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The light that shines in the darkness

The light that shines in the darkness

January 1, 2007 is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God, and the World Day of Peace.
"A light will shine on us this day, the Lord is born for us; he shall be called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace, Father of the world to come" (Isaiah 9:2-6).
Gospel: The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:16-21).
The gospel is the continuation of the gospel at the Midnight Mass for Christmas. Jesus has been born in Bethlehem and the angel announced the event to the shepherds. "Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.' When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us'" (Luke 2:8-15).
The announcement of Jesus' birth to the shepherds is in keeping with Luke's theme that the lowly are singled out as the recipients of God's favor and the reversal of human fortunes. Jesus was born in the manger in the messiness of life, rejection and poverty. The "manger" is the place where the animals come to eat. In Luke, the shepherds along with the tax collectors and prostitutes shared the bottom rung of Hebrew society. Shepherding was mainly a job for solitary males who worked away from their families. They earned their wages by keeping watch over others' flocks of sheep. Shepherds also lived apart from society, being largely nomadic. Shepherds had a bad reputation as thieves and for engaging in despised trade. Shepherds were the migrants, and the poor and dirty vagabonds. They were wandering from place to place to pasture animals and supervise the migration of the flock. Migrants today could relate to the difficult life and work of the shepherds in the Bible. The shepherds were the first to receive the "Good news of great joy that will be for all the people - the birth of Jesus, the savior."
Although Mary is being praised for being the mother of the Lord, she reacts as the servant in a psalm of praise, the Canticle of Mary, the Magnificat (Latin): "The Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name. He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty" (Luke 1:47-55).
The Magnificat is the song both of the Mother of God and of the Church; the song of the Daughter of Zion and of the new People of God; the song of thanksgiving for the fullness of graces poured out in the economy of salvation and the song of the "poor" whose hope is met by the fulfillment of the promises made to our ancestors, "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever."
The Church confesses that Mary is truly "Mother of God" (Theotokos), meaning "God bearer." Mary is called in the Gospels "the mother of Jesus" and is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as "the mother of my Lord" (Luke 1:39-45). The ecumenical Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431 affirmed the long-standing tradition of Christian prayer in which Mary was honored as Mother of God in his human nature, the mother of "God made man." The Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 declared that Jesus exists in two natures, the divine and the human, without division or separation to form one undivided person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God incarnate.The name "Jesus" was given to the Holy Child at God's command (Luke 1:31) meaning "the Lord saves." The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21).
The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated between New Year's Day and the Epiphany. The feast honors the naming of the infant Jesus after it had been revealed to Saint Joseph (Matthew 1:20-25) and to the Virgin Mary by the archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38). The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.
January 1 is the World Day of Peace. The Hebrew word for peace is "shalom." The word has a much broader meaning than simply absence of conflict; it means wholeness, fulfillment, and well-being. The peace of which Luke's gospel speaks is more than the absence of war or conflict; it also includes security and well-being - characteristics of peace or "shalom" in the Bible (Luke 7:50; 8:48; 10:5-6). I hope that all of us would find peace in our hearts by following the example of Mary, and reflecting on the events in our lives with a contemplative heart. Let us have unceasing faith in Jesus. In His name, all of us are saved and forgiven. Christmas is a reminder to all of us that God sent his Son to gather the nation into God's reign and to find those who are oppressed, rejected, sick, lowly and wandering in the darkness. God's gift to humanity is Jesus, "the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). In the name of Jesus, Prince of Peace, we can overcome the darkness in our lives and find the strength to forgive, the power to love and love more, and the Peace - "Shalom" that is the longing of the human heart. "May the LORD bless you and keep you! May the LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! May the LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!" (Numbers 6:22-27). May you and your family have a healthy, happy and grace-filled New Year!
Announcements
New Year's celebration in Tantzu! A New Year's Eve and Day Mass are scheduled today at 8a.m., 9:30 a.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. On Monday, January 1, masses will be held at 8a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. The UGNAYAN Migrant Center is located at No. 390 Chungshan Road, Section 2, Tantzu.
We, the migrant workers in Tantzu, are inviting you to welcome the New Year today, December 31. An outdoor concert and a disco from 7 p.m. to 12 midnight are scheduled. A New Year's Eve Candle Light Vigil Mass of Thanksgiving will be held from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the T.E.P.Z. Girls Dorm Sports Center. Bundle up, it's a cold, cold, cold evening, and brace yourself for the exciting performances of our live bands. There will be dancing, parlor games and much, much more! We hope that through our New Year's Eve celebration, we could help our fellow migrants have a meaningful New Year in Taiwan.
You may contact Father Joy by sending him a text message at 0930-44-6060, e-mailing him at joyalito@yahoo.com, or writing to him at Jilin Road, Lane 14, No. 3, Taipei 104. You may text your New Year's prayer request to 0930-44-660 or mail it to: Prayer Partners, UGNAYAN Migrant Ministry, No. 390, Chungshan Road, Sec. 2, Tantzu 427.
Tune in to AM864 every Sunday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a radio program brought to you by the UGNAYAN Migrant Ministry. The program includes Sunday readings and reflections, counseling and discussions. Requests, comments, suggestions, dedications and letters are welcome. Call or text 0930-44-6060. Send your letters and stories to UGNAYAN Migrant Ministry Radio, No. 390 Chungshan Road, Section 2, Tantzu 427.
The UGNAYAN Migrant Ministry reaches out to all the migrants and new immigrants in Taiwan. The UGNAYAN Center, located in Tantzu, Taichung County, serves as a center for the following ministries: UGNAYAN Music and Liturgy Ministry, UGNAYAN Charismatic Community, Singles For Christ, Couples For Christ and Handmaids of the Lord, El Shaddai, and the UGNAYAN Outreach to new immigrants and their family. Our training programs include Lay Leadership Formation, music, dance, band and liturgy. For information, contact 0930-446-060.
Letters
Happy New Year Father Joy! Thank you so much. I am so grateful for your column at Kabayan. It energizes my Sunday and helps me cope with my work and difficulties. I hope and pray that someday, I would be able to attend mass. God Bless you Father. I am your avid reader. - Dannah
Jesus makes Christmas special for us so that we could make it special for others. Father Joy, you do exactly that. You are our Father Joy. Merry Christmas and may God continue to give you good health. We need you here in Taiwan. - Rey of Shulin
Father, merry Christmas! Could you please tell Jena, the one who wrote her father a letter, that she is very lucky for having a very good Dad. Unlike me, Jena still has the chance of being reunited with her father in the future.
Thank you very much Father. Kayo ang nagbibigay ng lakas loob sa akin kasama si Lord sa mga dumating na problema ko. Love you po Father. May God Bless you always.
I can see po kung papaano ninyo napapagaan ang buhay naming mga migrant dito. Thank you so much. We are truly bless for having you here. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.


Updated : 2021-04-21 11:11 GMT+08:00