One of the traditions in our parish every Christmas Eve is the panunuluyan spearheaded annually by our youth ministry. This event is a traditional stage play re-enacting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging in Bethlehem as she was about to give birth. The play usually depicts Mary and Joseph’s struggle to be accepted into any house. The preparation for this play has always been very intensive. It requires conceptualizing, script writing, casting characters, conducting workshops, rehearsing, and creating backdrops and props, and our preparation would usually take more than a month.
One of the significant motives of this play is to tell the story of the birth of Jesus and to inspire others to open their hearts to become the manger for Jesus’ birth filling them with joy and humility. Although panunuluyan describes Joseph and Mary’s difficulty to get an inn, this tradition’s essence is to get ready for the Savior to enter our hearts and lives. In this manner, as youth organizers, we also prepare ourselves for this very important task by participating in our ministry’s Advent Recollection, where we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, thus preparing our hearts and minds for the season.
In the Gospel, John came preaching in the Judean wilderness. His message was two-fold. First, John called all people to repentance. Second, he was pointing people toward the coming of Jesus, whom he describes as more powerful and greater than him. As Christmas is fast approaching, the gospel reminds us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus and offer him the best space worthy of the King’s birth.
By: Adriane Gabito
John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist.
His food was locusts and wild honey.
At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers!
Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves,
‘We have Abraham as our father.’
For I tell you,
God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees.
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit
will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
I am baptizing you with water, for repentance,
but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I.
I am not worthy to carry his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in his hand.
He will clear his threshing floor
and gather his wheat into his barn,
but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”