05 January 2007


Friday in the 2nd Week of Christmas
Jn 1:43-51

In the Philippines, most people tend to ask where you are from. After inquiring about your name, their next question is about your geographical origin. They seem to need to register people on a particular place before registering them in their memory. This may be helpful, but, unfortunately, some people tend to judge you also on the basis of where you are from.

Filipinos seem to classify fellow Filipinos according to their province of origin. Take for example, if a person comes from the Ilocos region, he is said to be frugal. If a person hails from Iloilo, he is “malambing” (“sweet”). If a person lives in Tondo, people tend to be cautious about him because Tondo used to be known for many years as a haven of gangsters. People who come from Pampanga are said to be the best chefs wile those who hail from Capiz are teased to be “aswang” (“creatures of the other world”).

Jesus seems to be not exempted from this kind of experience. He is from Nazareth. And Nazareth does not enjoy a good reputations, it seems. When Philip told Nathaniel that he found the Messiah, the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and said that He is from Nazareth, Nathaniel immediately replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Jesus is judged today on the basis of His geographical roots.

But Nathaniel is in for a big surprise because Jesus is the best to come from Nazareth. Later on, Nathaniel also becomes an apostle of Jesus and comes to be known as Bartholomew.

Is not grace like that? Just when we think there is nothing good to come out of something, the best suddenly happens. Just when we consider something or someone to be good for nothing, that thing or person actually is a great blessing. Then at hindsight, we name that good-for-nothing thing, person, or event as a blessing-in-disguise.

Graces are God’s surprises. People who always go by the logic and technique miss a lot of graces. People who are hate being surprised and so are frightened by the unfamiliar fail to welcome and receive many blessings from the God who love surprises, who love graces.

The birth of Jesus, as well as His whole life and His resurrection, is God’s protest to a world tired of the familiar that says, “There is nothing new under the sun. I have seen it all. There is nothing good to come out of it.” Jesus Himself is Grace-personified. He is God’s surprise from Nazareth. Just when we are tempted to think that God loves us less or loves us no more due to our sins and blunders in life, think again. Jesus of Nazareth surprises us with the truth that God loves us more than we know.

God is surprising you today. Are you surprised?


At 2:59 PM , Anonymous Bubut said...

Lord God, your gift of the Holy Eucharist is such a big grace and at the same time a source of surprises from you. We feel that you are talking to us thru your Word and you see what is inside us. May we be able to realize that the blessings/graces we receive are from you and not as blessings in disguise.

God bless po.


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