December 5, 2011

Workers of the Future

2nd Sunday of Advent (B)
Mark 1: 1-8 “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare the way.”

The Christmas spirit is already here. Decorations like Christmas trees, lights and lanterns are everywhere. In spite of our complaints against a heavy commercialized Christmas, I enjoy window shopping and viewing Christmas decors in Ayala. But it dawned on me that these beautiful Christmas decorations are labors of love from ordinary laborers. We did not see them work. It was a thankless job.

Nobody appreciates “silent workers.” They commonly works at night shift, those at the back stage and those whose work is to “prepare something” for others. They are a thankless job. Nobody sees the chef who prepares the delicious meal. Nobody sees the janitors who clean the social hall before and after the party. Nobody sees the tears of our thousands of OFWs who cannot go home this Christmas for the sake of the future of their families. Nobody notices their hard work and sacrifices. They are thankless jobs.

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist did another thankless job. He prepared the way for the arrival of Jesus by exhorting the people to repent. He had a glimpse of success when some repented and ask for his baptism, but he did not see the fullness of humanity’s salvation when Jesus died on the cross. His mission was crystal clear for John – just to prepare the way of the Lord. Nobody appreciated his contribution in the works of salvation. Herod even beheaded John. It was another thankless job.

But our gospel challenges us to be like John the Baptist – to become workers of the future. We are asked to work for peace in Mindanao so that our future generation will live in peace. We are tasked to protect our environment so that our children will have trees to climb and clean rivers to swim. It is our responsibility to teach Christian values to our children, to assure ourselves of good and God-fearing leaders in the future. But to work for peace, environment and formation of children are also thankless job. Nobody seems to care and support us. Why care and work for the future society?

William Barclay commented, "In youth, because I could not be a singer, I did not even write a song. I set no little trees along the roadside because I knew their growth would take so long. But now from the wisdom that the years have brought me, I know that it may be a blessed thing to plant a tree for someone else to water or make a song for someone else to sing."

Let’s ask ourselves this Advent: “Do I consciously work hard for a better future? What are your small and daily contributions? You say, you want peace in our society; but what are you doing about it? You dream of happy family; but how much time you dedicate to your family?

Let’s commit ourselves in building the future we don’t own. We are workers for our children and nation’s future. Our determination to work for a good future is not merely based on our social responsibility, but on the spiritual responsibility. Let’s discover the “John the Baptist” in us. We may not see the fruits of our labors; but that’s the meaning of being a John the Baptist. God calls us to prepare the way so that others may live to the fullest.

In a graduation ceremony, a teary eyed mother commented, “I don’t know what’s ahead of my son, but I’m at peace. I have given him good education to confidently face his future. ”

We are workers for the future generations. We may not see the end result of our hard work, apostolate, and advocacies. People may not recognize our sacrifices. Our work may end up like another thankless job. But don’t fret. Any work done with love will create a ripple effect in our future.

- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ

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