Prepare the Way of the Lord

Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD / December 6, 2020 / 2nd Sunday of Advent

A soldier and his wife were preparing for the baptismal party of their baby girl when the chaplain arrived for the Baptism.

Taking the father aside, the priest asked, “Are you prepared spiritually for this religious event?”

“Well, I don’t know, Father,” said the soldier thoughtfully. “But would two bottles of whiskey, two cases of beer be enough?” (Those are different spirits!).

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The chaplain was telling the soldier that the sacrament of Baptism is not just a party but a religious affair.
That applies also to the festivities on Christmas. While it is true that we use to celebrate the birth of the Lord with eating, drinking, and merry making, we should not forget that Christmas is, first and foremost, a religious event.

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This year, the material and external celebration will be very much limited and subdued due to the hard times and restrictions imposed on parties and celebrations.

Isn’t the Covid-19 pandemic telling us indirectly that our celebration should focus on the real religious and internal aspect of Christmas rather than the material, external and commercialized?

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In today’s second Sunday of Advent, the prophet Isaiah (first reading) and Christ’s forerunner John the Baptist talk about road building and repair: “Make the ground level,” “straighten the crooked ways,” “make the rough roads smooth” (Isaiah 40, 1-5; Mk 1,1).

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Both prophets are not concerned about road repairs (although their message is a timely reminder for our DPWH officials to fix our rough and potholed roads!). The prophets are conveying in typical Jewish metaphor the message that our morally crooked ways must be eradicated, the rough edges of our character be made smooth and warped attitudes straightened.

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Why must we “straighten our crooked ways”? Gunar Myrdal, renowned author of the voluminous book Asian Drama, says that one major drawback to economic progress of nations is attributed to their negativistic traits and values. In other words, it means where there are corrupt practices, political disunity, greed, economic progress is hindered.

Likewise, selfishness, insensitivity, infidelities and disrespect in families can cause so much sufferings and inflict deep emotional wounds.

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Here are some concrete ways of preparing the coming of Christ this Christmas. A good confession would be a concrete form of “straightening our crooked ways.” However, since the Sacrament of Confession during the coronavirus pandemic is not accessible, we could find ways of reaching out to those we’re not in talking terms with for months and years.

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Another way of preparation would be to attend the nine-day Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo which starts on December 16 capped by the Misa de Aguinaldo on December 25.

If you cannot do this, you may attend the dawn Mass through numerous online or live streaming or attend the evening Simbang Gabi.

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In the spirit of love which moved God to send His Son to save us, we can share our resources with numerous less fortunate as well as the victims of the successive devastating typhoons. Because of the corona virus threat, you can find ways and means, like channelling your donation through authorized government agencies and private sectors.

Our SVD Christ the King Seminary Community has collected some used clothes and thousands of new face masks and shields and distributed them. Surely, many others have done similar works of charity.

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If we do prepare ourselves internally and spiritually, then our Christmas will be more joyful, more merry, more meaningful because we are doing the right thing–celebrating what Christmas really means.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. I’ve never realized how bad the economy was until I spoke to Sta. Claus on his phone. During our chat, I asked: “How’s reindeer Rudolph?”

He said, “Delicious!”

* * *

If Sta. Claus were alive today, he’d think twice before scaling up into any chimney. Overweight, over forty, and carrying the load of a bulging tummy—Santa would be a candidate for heart attack.
Overweights, take note!

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Seeing a Crib, outside a big department store, someone remarked: “Look, they’re bringing back Christ to Christmas!”

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SHARE YOUR BLESSINGS WITH THE NEEDY AND GOD WILL BLESS YOU MORE. Help the needy seminarians we’re supporting under “Adopt A Seminarian” scholarship program and sick indigents like Joshel C., aged 7, in need of brain treatment due to a tricycle accident, and five-year-old leukemia patient, Aliison Genesis L. As a Christmas gift for these needy, share an amount for them.

For inquiry, e-mail me at: belsvd@gmail.com.

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FAMILY TV MASS–is aired on TV5 One Sport Channel 59, Free TV Ch. 41 at 6-7 a.m. Sunday and anytime at “MCFI SVD Media” Account on YouTube and Facebook Page. Priest presider: FR.LOUIE PUNZALAN, SVD.

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THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER.

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