Straighten your crooked ways

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Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD

December 4, 2022 / 2nd Sunday of ADVENT / C

Photo: Mini-forest, Centre Theresianum de Kinshasa, Congo

Some years ago when I was assigned at the Divine Word College of Legazpi, Albay, I visited an elderly SVD confrere who was a director of our high school in Sorsogon.

One afternoon we were invited to a sumptuous lunch. As we sat in one corner busy, doing justice to our overflowing plate, I leaned closed to my confrere and whispered: “Father, ano ba itong malaking handaan?” (What’s this big celebration?) He looked at me, stepped on my foot, and said: “Huwag kang maingay. Hindi ko rin alam. Basta’t kumain ka na lang ng kumain.” (Keep quiet. I also don’t know. Just keep on eating).

* * *

That amiable confrere passed away already, but that experience illustrates how we celebrate our Christmas year in and year out. For don’t we tend to “eat, drink and be merry,” and forget WHY in the world we’re doing all this? How would you feel if guests come to your birthday party and don’t even bother to greet you but go straight to the dining table?

* * *

Many look forward to Christmas as the most joyful event of the year although for many of us, it’s not so happy and merry this time because of the long Covid-19 pandemic which has caused the distressing health and economic crisis. However, Christmas will still– and should always–be happy because it’s the Birthday of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (Jn. 3,16).

* * *

In this second Sunday of Advent, the Christ’s forerunner John the Baptist talks about road building and repair: “Make the ground level,” “straighten the crooked ways,” “make the rough roads smooth” (Mt 3,3).

* * *

The Baptist is not concerned about road repairs (although their message is a timely reminder for our DPWH officials to fix our rough and potholed roads). The prophet is conveying in Jewish metaphor the message that our morally crooked ways be eradicated, the rough edges of our character be made smooth. In short, strive for conversion and renewal.

* * *

Gunar Myrdal, renowned author of the voluminous book Asian Drama, an in-depth study on the Third World countries, says that one major drawback to economic progress of slow developing nations is attributed to their negativistic traits and attitudes. In other words, where there are corrupt practices, greed, social injustices, the country’s economy will not progress. Aren’t we going through this now?

* * *

With regard to the spiritual preparation for the coming of the Lord, here are some ways.

Attend the nine-day Simbang Gabi or Misa de Gallo climaxed by the Misa de Aguinaldo. It’s also a form of penance and sacrifice rising on cold early mornings.

* * *

Today is National AIDS Sunday and Catholic Handicapped Day. Let’s share our blessings with the poor victims and the handicapped, including those in prison and in hospital’s charity wards.

Since Christmas is celebrating the grand reconciliation between God and sin-tainted humanity, let it be a time of reconciliation for people who have not been in talking terms for years. Forgive and forget.

* * *

A good confession is an excellent form of spiritual cleansing.

If we do prepare ourselves internally and spiritually, then most assuredly our Christmas will be more meaningful, more fulfilling, more joyful because we will celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.

* * *

THE LIGHTER SIDE. In the USA, a book titled: “How to Change Your Wife in 30 Days,” sold a million copies in one week. But the author discovered that the title had a spelling error!

The correct title should have been: “How to Change Your Life in 30 Days.” After the correction, for a whole month, only 3 copies were bought.

Lesson: People are more interested in changing their wives or others rather than their own selves.

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