December 16, 2007
3rd Week of Advent
Matthew 11: 2-11 : “Go and tell John…”
December 16, 2007
Ayala, West Coast, Zamboanga City
In an interstate flight, repeated announcements came about the possibility of a storm. All the passengers were nervous and started to pray. Lightning lit skies. One moment the airplane was lifted on terrific currents of air. Then the priest saw a girl oblivious of the storm, singing happy song and reading book. She was very calm and completely composed and unafraid. The priest could hardly believe his eyes. When the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, the priest asked the girl why she was not afraid at all during the flight. The child replied with a smile, “Sir, my dad is the pilot of the plane, and I know he will take me home safe and secure.”
The third Sunday of advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word which means “to rejoice.” It is a break from the two weeks of sorrowful introspection and penitential spirit. This week we light the pink candle – the symbol of hope for the joyful coming of our savior. To hope is to know God is our pilot. We are safe in His hands!
John the Baptist knew Jesus very well as the son of God (John 1:29). Yet like us, John had his own faith-crisis when he was imprisoned on orders of Herod Antipas. Broken, disillusioned and felt abandoned, he needed re-affirmation. He send his disciples to Jesus and asked, “Are you the one who is to come or we should look for another?” Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them (Mt 11:5). Jesus gave him something to hope for - God is in control. And that’s more than enough for John to be brave and beheaded.
Christmas is a re-affirmation of God’s promise of a saviour! Our plane called “life” may be in the middle of the storm, being tossed by the strong wind of trials, uncertainties, and insecurities. Jesus comes to the rescue and offers us to allow Him to be our pilot. He wants us to trust Him and let go of our “control freak” tendencies. Be still. God sees the bigger picture. We see the storm but He sees the blue sky beyond! It is not a matter of what we see in our life but what He sees for us.
Now I understand why some cancer patients who are in pain can still smile and remain faithful to God. Why some of us who are misunderstood and misjudged can forgive and understand. Why a mother continues to love her ungrateful children or husband. Why Juan dela Cruz can still smile with an empty stomach. Reason escapes us why evil things happen to good people. But we don’t see traces of bitterness in them. Their sad experiences may betray them but they remain faithful to God who knows happy ending. This is hope!
Pope Benedict says something about hope: “Anyone who does not know God, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope. Man's great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God—God who has loved us and who continues to love us “to the end,” until all “is accomplished” ( Jn 13:1 and 19:30).” ( Encyclical Spe Salvi, Novemver 2007).
“O come divine Messiah, the world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing it triumph, and sadness flee away”
Marilou Diaz Abaya wittingly said, “I believe in happy endings, when it is not happy, then it is not yet the end.”
-Fr.Willy Samson, SJ