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Priest: ‘If you can’t give gifts, give yourself’

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TACLOBAN City, Dec. 28, 2016 – The season of Christmas is not all about gifts but all about self-giving.

This was the message of Fr. Lito Maraya, rector of the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology in this city during his Christmas eve homily.

In this time when not everyone can afford to buy gifts for others, the priest urged the people to instead give themselves as a gift to others by doing good deeds.

“As the song says, ‘Take time to be kind to one and all.’ You take time to share your joy, your talent, your patience, your peace, your forgiveness, especially to those who hurt you; take time to share your friendship,” Maraya said.

“When we share our smile, our patience, our forgiveness, then Christ is truly with us,” he said.

He likewise emphasized the spirit of Christmas embodied by gift-giving, which he described as a Christian tradition.

“Why do we give gifts during Christmas? Is it because we are rich? Is it because we are generous? Probably but not to all. Is it because we are good persons? I believe, yes,” he asked.

He explained that in the nine days prior to Christmas, churchgoers had been hearing about Mary, Joseph, Zachariah, and Elizabeth who were filled with God once they received Jesus.

“If we have received Jesus we don’t need anything but to share what we have received,” he exhorted.

“We give gifts because it is presumed that we already have received the Lord, that is why the joy of Christmas is basically religious, spiritual, and not material,” he stressed.

“The joy of Christmas is in the Lord. And once we have received Christ then we have everything because he is the best gift we have received,” he added. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)


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