Thursday, December 19, 2013

Misa de Aguinaldo December 17, 2013: Behind every name is a story

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

Typhoon Yolanda did not only destroy properties. It also took lives. Officially, the body count has already reached the 6,000 mark and bodies are hurriedly buried in mass graves. What may seem to be merely numbers in statistics to many are actually human beings, each with a name and a distinct history.  Oftentimes, we forget that human beings are persons, each of them with his own unique and unrepeatable history.
As we listen to the genealogy of the Lord Jesus, we usually fall into the same temptation of failing to see beyond the list of names of people. To us, these are mere names of faceless people we do not even know. And so, we forget that what we have just made was to travel through thousands of years of human history. Many forget that each name mentioned is a story of a lifetime. Each of us here is a unique story which makes a contribution to the wonderful story of humanity. When we make a survey of the social networks, we realize that every picture posted has a story behind it. And these stories are intertwined. It takes a little faith to recognize the Divine hand that sews all the stories together.

And so we look at names. We look at the stories behind the names. When we make an effort to recognize the thread that connects all the events to one another, we discover that the thread is none other than Jesus himself. The life of each person in this genealogy led humankind closer to Christ. Abraham and his sons, David and his clan, the generations of the post Babylonian exiles - all of them contributed to humanity’s journey toward Jesus the Redeemer. Each story was a movement of history towards the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation to all humanity.

The genealogy of the Lord Jesus tells us that salvation did not happen at the snap of the hand of God. The genealogy is a beautiful story of real people who may have not been aware of the fact that they were part of the preparations which the Father made for the Incarnation of his only begotten Son. The House which the Father is building for His Son, the Kingdom which He is establishing in His Son, is made up of living stones. The ancestors of Jesus are these living stones. You and I are also these living stones built on top of each other. We are all being built up into a spiritual edifice. How wonderful is it to know that our stories are intertwined. How wonderful is it to know that my life and yours are intertwined with that of the life of Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God.

“The salvation which God has wrought, and the Church joyfully proclaims, is for everyone. God has found a way to unite himself to every human being in every age. He has chosen to call them together as a people and not as isolated individuals. No one is saved by himself or herself, individually, or by his or her own efforts. God attracts us by taking into account the complex interweaving of personal relationships entailed in the life of a human community.” (Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 113.)

God has found a way to unite himself to every human being in every age. We look at history and we look at our own stories and we realize that God is gathering all of us in His Son. He is reconciling all of humanity together to himself through the death and the resurrection of His Son. May we never see our lives as unconnected to each other. May we see our stories as part of that one great story of how God gathers all people into his Son. Jesus said, “When I am lifted up, I will gather all people to myself.”

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee

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