The Christmas season just ended last Sunday with the Solemnity of the Baptism of our Lord Jesus, but the Christmas spirit still lives in my heart. Maybe one of the reasons for these “Christmas feels” is our Filipino culture. Here in the Philippines, as early as September, we can already hear Christmas songs in the malls and see Christmas decorations around. These decorations mostly remain until Valentine’s Day or when the season of lent starts. That just shows how joyful Filipinos are.
This Christmas was quite different for all of us because of the pandemic. There were no children caroling door to door, no Christmas parties, and no kids and elderly allowed at Simbang Gabi (nine-day masses or novena leading to Christmas). Thankfully, for me, this Christmas was extra special because of an apostolate I did for the first time.
I felt inspired to raise funds to provide 1,000 pesos worth of food and basic necessities for 10 families. Before I decided to do this apostolate, I had a lot of doubts in my mind about the possibility of raising funds. I am a missionary, and my allowance is just enough for me to live a simple life, so I doubted my capability to reach the amount needed. With the pandemic, knowing that everyone is affected, I thought there might not be many people willing to help. Lastly, because of the restrictions, I couldn’t go and meet people personally, diminishing other possible ways of raising funds.
All these doubts and fears vanished when I turned my eyes to Jesus. It was during my silent prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in a small chapel that all of my worries turned into inspirations. God provided me with ideas and ways to do it. And when I started to raise the amount needed by selling rosaries online to my friends, I felt the great providence of our Lord. God sent people to help. I can’t thank them one by one here, but they know who they are, and I know that God has seen them and is pleased with what they did.
As it turned out, God’s plan is much greater than my plans. We were able to give 1,500 pesos worth of goods to 12 families and put a smile on 100 kids during Christmas by giving them some snacks. While writing this, I remembered the miracle of a little boy’s lunch in the Gospel of St. John 6:9. “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” No matter how little he shared, God still used the generosity of this little boy to make a miracle to feed 5,000 men at that time. Through this apostolate, I saw the generosity of the people who shared what they have for others. May we continue to give even a little of what we have, not because it’s Christmas, but rather because Christ is present in our hearts.
This post was written by Jasper Salomeo. Jasper has been a Pure Heart missionary since 2020.