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Counter-flow

The story is told about a wife who called her senior citizen husband who was driving on the freeway, frantically saying: “Honey, I just heard on the news that there’s a car counter-flowing on the freeway!” There was silence on the other end, and then, the husband said: “Gosh, Honey. There’s not just one car. There’s hundreds of them!”

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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 3,1-6), we hear about the appearance of John the Baptist in the region of Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, coming in with a message that counter-flows with the sinful and worldly situations at that time. He was a prophet, a voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.”

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Today is the Second day of Advent. We light the candle of peace in the Advent wreath. We honor men and women who work for peace, and are persecuted for doing so like John the Baptist. We have modern-day prophets who go out, take the risk, and go beyond their comfort zones to carry out their mission for God. May we all do our mission for our God, to become instruments of His peace and His love.

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I have been doing some gardening during pandemic, and one of the lessons I learned is the preparation of the ground, the soil. The Latin word for soil is “humus,” hence, the word “humility.” Getting one’s hand dirtied, and to sweat on one’s brow is a humbling and a cleansing experience. Advent is the time for us to be humble to our God and to be humble to one another. And then, peace will come. The key to true peace is humility.

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The preface of the Mass of the Second Sunday of Advent reminds us to be “watchful in prayer, and exultant in His promise.” May we have moments of quiet prayer, and be filled with thanksgiving and praise. Advent is the time to count our blessings, and also the time to share our blessings.

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Just when we thought that the night of COVID-19 is already over, the Omicron variant comes out. Let us continue to be vigilant, and not lose heart. It is with the help of prayer that we can continue to be patient and persevere. Prayer, patience, perseverance. We need these virtues so much these days!

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Dec. 8 is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mama Mary gives us hope that it is possible to overcome sin and sinfulness. We all are sinners, but we all can change for the better. We are not hopeless and helpless as we journey toward goodness and authenticity. Mama Mary is the hope of us sinners. Let us follow her and take the road of humility.

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Let us not give up our desire and efforts to become better persons, a better nation, and a better world. In moments of discouragement or desperation, sing the song “God will make a way, when it seems there is no way.” End it with the song “In His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time!” Let us continue to believe, trust, and surrender (BTS!).

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Together with the psalmist we pray: “Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow.” (Ps. 25)

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Sharing with you something I read: “God never sends you into a situation alone. He goes before you. He stands beside you. He walks behind you. Whatever situation you have right now, face it with the confidence of knowing that God is with you.”

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A moment with the Lord: Lord, teach us where to go, and when to flow, and when to counter-flow. Amen.

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