Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 06 December 2019
Advent and Lent are two beautiful seasons in our Church calendar that prepare us for the great feasts of Christmas and Easter, respectively. Both have violet as motif though Advent is supposed to have a more bluish hue to distinguish it from Lent’s penitential character.
They both invite us to “look forward” into that future glory of Jesus Christ when he comes again at the end of time to establish “new heaven and new earth” where peace would finally reign, removing all sufferings and pains, wiping away all our tears to fill us with perfect joy.
On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.Isaiah 29:18-19
Advent is renewed relationships
More than the promise of a new order of things in the Second Coming of Christ, Advent invites us also to look forward into renewed relationships with God through others.
Jesus Christ comes first in our hearts, his new manger. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten Jesus, remembering only his birthday and its trimmings. Fanned by social media, people are going crazy as early as August with their own Christmas countdown with those memes of Jose Mari Chan poised to sing his popular “Christmas in Our hearts”, forgetting its beautiful message of opening our hearts to Jesus through one another.
How sad that more than ever, people are so excited with Christmas for the wrong reasons like gifts and money, parties and vacations but not Jesus himself.
Advent invites us to “actively wait” Christ’s coming by renewing our relationships with our family and friends in every here and now of our daily living.
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes… and their eyes were opened.Matthew 9:27-29, 30
Need to remove our “blindness”
Advent is a season to remove our blindness to Jesus present in us and in every person we meet. Our gospel today tells us a short story of Christ’s healing of two blind men with a twist of humor.
According to St. Matthew, the two blind men kept following Jesus after teaching a crowd, begging him to restore their sight.
How they were able to follow Jesus, your guess is as wild as mine… but, most funny is how they followed Jesus home to finally heal them!
Go figure it out. How did it happen if both men were blind, following Jesus every step of the way into his home?
But they both teach us a valuable lesson not only for this Advent but for everyday living: of the need to remove our blindness so we may see Christ coming to us day in, day out.
How sad when most of us have eyes but cannot see or even refuse to see Jesus Christ coming to us personally and among other people especially our family and friends, among the ordinary and usual people we meet everyday in our lives.
Last Tuesday amid heavy rains and winds of Supertyphoon “Tisoy”, two elderly couples in the parish requested for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.
After hearing their confessions, anointing them with Oil, and giving them the Holy Communion, I decided to stay longer when I found out they live by themselves despite having six children living in the vicinity with their many apos!
Making things worst for the couple are the two children living abroad: one in the States have totally cut ties with them without any communication in 15 years while the other living Down Under refusing to help them in their medical needs.
The way we live and what we hope
I have been told the elderly couple I have visited were not really that “good parents” and neighbors as well. But, I explained to everyone after my visitation that is not important, nor the issue at hand.
What matters most is who would take care or look after these two elderly people, an arthritic father and a mother stricken with stroke? Must we allow ourselves to be blinded by past sins and hurts and pains that we fail to see Christ coming in the present?
Yes, this is easier said than done but, in this life, we only have two choices to make, either we become better or bitter. Make the right and better choice always!
Last Sunday I told my congregation that the way we live dictates our hope.
Those who strive in life to do what is good, to become better in whatever form are those who truly hope. And truly love because they believe in the future, they look forward to something better if not in this life, maybe after.
But those who do nothing in this life, those who feel resigned, “enjoying” their miseries in life are the ones who do not hope. And surely do not love at all for they see only death and destruction, nothing to look forward to. They do not mind hurting even killing others because they believe there is no future at all.
Indeed, as TIME Magazine’s Lance Morrow wrote in 1991, the opposite of love is not really evil but hopelessness. Very true.
As we end this first week of Advent moving closer to Christmas, let us pray for the grace of Jesus Christ to heal us of our many blindness in life so we may see him anew in us and in others too. A blessed weekend to you!