Misa de Gallo. Rooster’s Mass. Simbang Gabi.
I am certain most of us Filipinos are aware of this set of nine early morning masses. A tradition not only known for the bibingka, puto bungbong, salabat, and the cool Christmas breeze, but also for that one thing you get when you complete all nine of them — a wish granted.
Maybe it is also the idea that Santa can give us our heart’s desires made him famous. That is, if we make it to his list. Don’t we love to have anything we do not yet have? Getting up early to check if the boxes underneath the Christmas tree hold what’s on our wishlist? As long as we don’t do anything bad to land on the “Naughty” list, we believe we’re okay. Again, it boils down to our efforts: what we do, our choices, and our works.
I’m not really sure where the idea of the granted wish came from. Maybe it was formulated to get people to complete the masses. But do we really need something like that just to get people attending? It saddens my heart to think this might be true.
I was guilty of being someone who attends just to get that wish. I was being there for the attendance, like in classes when you’re present but your mind wanders and becomes oblivious of the lesson. I also get frustrated over missing a single mass because my chance of a wish is blown, and then I won’t attend the rest of the series anymore. It scares me that these may be true for other people too. Although I’m not accusing that everyone who attends shares the same sentiment as I had before, nor am I discouraging anyone in attending, I am challenging our intentions.
I pray that whatever we do — may it be attending the mass, decorating our homes, giving gifts, or exchanging cards — are not just to get into anybody’s “Nice” list. I pray it is not only when December comes or seeing the neighbor’s Christmas lights that we get into the Christmas spirit.
After all, it’s just a season and December 25 is just a date. What matters most is the truth that the Word became Flesh and He gave His only begotten Son to take on the sins of the world and die on the cross while we are still sinners. It was never about our works, never about us. It has always been about Him and I pray that it will always be.
May the things we do not be for something we don’t have, but as a result of something we already have. That’s what makes it so much greater, because He chose to give. He chose to save. We don’t deserve it, we didn’t work for it, and we didn’t earn it, but it was given to us.
Do we really believe that God only wants to give us one wish? Well, He is always much too generous for that.