He says it was “like the haloes that artists have seen and made visible round the heads of saints.” He adds, “I find it not at all surprising that the luminosity should register on photographic film.”

(The story is from an unknown author)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Mary, Mother of God (Year C)

Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21

The Catholic Church joins the whole world in celebrating the beginning of a new Universal Calendar Year. We gather to celebrate the Eucharist in order to thank the Lord for all the graces of the past year and to ask Him to continue blessing our families and friends with love, joy and peace.

The Church assigns the first day of every year as the solemnity of Mary, the mother of God. Mary is not a goddess, but since she is the mother of Jesus who is “God became man”, she truly is the mother of God.

Being the mother of Jesus, Mary also became the mother of the Church. She is the ecclesial mother who will provide Christians with maternal care and protection throughout the year.

By honoring Mary on the first Calendar day, Christians are encouraged to emulate her example every day of the year. The Blessed Virgin is the model of a faithful disciple of Jesus. She is not only the first human being to receive the Word; she also is the first to follow Him.

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said “I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat.

“Is the man of the house home?” they asked.

“No”, she replied. “He’s out.”

“Then we cannot come in”, they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.

“Go tell them I am home and invite them in!”

The woman went out and invited the men in.

“We do not go into a House together,” they replied.

“Why is that?" she asked.

One of the old men explained: “His name is Wealth,” he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, “He is Success, and I am Love.” Then he added, “Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home.”

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. “How nice!” he said. “Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!”

His wife disagreed. “My dear, why don’t we invite Success?”

Their daughter was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: “Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!”

“Let us heed our daughter’s advice,” said the husband to his wife. “Go out and invite Love to be our guest.”

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, “Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest.”

Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other 2 also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: “I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?”

The old men replied together: “If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would’ve stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!”

(The story is from an unknown author)
Like Mary, may we all welcome Jesus, the perfect embodiment of love, so that true joy and happiness will reign in our homes and in our hearts!
Happy New Year to us all!