The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Carlos S. Lariosa, SVD (CKMS, Quezon City)
Saturday 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Photo: Driveway of Sisters of the Pious Disciples of the Divine Master, Kinshasa, Congo
Way back in December 31, 1999, there was a popular and strong rumor that the world would be ending because Jesus is seen in many statues with one hand raised and two fingers up as a sign of peace to mean “two thousand” as the end of the world.
When I entered a chapel in the outskirt of the capital city of Accra in Ghana, West Africa, to celebrate New Year’s Eve Mass, I noticed a big pile of matches on one table, and another pile of candles on another. They wanted these piles to be blessed because they heard that at the end time, only the blessed candles and matches could light up. The theory of Y2K, they said, was that all chips and computer-run machines, including airplanes, would turn caput! Then chaos would follow.
During the mass, one can sense the feeling of imminent danger. Thirty minutes before midnight, they put out all the lights as everyone prayed in silence. At the stroke of midnight, someone intoned a song, and all picked up the tempo, which became louder until all stood up to sing and dance. It was a wonderful turn of events that was full of gratitude and joy. It was indeed a grand and joyful welcome to the New Year!
In the beginning, I felt that fear of the imminent end of the world was the stronger motivation. During the homily, I stressed more the advice of the Lord to be vigilant and pray to have the strength from the Lord, not only now but at all times. I guess this became a better and positive option, especially when they realized that to be with the Lord is the safer way. Living in the presence of the Lord and doing His will can give us a better interpretation of His offer of peace.