Homily for the Feast of the Santo Ni?o?? (St.Ignatius Kojimachi Church)
16 January 2011、(Second Sunday in ordinary time)
at St.Ignatius Kojimachi Church
First reading: Is.9:1-6
Second Reading: Eph1:3-6, 15-18
Gospel: Mt.18:1-5, 10
Dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, especially our Filipino brothers and sisters!
Today we celebrate together the Feast of the Santo Niño.
I have just read the article by Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP, on the first page of the pamphlet which was sent to me beforehand.
Fr. Guzman said in his article,
The “Sto. Niño” or the “Niño Jesus” invites us to ask ourselves:
‘What can we do for the small people, the nobodies, those who are so easily put aside?’
This question inspires me with a good suggestion about how we can work together with you Filipino people for a more effective evangelization of Japan.
As the letter to the Ephesians says, we are called to become adopted children of Almighty God through Jesus Christ, who has conquered all sins and evils by his Cross and his Resurrection. Therefore we can hope to be endowed with all the graces and glory which the Lord Jesus Christ gives us through the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit came down on him from heaven like a dove and rested on him.
We believe that Jesus is Christ; He is full of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Christ’s own Spirit and Christ gives his own Spirit to everyone who desires to receive the Holy Spirit.
We, members of the Church of Japan, have been given the mission to be witnesses of Jesus Christ; we represent Christ here in Japan. Like the Servant of the Lord in Isaiah, we are called upon to become lights that shine with hope for Japanese Society.
There is much darkness in present day Japanese society. For example, every year more than 30,000 people take their own lives. This high rate of suicides has continued for the past 13 years. So many suicides tell us that many Japanese are lonely and desperate. Japanese people used to be supported by the following three relationships.
1. Blood-based relationship (Ketsu-en)
2. Territory-based relationship （Chi-en）
3. Company-based relationship (Sha-en)
But now all three of these relationships have been weakened, dissolved or destroyed. In contrast to the Japanese, you Filipinos have very warm and cordial relationships among yourselves. The basis for such harmonious relations comes from your faith in God. Your faith teaches you to rely on God. Faith gives you a very optimistic view of the world and a way of life that is cheerful.
We, the Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo, hope to create within Japan a large faith-filled family for God. This family of God will have strong individual family and community relationships, relationships that are motivated by faith and express God’s love for all of his people. In order to realize this mission of our Church, we need very much your help and guidance.
According to the first reading of today’s mass, the Prophet Isaiah encourages us to realize “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” We pray that the people dwelling in Japan may see the very same light that Isaiah described.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says: “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me.” May we too receive every poor and humble brother as if he were our Lord Jesus himself.
Now I will conclude my homily with a prayer. This is the prayer which I sent as a New Year’s greeting card to my friends. It is Reinhold Niebuhr’s well-known Serenity Prayer. If we work with Jesus to bring God’s light and love to Japan we need and we will achieve serenity
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.