The Voice of H.O.P.E
Second Sunday of Advent
We are all familiar with the expression, ‘Filipino time.’ What do we know about it? When we hear someone say the expression, ‘Filipino time’ it means something uncertain. When we set meetings with friends and colleagues, there are occasions when we meet earlier than the set time. There are also moments when we meet just in time. But unfortunately there are also times when some would simply send regrets that he/she cannot make it on time or even cannot make it to the meeting. In all of these situations, there is the sense of waiting for one another to come and meet. I wait for them to come. They also wait for me to come. It is in this same spirit that the season of Advent would like to convey: God and ourselves, wait for each other. We wait for God. God also waits for us. And in our waiting, we are to live out the virtue of hope that God will send persons in order to prepare us and make us ready when He comes. On this Sunday, we are given the person of John the Baptist who is considered as the ‘voice of one crying out in the desert.’ What was the message that John the Baptist proclaimed? “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”
The Lord will surely come. Unlike the uncertainty of ‘Filipino time’, God’s time is certain. We are sure that He will come, but when? We do not know. That was the message from the previous Sundays telling us about the certainty of Christ’s coming with the uncertainty of when exactly it will happen. The First Reading today encourages the people of Israel to “take off the robe of mourning and misery and put on the splendor of glory from God forever.” The Lord is delivering His people from the sadness of evil and injustice. This echoes as well in the Responsorial Psalm which says, The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” Do I see and acknowledge the Lord’s kindness in my everyday life? How am I being delivered and saved by the Lord in moments of difficulties and challenges in life?
Today’s Gospel presents to us the person of John the Baptist who invites the people then to listen to his voice of hope for the people. This invitation indeed calls us to hope amidst difficulties and challenges in life. This invitation allows us to wait for the Lord’s coming into our lives with much anticipation and longing. This is an attitude and a disposition that we should all have this Advent Season: we hope because we believe that God fulfills His promises to us and to His people. (‘Dili kita paasahon sa Ginoo. Niabot ni Siya, umaabot pa Siya, ug moabot Siya karon ilabina niining Santos nga Misa’). He really came for all of us thousands of years ago and He continues to come to us every day, and we look forward also for His coming in glory.
How can we make ourselves aware of the ‘advent’ (coming) of the Lord? By listening only to His voice. In our world today, there are lots of voices and noise that we hear around us. Many times they bring about news of violence, hatred, and many other negative messages. The Lord’s is a Good News, a message of hope and love. We are invited to listen to the voice of comfort and H.O.P.E. (Holiness, Optimism, Peace, Encouragement). The Lord calls all of us to (1) Holiness which is to share in His life and love forever. This starts even now here in our life on earth. Jesus Christ came down and was born for us in order to let us experience the Father’s love and mercy and also invites us to be with Him. The Lord’s message is that of (2) Optimism. His is a Good News which gives hope, warm our cold hearts, and resonate to everyone’s hearts. (3) Peace is one of the names that is attributed to God: ‘Prince of Peace.’ His vision for the world is that of peace, a good relationship (rapport) with God and with one another. This is also our prayer for our world today. The Lord’s message (4) Encourages us on to continue live our daily life to the full. We are not Christians who are minimalists, we render greater glory to God in everything that we do (‘ad maiorem Dei gloriam’). With these in mind, we ask ourselves, whose voice do I listen to? Is it the Lord’s voice of comfort and hope or that of the world? What is the quality of my listening? Is my voice like that of John the Baptist and the Lord who gives hope and is always a Good News to my brothers and sisters?
In this Holy Eucharist we ask God to open our ears to listen only to His voice in order to let it echo to our brothers and sisters especially those in need. This Season of Advent, let us continue to place our hope and live in H.O.P.E. (Holiness, Optimism, Peace, and Encouragement) in Him who really came for all of us. As we receive Him in Holy Communion, let us renew that hope in us as we live our lives everyday.
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