THE LORD IS IN OUR MIDST!
December 13, 2015
By: Dcn. Garry Salguero
Several weeks ago, I was invited to attend a simple celebration dinner marking two successful years of operation for a certain company here in the Philippines. At the Makati dinner I met a couple. The wife, whom I had known for several months, was a Filipina body builder and weight lifter before, involved in national competitions, until she joined this company in its Pasay offices. Her Russian national husband had been her coach and trainer at that time, and was himself a professional body builder, weight lifter and trainer. His physical appearance alone would tell you that he had disciplined himself tremendously through diet and exercise. We talked about many things, from eating and drinking habits to cultural differences and moral values; then we talked about Church. He said that Church and politics are the same, as are Priests and politicians. He said both always ask for or steal money from people. In his mind, both always take advantage of and never help the poor, and neither answer the problems of society. Both live lavishly while the poor live in shanties and along the roadside. He believed that both Church and politics talk a lot, but do not take responsibility. Of course I insisted that not all Churches or Priests are like that. I invited him to attend our Church and observe for himself the ministries that we are doing here. He declined the invitation; the long years of blindness have hardened his heart and calloused his emotions. He asked me, “Why does the church strongly object to abortion, yet it doesn’t take care of unwanted babies?” He confessed that they had sought an abortion procedure legally, but could not find a clinic that would perform the method. Our conversation ended because they had to go, and I never got a chance to answer that question.
To change this Russian gentleman’s point of view in life seems like an impossible situation. To him, everything is negative; that’s why nobody would talk to him the whole night. Similarly, in today’s Gospel, John the Baptist confronts a people full of presumptions and misconceptions. They have differing opinions about who the Messiah is. Is this an impossible situation? Definitely not for God! In Zephaniah, He proclaims “The Lord your God is in your midst”. We will not fear and be dismayed or intimidated, even if we are facing impossible things. Are you overwhelmed with your present situation, because it seems impossible to overcome? Trust God! The apostle Paul exhorted us to rejoice in the Lord always - as he was in prison, handcuffed hand and foot, with a bodyguard watching him every minute. Nothing is impossible with God! We thank God for giving us the courage and ability to overcome. This third Sunday of Advent we light a pink candle in the Advent wreath to symbolize the joy that comes from the expectation of Incarnate Grace among us. As Christian stewards, this Sunday not only calls us to rejoice in the Lord always but to pour our strength into creating environments in which abiding joy can and does flourish. As stewards, we’re called to sing loudly and, most importantly, to act boldly. The Church is different, successful, because the Lord our God is in our midst!