May 20, 2024

The second advent candle was lighted by children in the Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) of Sagada, Mountain Province. It was lovely to see the children getting involved in the liturgical traditions despite the ignorance. The innocent active participation incites healthy curiosity in the process of faith maturity.
It was a discovery that many of the BECs in Sagada were not aware of the advent wreath and the different liturgical seasons like Advent.
The second Sunday of Advent was a beautiful day of pondering on three topics that we tried to develop namely, prophecy, promise, and preparation.
Prophecy is commonly understood as foretelling or simply prediction. Sages of not long ago had been predicting that the world will, like year 2000 will be the end of the world. The year 2000 passed and the world still revolves. We are still very alive. False prophesies exist. It is a blessing in disguise though that we have false prophets to shake us, wake us up, and to disturb us. One problem for false prophets is untruthfulness.
We have true prophets in the olden times like Prophet Isaiah who prophesied. “A voice cries out: In the desert prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God. The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)
In the gospel of Mark 1:1-8, it narrates the prophesy of Isaiah fulfilled in John the Baptist. “John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.”
John the Baptist was the fulfillment of the prophesy and he lived out his mission as a messenger of God and as a prophet. The prophetic life of John was that of living the truth, standing for justice, and proclaiming the good news. As a prophet his life was threatened to death until he was murdered for the sake of truth.
John was not liked by evildoers and those who refused to be corrected. They plotted on his death because the evildoers want their evil desires to thrive. A prophet is somebody tasked to speak the truth, condemn the evil, and to correct the wrong. If we refuse corrections, the next thing we can do is to assassinate the prophet. It obviously happened to John.
Government and church leaders lead. But they can differ in one obvious aspect, that of prophetic life. Leaders are public servants. The difference of the priest and the politician is prophetic leadership.
Nowadays, it is rare to have government officials with prophetic life. I once asked a politician, “Why are you tolerating public scandals and keeping silent about it?” He honestly said, “They might not vote for me in the next election if I will correct and reprimand them.”
If only politicians will live a prophetic life, then maybe the church will stop meddling with government affairs.
We criticize government officials for their irregularities. It is not wrong to do that but maybe we can help them better by voting wisely and honestly in the elections.
It is my prayer that the coming election will be wiser and more honest. We open the eyes and conscience of electorates to elect government leaders with prophetic life. The social concern on social justice will be given a good light if indeed electorates will be wiser and more honest. Prophetic life in government service will mean good governance and advancement of peace in the communities.
Like John the Baptist, let us not fear the threat of man for the sake of God, justice, and truth for at the end it will be God who will crown good deeds and not man. We observe Advent season with the teachings of John the Baptist, his prophetic life, his humility and his honesty.
Let us be vigilant at all times because we will never know the day and the hour. Vigilance is the attitude of a responsible person, joy is the face, and charity is the action.
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