Mission Society of the Philippines

Homilies

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY: THANKING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS

Lk 2:22-40

BLESSED MARY McKILLOP once said, “gratitude is the memory of the heart.” This means that if we look at everything positively and through faith, we will be always thankful or grateful to God for so many things. In our Gospel today, we heard the Child Jesus being presented in the temple. Joseph and Mary followed what was prescribed in the Law of Moses.  However, if we try to go deeper of what they did, Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple was not just to follow and fulfil the law but rather, it was a gesture of “thanksgiving to God” for the gift they received. It was obvious that the ritual they did was to acknowledge God’s goodness. 

In this same gospel passage, we heard of a person called Simeon. He is a person who is ready to see his death or experience death. He says, “Master, you may let you servant go in peace” (Lk 2:29). He is not afraid of it for he knew how lucky he was; for he saw already the fulfilment of God’s promise of salvation in the person of Jesus. Here, we can see how grateful Simeon was for he sees the fulfilment of God’s promise of salvation to humanity.

There is also a mention of the name, Anna, the prophetess, who comes forward at that very time. She gives thanks to God and speaks about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem (Lk 2:38). Again, this woman expresses her gratitude to God for she has the opportunity to witness the Child who would bring redemption to Jerusalem.

Looking at the scenario presented by the Gospel, we can see three “expressions of gratitude” given by Mary and Joseph, Simeon, and Anna. It is a gratitude being accorded to God. Gratitude may have become part of their life or perhaps, gratitude is their life. They are able to thank God because they remember God’s goodness. Memory or remembrance is the key to gratitude.

This is something missing in some people. In our present generation, many people do complain because they could hardly acknowledge the good things that happen in their lives. They fail to acknowledge these as gifts from God. Rather, they claim these things as a fruit of their own labour. Most people lose the “sense of recognition” of good things as God’s gifts. As a consequence, they miss to see the value and meaning of their existence.  Some people miss to see this point because they spend time trying to earn degrees, awards, possessions, power and riches at the expense of searching for the meaning and value of their existence. They fail to acknowledge the “hands of God” working in their lives, they fail to thank Him.

A few days ago, we celebrated Christmas, a remembrance of the first coming of Jesus to the world. This is an opportunity through which we can thank God for his desire to save us. We always remember it, and therefore, we can thank Him. But today, more people fail to recognize the significance of that worldwide celebration in their lives. If more people, in fact, more Christians, no longer see and feel the significance of Jesus’ birth, who offered his life for the salvation of humanity, then it would be difficult for them to recognize God in small things, and in ordinary things that happen in their life.

It is our prayer and our hope then that the world may realize and recognize God’s goodness. The recognition is a key to gratitude. Indeed, gratitude is the memory of the heart.

                                           [Fr JAYBEE BONGHANOY MSP
                                                  Bunbury, Australia]


« Back to Homilies Index

  Contact Us

MSP CENTRAL OFFICE
Phase 1, Block 53, Lot 4,7,8, Springfield corner Greenwich St., Southspring Subdivision, Brgy. Canlalay, Biñan, 4024, Laguna, Philippines

or MCPO Box 1006
    1200 MAKATI CITY

PHONE: Landline +63 49 521 8371   /  Smart:   +63 999 798 0581

FAX: (632) 831-9937
E-mail: secgen@msp.org.ph