FEAST OF THE SANTO NIÑO
(White) CYCLE C/ Year II (January 17, 2016)
Is 9:1-6/Eph 1:3-6, 15-18/Lk 2:41-52
In spite of the fact that we do not have much knowledge about the child Jesus, still our Catholic Church, most especially our local church in the Philippines, gives importance to the devotion to the Santo Niño. This is because behind the image of Santo Niño lies the theology of deep intensity that is so related with our day to day Christian life. The image of Santo Niño reminds us of the very words of Jesus Christ: “Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” This does not mean to be childish but rather to be childlike. To be like a child is to acquire not only the good attitudes of children but also to assume their situation.
A child is not so significant to the society as compared to the adults. Their rights are so limited only to the basic rights of human person and of being children. They do not have the right to vote or be voted, neither can they have a strong say in the important debates in the public. This situation of the child must remind us of our situation in front of God. We are nothing in front of God because we are mere creatures whom God does not need. But we become special to God when we unite ourselves to His only child, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Being insignificant to the society, the child learns to be humble and considers all his thinking and even feelings as not so important. This attitude of humility reminds us of the attitude that Christ assumed when he lived on earth. Although he is God, Christ did not assume his power as God but rather he humbled himself by assuming the weakness of man except sin, even up to dying on the cross. As followers of Christ, we are also called to humble ourselves especially when we are entrusted with position, power, fame and even riches. We must remember that these things are entrusted to us by God only to use them to be of service to our fellow men especially the needy.
As the child does not know much about everything, he becomes submissive to the decisions of his parents and superiors. He is usually obedient. This reminds us of the main attitude Christ assumed: his perfect obedience to the will of his Heavenly Father. We too are called to be obedient to the will of God which can easily be found in the teachings of the Bible and the doctrines of the Church.
One more thing about the child is that he is dependent on his parents. He does not worry about what to eat, what to dress and where to stay since he knows that his parents provide for him everything that he needs. This is actually the attitude of Christ towards his Heavenly Father. He submits all his life to Him for he knows that His Father will not abandon him even in his death on the cross. We too must have such kind of total abandonment in the hands of our Heavenly Father. God is a father to all of us through Jesus Christ. We must never worry amidst the trials that we encounter in life. God is good and He loves us; he will never leave us alone.
The child Jesus assumed all these good attitudes of a child and we have known in the gospel that he grew in body and wisdom, gaining favor with God and people. As children of God, followers of the Santo Niño, we must assume the same attitudes of Christ if we really want to grow not only in body but most especially in wisdom. All of us may have knowledge but wisdom is given only to those who submit themselves to the will of God. May this feast of Santo Niño make us not only love and help the children and those like them – the needy – but also imitate Jesus in his attitudes of humility, obedience and total dependence on God, our Heavenly Father.