Manila Bulletin

Why straighten our crooked ways?


IN the gospel this 2nd Sunday of Advent, Jesus’ forerunner John the Baptist’s message to all of us is: “Reform your lives. The reign of God is at hand.” Change your ways to God’s way.

* * * John the Baptist, using a metaphor about road building and repair, says: “Straighten the crooked ways,” “Make the rough roads smooth” (Lk 3,5).

The prophet is not concerned about road repairs (although his message is a timely reminder for our DPWH officials to fix our rough and potholed roads!). * * * The Baptist is conveying the message that the morally crooked ways must be eradicated, the rough edges of our character be made smooth, and warped attitudes straighten­ed.

Why must we “straighten our crooked ways”? John the Baptist said unless you reform, you are headed to perdition.

* * * Gunar Myrdal, renowned author of the voluminous book Asian Drama, a monumental, in-depth study on the Third World countries, says that one major drawback to the economic progress of nations is their negativist­ic traits and values.

* * * In other words, it means where there are corrupt practices, disunity, kidnapping­s, and terrorism as in Mindanao, economic progress is hampered.

* ** On the individual level, selfishnes­s, greed, insensitiv­ity are the cause of others’ untold sufferings and anguish. Consider the cold-blooded slaying of suspected drug dealers and other offenders; did the perpetrato­rs ever think of the misery they inflicted on the orphaned families?

* ** The same can be said about an unfeeling husband who spends lavishly for his barkada, but has no money for his children’s sustenance.

The gospel reading for this Sunday has also a message of URGENCY. John the Baptist asserts, “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the tree.”

* ** John the Baptist is telling us in more contempora­ry words, like: “If you’re thinking of making a Christmas confession, do it now. If you’re planning to be reconciled with someone, now’s the time. If you’re considerin­g doing good to others, don’t dilly-dally. Do it now.”

* ** Why wait until some sickness strikes before we start getting rid of some evil habits like smoking or excessive drinking, cursing, gossiping, or watching TV too much?

According to the writer Omar Ibn Al Halif , “Four things come not back--the spoken word, the sped arrow, the time past, the neglected opportunit­y.”

*** Advent is an opportune time to welcome Christ into our lives by bearing fruits of good deeds. “Every tree that is not fruitful,” John the Baptist warns, “will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”


Nine deacons of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) from the Class “Vivat” will be ordained priests today at 9 a.m. at the Divine Word Seminary Chapel in Tagaytay City.

*** The new SVD priest and their mission assignment­s are: Fr. Jerome Alburo, Madagascar; Fr. Jay De Leon, Botswana; Fr. Arnulfo Fraga, Philippine Northern Prov.; Fr. Henry Go, Mexico-Cuba; Fr. Aaron Paul Hizola, Netherland­s-Belgium; Fr. Ralp Montalban, Mozambique; Fr. Reyann Ollandez, Argentina-East; Fr. Frank Quainoo, from Ghana to Phl Southern Prov.; Fr. Arjay Venus, China.

The Most Rev. John F. Du. DD, archbishop of Palo, presides in the concelebra­ted ceremonies and Mass.

*** FAMILY TV MASS — aired on IBC 13 (channel 15 cable) at 7-8 a.m. every Sunday; also on internatio­nal GMA Pinoy TV. Sponsor: NATIONAL SHRINE OF THE DIVINE MERCY, Marilao Bulacan. Celebrant: Most Rev. Jose F. Oliveros, DD, bishop of Malolos.


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