January 31, 2023

22The Lord said to Moses:23 “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them: This is how you should bless the Israelites: Say to them: 24The Lord bless you and keep you! 25The Lord let his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you! 26The Lord looks upon you kindly and give you peace! 27So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:22-27)
First, the right way to start the new year is with God’s blessings. We thank God. We praise Him with our songs, prayers, good works, better life, and best lifestyles. It is also inspirational to thank all the people who walked and journeyed with us as guides, mentors, animators, and above all as collaborators of justice to attain peace.
Second, we constantly live a righteous life to overcome self-righteousness. We don’t strive for a holy life in order to despise the rest. We strive for holiness to influence the rest to holiness, to rectify personal and social sins, and to bring people to God. We become active participants of the salvation of souls.
7Children let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
Third, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Day with the holy mass. We must make it a good habit to participate in the holy mass because it is our spiritual nourishment. If we are spiritually nourished, we are empowered to overcome the evils of the world. Pope Francis once said, “We can best celebrate Christmas with the mass.”
Fourth, let us turn our lives as blessings for others. Blessing comes in many ways and they come because we open our hearts for Jesus and we allow our lives as channels of God’s gifts for others especially to those in need.
Pope Francis in his Christmas homily reiterated, “Let us remember that it is not truly Christmas without the poor. Jesus was born poor, lived poor, and died poor; he did not so much talk about poverty as live it, to the very end, for our sake. From the manger to the cross, his love for us was always palpable, concrete. Do we visit him where he is to be found, namely in the poor mangers of our world? For that is where he is present.”
The Broken Guitar Project (BGP) and some generous friends visited Sitio Chapyusen, Can-eo in Bontoc, Mountain Province for Christmas gift giving on Jan. 2.
The walk took us two hours to reach the place due to the rain and slippery pathways. We started the Christmas program with the holy mass and the BGP sang very well. They gave joy, life, and solemnity to the liturgy and the community’s face radiated hope and life.
Clothes, stuff toys, and chocolates from Imelda Felwa and Jesus Castañeda; books and school supplies from Elmer and Michelle Magsino and family; bread from Virgie Manuel; candies from Stela Chumacog; and assorted groceries from the Castañeda family and Sagada Catholic Mission were shared to the community. The gentlemen of the village punctuated our Christmas carols with the beating of gongs and community dancing amidst the rain, cold, and the dark. It was a beautiful celebration of Christmas in the hinterlands. We all felt Jesus, especially among the innocent children.
Before we left Chapyusen, some parishioners brought us to a home where a sick family member was lying for healing prayer. Luis Masa-ew, Sr., 43, was diagnosed with metastatic anaplatic thyroid cancer and he underwent two major surgeries in July and December 2022. He was formerly a diligent carpenter and a responsible husband and father to 13 children, the first child at the age of 21 and the 13th child at seven months old.
Just in case you want to share your blessings to the Masa-ew family, you may reach Stela Chumacog at 0919-826-2222 and Michelle Magsino.
Reach me at [email protected].