September 25, 2023

God is a God of happy surprises. It is always beneficial to smile. Getting angry sometimes is necessary but smiling over bloopers and difficult situations can change people’s mood to positivity. No wonder, Pope Francis said, “Smile is a sign of hope.”
The third Sunday of Advent is dubbed as “Gaudete” Sunday. The word comes from the Italian or Latin infinitive word, “gaudare,”which means to rejoice. Hence, “gaudete” means “You rejoice!” Let us welcome Christmas with smiles and a lot of holy humor to cause healthy laughter. We await the “comings” of Jesus with vigilance but with joy.
Advent means coming. The church catechism provides us a two-fold coming: Jesus came already. That is why we have Christmas to simply mean, the Nativity or the Incarnation of the Word, and Jesus will come again in glory and majesty. The challenge is, nobody knows when. Jesus will come again and that is certain. He will come to judge the living and the dead as a judge and as a king.
Like earthly death, it is reality that will happen to all. Nobody is exempted but the problem is, nobody knows when. It is inevitable. It is a painful reality but an event that leads to another life that faith can face. It is a mystery. Since it is a mystery, our human powers can never explain fully. As the dictum says, “Where science ends, faith begins.” We are gifted with faith in order to face the mystery. There are many things and events that we cannot grasp and explain but God gifted us with faith to face them.
Human weakness will tell us that we cannot comprehend but faith tells us to go on living a healthy life but above all, entrusting everything to God. We cling more to God who knows everything. In effect, we live a holy life that will prepare us to welcome Jesus joyfully.
Advent means coming. It is unexpected but we must be overcome by joy and not by fear while waiting.
Advent must connote a happy surprise for all, not a sad one. Advent must impel us to be vigilant to mean, we must be watchful, prepared, ready, and happy.
Advent is coming. Jesus came in history. He will come again in glory and majesty. But He comes to us in mystery.
Mystery can mean the things and events that human powers cannot grasp and explain but mystery can also mean the coming of Jesus to us in the here and now through the sacraments. I underline then advent as the coming of Jesus in mystery to mean our encounters and experiences with Him in the here and now. The most beautiful encounter with Jesus is in the sacraments. We have seven sacraments. These are concrete signs of Jesus’ presence to us and our regular reception will make us ever ready to meet Him when He comes in majesty and glory. Jesus comes to us in the daily events of life and persons. Hence, kindness is the best attitude to live.
On Dec. 29, a Marcsongs Christmas concert will be staged at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church inAguid, Sagada, Mountain Province. I see the need to do major repairs at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Barangay Aguid.
I sense that beautiful churches especially in the hinterlands have strong and deep impact on the spirituality of the people. Therefore, I strongly believe that a beautiful church will help the Aguid people to strengthen their faith and to boost their confidence.
I dream with the parishioners to realize a beautiful church at the heart of the barangay. We envision a beautiful church building that can radiate its arts and beauty to influence people, especially the children to long for Jesus. Church buildings are signs of faith in a community. A church is a symbol that there is a Christian community. A rusting church maybe a sign of rusting faith and complacent people. We must rebuild the church.
The church in Aguid was built in 2003 through the initiative of some brave Catholics in the community with Fr. Vicente “Bong” Bongabong. It was confronted with unwelcoming gestures from people but it braved the storms and the hostilities. Catherine Kibatay and her family did noble contributions in the building of the Catholic community and the church building.
However, it is sad that Barangay Aguid is being labeled as community of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
In effect, there is a stereotyping that puts down the confidence of the community. The forum on Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict held in Aguid is a testimony that there are no NPA rebels in the community. But, obviously, NPA rebels visit the place. It is our strong prayer, hope, and my unending plea for the NPA to refrain from visiting Aguid. Allow peace to shine and radiate in the community. Give Aguid your best Christmas gift by not disturbing them and by not visiting them anymore.
Insurgency is affecting the peace in the community. For two years now, being immersed with the grassroots, the presence of NPAs did not do any good to the community.
The NPA rebels are staining the reputation not only the municipality of Sagada but also the entire Mountain Province. The presence of NPA destroys the image of a peaceful Sagada and a peaceful Mountain Province.
Sadanga, Mountain Province deserves commendation for making its communities insurgency-free. If Sadanga communities were able to do it, Sagada can do it too.
I reiterate, peace is the face of God in the communities and peace is the highest form of development.
The Marcsongs Christmas Concert for Aguid also aims to boost the confidence of the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) and to at least change the bad impression on Aguid. The BEC of Aguid is preparing its presentation and will happily acknowledge all your support during the concert.
The BEC of Aguid will be blessed this Christmas when we will share our blessings. It is our hope that in 2020, we can start the major work and in a year, the project will be completed. We know that as a BEC we cannot do it alone. We know that with your generosity, we will beat our plans and dates. May we invite you then to become one of our sponsors.
On behalf of Aguid BEC, I thank you for the precious Christmas gift, your sponsorship.
Gaudete! The biblical saying goes, “When you receive something as a gift then give it as a gift.” If we do, there is joy. There is peace. You rejoice. Let us celebrate Christmas rejoicing. Reach me at [email protected] or at 0905-165-3669.