Bless the Children


The Philippines, unique in all of Christendom, celebrates today the Feast of the Holy Infant. We as a people have always had a lively devotion to the Santo Nino since Magellan gifted the wife of Rajah Humabon with an image of the Infant Jesus. Our faith as a people has often been childlike in it simplicity and tenacity; as it has sometimes been been also described as childish in its shallowness and fatalistic resignation to one’s lot in life. During the month of January, many place in the Philippines celebrate the feast of the Santo Nino with numerous mardi-gras-like festivities.

The Philippines is indeed the land of babies and children. Some social observers have commented on the young population of the country as a boon; others say it is a bane. The former say that the young and growing population of the country is an asset that will augur well for the country, citing the demographic winter that the rich and developed countries are now facing. The latter cite the lack of resources both on the part of the government and of poor families to provide a decent and healthy future for the indigent children.

The feast of the Holy Infant is a reminder for us to be both welcoming of all and any new human life – no matter the circumstances – and at the same time be seriously responsible when being instruments of new life coming into this world. Every time a child is born, God acts again in our world in a very special way. “Let the children come to me.” Jesus says. For children, more than adults do, know how to go to God’s presence.

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.
He said to them, “Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child will never enter it.”
And he took the children in his arms,
placed his hands on them and blessed them.
Mark 10:13-16

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