El Señor Santo Niño, teken van Gods liefde
In Cebu op de Filippijnen was het groot feest op de derde zondag van het jaar, 19 januari. Miljoenen vierden daar het feest van de Santo Niño. Ook in Nederland deden de Filippino's mee.
Naar de katholieke Kerk van Weesp hadden velen hun beeldje van het Jezuskind meegenomen om het te laten zegenen en mee te nemen in de Sinulog, een dansende processie ter ere van het Kind Jezus aan we overvloedige zegen hebben gevraagd in het bijzonder voor de jongeren en de kinderen. Pit Señor!
Hieronder de homilie die ik bij deze gelegenheid heb gehouden
Dear brothers and sisters,
It is a joy for me to celebrate with you
this day of Sinulog,
the beautiful feast of the Santo Niño
on the third sunday of each year.
We feel united today
with the many, many pilgrims
who come to the Santo Niño Chapel
in the Basilica in Cebu
today on this feast and during the novena.
in Cebu, millions flock to the streets
to honour the Santo Niño
placing the Island and the entire Philippines
under His protection.
Today we want to join them spiritually.
I am glad to be able to celebrate
with you this memorable day.
The little statue of the Santo Niño,
is the oldest religious image
venerated in the Philippines.
This was the image that the Spanish explorer,
gave to Queen Juana
as a gift during the baptism of her
and her husband the King on April 14, 1521 .
The Santo Niño therefore marks the beginning
of the catholic faith being spread in the Philippines.
For that reason this day is a day of thanksgiving:
Thank you, little Lord Jesus,
that you have come into the lives of so many people
and that you pour into their hearts
your love and mercy,
that you, through baptism,
made them Your sons and daughters,
and that we are invited to have faith
and to trust in You.
We know that we all have to follow
the Lord Jesus in carrying our cross with Him.
We know how many people are suffering in this world
and we pray today in a special way
for all those people in the Philippines
who had to suffer so much from the super-typhoon
that struck the country.
The Lord doesnot keep away all suffering and crosses from us,
He didnot promise us a calm and peaceful journey
but He knows what we are able to bear
with His help and grace
and in the midst of trouble
we still may have faith
because we are forever protected and guided
by His loving Providence,
until we reach safely our final destination
and celebrate with Him in heaven.
A father and mother back home in the Philippines
gave their fourteen years old daughter
a beautiful white guitar.
for her birthday,
it was exactly the one
she always wanted to have
and this gift caused so much joy and gratefulness
in her heart.
But then the supertyphoon came.
The Father managed to put the guitar
in a higher part of the house
in the hope that it would not get lost.
But the house was completely destroyed
and the beautiful guitar was gone.
But two days later
the father all of a sudden saw the guitar again,
it had drifted against a wall.
Het took it and it was just allright,
just a bit wet, that was all,
it was unscathed.
For him this was a little sign of hope,
a message of trust
that God did not abandon him!
Even when we are in trouble, suffering,
the Lord gives us these little signs of hope,
we should see and notice them,
they are granted
to help us
inorder that we might not feel discouraged too much,
but keep hope and faith in our hearts.
Be aware of the little signs
God in His mercy gives to each of us.
These little signs are given to us
so that we may discern
the hand of the Lord
and the path He wants us to follow.
In todays gospel reading
we meet saint John the Baptist.
He did not know Jesus, he said.
At least he did not know who was the one,
sent by the Lord
to take away the sins of the world.
But a sign was given to John:
a dove coming down from heaven:
On whom the Spirit would remain,
that was the One
who would bapitze with the Holy Spirit
and free His people from the burden of their sins.
This too is what the Lord is doing to each of us:
little signs are given
so that we might be confident
that the Lord is with us,
although we experience suffering
and to help us to see more clearly
where He is.
A sign of consolation,
indeed is the santo Niño,
the little Lord Jesus,
for His people in the Pilippines and abroad.
Some years after Queen Juana was baptized
a very difficult situation arose:
violence, fighting, misunderstanding, war.
During these riots
forty-four years after the baptism of the Queen
a soldier found back
the image of the Santo Niño
in one of the burnt houses,
undamaged, completely perfect;
A small sign of God’s hidden presence and love
in a disastrous situation.
This miracle was in fact repeated
during the last World War.
A bomb fell inside the Basilica of Cebu
causing damage and casualties,
but again the Image was found
unscathed, undamaged again.
Often we are tempted to ask:
Why does this have to happen?
But the Lord answers
by presenting us with a little sign:
in this terrible situation,
I am there, I am with you,
I do not abandon you!
For four and half centuries now,
the Santo Niño continues to make wonders
in the lives of many Filipinos.
The little statue was brought to the Philippines
by the Spaniards,
but where did it come from,
where was it made?
Here there is the connection
to our part of the world,
to the Low Countries,
because according to the experts of art
the image was created most probably
in Mechelen, a city
just across the border in Flanders, in Belgium,
not far from her....
And that may be a little sign to each of us:
wherever you are,
even in the Netherlands,
the Lord is there with you.
May He bless you all
in this year 2014