On the second Sunday of Advent, Bishop Broderick Pabillo exhorted us to take away the hindrance that blocks Jesus' way: SIN.
He beautifully related it to the readings:
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Sin can be translated into these three Filipino words:
1. Pagmamalabis (Greed/Covetousness)
2. Pagkukulang (Shortcomings)
3. Liko-Liko (Crooked)
As written in Isaiah, we are to prepare the way for the Lord by:
1. Making straight in the desert a highway
2. Raising up every valley
3. Lowering down every mountain and hill
In other words, we make amends for our sins by:
1. Making straight our crooked ways (Ituwid ang mga liko-likong landas.)
2. Breaking down our walls of greed and possesiveness (Tibagin ang pagmamalabis.)
3. Making up for our shortcomings (Punuan ang mga pagkukulang).
We learn from John the Baptist three characteristics that would help us avoid sin:
1. Simplicity. His message was proclaimed not just through his voice but by the simple way that he lived. He was clothed in camel's hair and wore a leather garment around his waist. His food was locusts and honey. Simplicity is his lifestyle.
2. Truthfulness. He did not claim to be the Messiah even though he probably knew that had he claimed so, people would have believed him. He was already popular at that time and it would not have been so hard for him to convince his followers that he already was the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior, but he chose to tell the truth. He preached to the people saying, "After me comes one who is more powerful than I am."
3. Humility. While his ministry could have been his claim to fame, he did not give in to the temptation of loving the life under the spotlight. It was clear to him who he is and he humbly proclaimed, "I have baptized you with with water, but he (the one who comes after him) will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. As for me, I am not worthy to untie his sandal."
John the Baptist's simplicity, truthfulness, and humility made him the last great prophet (Matthew 11:11). His principle must also be our principle: "I must decrease, He (God) must increase."
And because that Sunday happened to be Couples for Christ's Worldwide Consecration to Mary and the Monday following that was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Bishop Pabillo ended his homily by noting that everything is grace and that just like Mary, though we may not understand fully yet or we may never understand at all, in faith we appreciate the workings of the Lord in our lives knowing fully that His plan is greater than ours and that He desires nothing but the best for us.
Let us pray for God's grace to be upon us and remain with us always. Amen. :)
|Photo Credit: Zazzle|