On Influencers

In this age of Netflix and social media, many look for role models and heroes in various Internet platforms. These influencers are those who drive behavior, consumption, and buying. The way they think and act are powerful means of communication that big business have been looking at them to promote their brands and products. They receive huge amount of money for endorsements and advertising campaigns. Their words and actions sway their followers and the public in general. One fine example is BTS, also known as the “Bangtan Boys”, a seven-member South Korean boy band formed in 2010 and debuted in 2013. They’ve won so many citations, rising to many first time awards in the history of Asian and non-English speaking music acts. They were cited by Time Magazine as the “Next Generation Leaders”, “Princes of Pop” (Time Magazine) one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet (2017–2019) and the 100 most influential people in the world (2019). More importantly, they have become partners of UNICEF to establish the “Love Myself” anti-violence campaign; addressed the United Nations 73rd and 75th General Assemblies, among others.

In the Gospel today (Mk. 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48), Jesus said, 

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

The Lord is teaching us to be cautious of who we model our lives after as they may cause us to sin and drive us away from grace and intimacy with Christ. We cannot deviate and get distracted in our relationship with Jesus, therefore we have to exercise control and discretion of our actions and thoughts. 

Influencers have serious responsibilities to those who watch, follow and imitate them. In a way, we are also influencers to our family, loved ones, neighbors, peers and workmates. Everything we do have its influence on their thoughts and actions that is why we have to ensure we are mindful of everything that we put in our minds and hearts. 

Aside from our examples to others, as a way of affirmation, we should appreciate and encourage them to continue their worthy behaviors and actions. Fr. Armand Robleza, SDB emphasized this in his homily today, 

“Appreciation is the big enabler of life. When you appreciate a person, you will discover that he will continue doing the good thing that you pointed out. Doing good becomes a habit. That person becomes a good person. Appreciation multiplies the good in this world.” 

“If we are stingy with our appreciation (when we wait until the person dies before we tell the beautiful things about him), people lose their passion for life. They become timid, they become cautious then they lose the enthusiasm for life. They lose the joy about what they are doing. In the end, goodness stops. You watch out what happens. You will have problems and issues cropping around like mushrooms. Who among us wouldn’t want to be appreciated?” 

“Appreciation builds families. Appreciation builds relationships. And this is the attitude of Jesus.” 

“Let us not be stingy with appreciation. We don’t realize it, many times, especially we Filipinos who are shy, we find difficult to say the good things about people. But nowadays, we need it very much. You know it is only when you start to see what is good and beautiful, it is only when you find the blessing in the pain and the cross that you are carrying, only then shall we find the presence of God in our lives.”

My family is a huge fan of BTS, and I’m closely following how they align with our values and principles as followers of Christ. So far, they’ve been remarkable in their humility, work ethic, and God-given talents. To this day, they’ve continued to inspire others with their fine examples. May they continue to do so.

How about you, have you selected properly your models? 

Do you make sure your actions reflect Christian morals and principles as a devote follower of Christ? 

Do you express and articulate appreciation for the goodness that others do? 

Your word, O Lord, is truthconsecrate us in the truth.” Jn 17:17b, 17a 

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