While “waiting” for super typhoon Ruby, some of our kababayans said over social networks that they feel a sort of “eerie silence”, “something weird”. Indeed I can imagine that. Living in a country in which storms and natural disasters are frequent occurrences, the anxieties associated with these types of uncertainties are bound to be limitless, if not, sometimes bounding on insanity. When the waiting is for something awfully bad, the waiting is not one of eager anticipation, but one of anxiety and worry.
Waiting for the Lord’s coming is something different though. This weekend we’re on the Second Sunday of Advent, when the second candle — called the candle of Bethlehem — is lit. The theme is one of hope, preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus while commemorating His forthcoming birth. Hope, according to the Holy Book, has two meanings: the first, “tiqvah”, is eager anticipation or waiting; the second, “elpis”, is confident expectation based on certainty. Biblical hope is anchored on God’s faithfulness to His promises. God is never short on His promises, in fact He always overdelivers.
During this season, Holy Mother Church exhorts us to prepare ourselves worthily for the Coming of Jesus. We have to cleanse ourselves spiritually, in order to make our hearts fit and ready to receive our Savior. We can achieve this by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receiving Our Lord through Holy Communion, being in a state of grace, and doing charitable acts to the least of our brothers and sisters. This is providential, as by this time, the effects of the typhoon will have been felt already. Yahweh God speaks timely through the Prophet Isaiah “Comfort, give comfort to my people!” (Is. 40: 1). The order is being given for us to give and share what we have to the poor and the needy.
For us, Advent is a reminder of the real reason for Christ’s coming: Emmanuel, God is with us! Meaning He came to be with us, to hear our sorrows, to console, to guide and strengthen us in our trials and challenges. Jesus said in the Gospel, “Without cost you have received, without cost you are to give” (Mt. 10: 8). Thus, as Christ’s disciples, we are tasked to share, give and offer what we can to others. Aside from sharing, St. John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. This event was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah,
“A voice cries out: in the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God!” (Is. 40: 3).
Advent calls us to reflect on the Lord’s birth. Let us consider the gift of God’s love more priceless than products: giving of one’s self, the practice of being present to our God, to our families and to whom the Lord will allow us to meet. God loves us like there’s no one else left in this world to love. Such great love! Surely the best way to prepare for Jesus birth is to share ourselves with others, that we may be able to reflect Jesus love for them through us! As authentic and true Christians, let us then not take Christ out of Christmas!
Each of us is a part of a human community empowered to take care for and heal the earth. That is not a career job that you choose; it is a fact. Period. (Fr. A)