Simbang Gabi: The First day

John 5:33-36

33. You sent to John, and he gave testimony to the truth. 34. But I receive not testimony from man; but these things I say that you may be saved. 35. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a time you were willing to amuse yourselves in his light. 36. But I have greater testimony than that of John; for the works which my Father gave me to perform, the very works which I do, testify concerning me that the Father hath sent me.

 

Friday. 16th day of December. Today is the start of “Simbang Gabi”. It is a nine day novena for the preparation of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. As one of the longest and most popular Filipino Traditions, Simbang Gabi has been patronized by most of the Catholics in the country.

 

At three o’clock in the morning, I was able to prepare myself for the said event. For the past years, I was able to start the tradition but failed to complete the nine day celebration. In short, not once did I ever complete such thing.

 

I can say that this year, I have spent my first day of Simbang Gabi differently. Unlike the other years, today I have attended the mass in one of the churches inManila, theMostHolyTrinityChurchsomewhere in Sampaloc.

 

Arriving at the said church, I was able to hear the mass with the homily of the assigned priest. The homily was a wake up call for everybody and I can say it really contains a thought. This is what it says:

 

There was once a balloon vendor. He sells colorful balloons. In order to attract the consumers, he picks one balloon at a time and release in it in the mid-air, because the balloon contains helium inside, the balloon eventually flies. He succeeded in doing so for it attracts the consumers. His sales increase and his salary grows. One day, the balloon vendor was surprised to see a little boy pulling his jacket. He asked the boy what he wants and the little boy asks, “If you picked that black balloon, will it also fly?” The balloon vendor replied, “My son, it is not the color of the balloon that makes it fly. It is what’s inside it that makes it go up.”

 

I was struck by the story and came to realize that it truly is what’s inside the heart of the human that really matters. In the end, the names we have, the success, the power or even the prestigious awards we have will not be counted in heaven. What we need is a heart ready to know the truth, ready to accept and understand and most of all a heart that is prepared for the coming of Christ.

 

The true essence of having “Simbang Gabi” is to be prepared for the coming of our Lord and while we have spent so much time and effort to complete the nine days, let us remember that in due time, we will be blessed for giving such time with Christ, our Saviour.

 

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