Loving the Child Jesus in the children today
Feast of the Sto. Niño, Year B (John 1:35-42)
January 21, 2018
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
CHILDREN are lovable. All of them, not just the small babies or the cute, the healthy, the bright ones, but also the handicapped, the malnourished, and the naughty ones . . . In their eyes full of light, wonder and innocence, there is an almost irresistible fascination which arouses in every normal human being (and even in animals) feelings of tenderness and care. Each boy or girl is, for most of us, a reminder of an irretrievable world of dreams and hopes.
All children need to be loved. Many, however, far too many, are not loved in the right manner. Some receive too much and become “spoiled brats.” Thus, some of them are groomed to be the tyrants of tomorrow. Others receive too little—much less than they need for their physical, intellectual, and psychological development. Their lives are shortened (in some cases, reduced to a few years), their faces ploughed by the deep furrows of neglect, deprivation, and the unconscious feeling of not being loved as they should be . . .
Other children—most of them recruited from the previous immense crowd—are used, destroyed by the irresponsibility of those adults who enjoy immolating ever fresh victims to the gods of lust and carnal pleasure.
Still others—ever more—are not even allowed to see the light of day, butchered as they are in the very wombs of their mothers, victims of shame or greed . . . !
We see this happen every day, for decades now, even in this country of ours, the Philippines, the land of beautiful children, the land of the Sto. Niño! Words are unable to express the horror which child malnutrition, exploitation, prostitution, arouse in us . . . in God, more than in us! There is something devilish in all this. An end has to be put to such an infamy, for the sake of the whole nation . . . in the name of the Holy Child of Nazareth.
Jesus loved children. In the brightness of their eyes, he saw mirrored the freshness and holiness of the Kingdom. He showed his love for the children of his time. (See today’s Gospel.) He expects that we show the same concrete love for the children of our time. Our devotion to the Sto. Niño must not stop at the family altars, nor at carrying his image wherever we go. It must find its way into practical concern for the millions of children in this country who are the most defenseless victims of the indifference, greed and lust of too many who are a disgrace to the nation and humankind. We, the nation especially loved by the Child Jesus, are to set an example to all mankind. Let this be our new gift to the world—handog ng Pilipino sa mundo.