The signs of God’s kingdom abound | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

One of the “theories” I have is that after Rico Yan died in 2002, there was a part of ABS-CBN that was always in search of his “replacement.”


Rico, at the time of his death, was one of the biggest rising stars not just of the network, but of the entertainment industry and his generation.


In death, he became even larger than life as an entire nation mourned his demise. The lines of people wishing to catch a glimpse of his remains in La Salle Greenhills, stretched from inside the school chapel where he lay in state up to the gates of Camp Crame, a good four to five kilometers.


Time and again over the past decade there was always a sense of identification of one rising talent or another with Rico. Off hand, I can count at least four over the past 12 years or so.


Hopeful expectation


For our generation, the Edsa 1 generation, especially for us who had been part of the martial law era, there is also a constant expectation of the fulfillment of the promise of Edsa 1. We had hoped for this in 2001 when President Estrada was unseated.


Then in May 2010 there was a renewed hope as the people overwhelmingly voted President Aquino into office. Less than a year earlier, he was not even a candidate.


Such is the nature, I suppose, of hopeful expectation. Such is the hope with which the disciples of John the Baptist asks Christ in this Sunday’s Gospel, “Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?”


The question remains the same. Is this it or should we wait for another? Is he/she the one or shall we look for another? The question is deeply embedded in the human heart and soul, the longing for salvation—the joyful expectation of “the one.”


The other Saturday, I visited the military volunteers in Villamor Air Base, those who tirelessly assisted Supertyphoon “Yolanda” survivors. There was a show, games, food and gift-giving. It was a wonderful moment.


As all who were there remarked, “masaya, magaan, nakaka-taba ng puso!” (Joyful, light and heartwarming/inspiring!)


Over two weeks ago, I was in Bohol to meet with One Bohol for the rehabilitation work. One Bohol is composed of various socio-civic private sector groups in Bohol who each did their own rescue and relief efforts when the earthquake struck in October. Each did wonderful work and when they realized they shared the same desire and hope, they formed One Bohol.


‘Widow’s mite’


One of them shared a story of how one morning immediately after Yolanda, as he drove to the radio station where he worked, he saw this long line of people in the station, poor people. He first thought to himself that they were there to ask for more help, since electricity and water were again cut in Bohol due to the damage of Yolanda.


When he entered the station he was pleasantly surprised. These poor people weren’t there to ask for help. They were there to give to the victims of Yolanda.


It reminded me of the poor widow whom Christ commended for giving not out of her surplus, but from her poverty; from the little that she had, she gave. She gave from her want and need.


From Zamboanga, you had countless stories of people, ordinary people, working with the little that they had to provide food and relief to those who had to flee their homes because of the violence. There were many simple families who baked bread, cooked food, packed water into plastic bags and in the dead of night sneaked to the soldiers’ barracks to provide water and sustenance.


In the midst of so much disaster, there we saw the abundance of generosity and solidarity. In times of crisis, there emerged men and women of heroic timber doing the little things to make life better for those who suffered.


“Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?” The question remains the same. Perhaps the answer, likewise, remains the same. “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”


Yes, the answer remains the same. To this ancient longing, to this age-old hopeful expectation the answer remains the same—listen and look, the signs of the Kingdom of God abound; listen to both the pleas for help and the generous response; look at the tragic situation that befell many places and the communities of compassion that emerged from the ruins left in the aftermath of calamities.


This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we are invited to look around us, to listen and to see. The miracles happen. They abound. In the midst of calamity and pain, of death and destruction, there is so much life and hope emerging.


Rejoice because of what we hear and see! Yes, there are problems, no doubt. There are challenges, for sure. But we must not overlook or be deaf to the good and the heroic happening in equally “dramatic scale.”


The impossible becomes possible. The unexpected occurs and we are surprised with joy. All fulfillment of hopeful expectations always trump us! When God moves everything falls into place. All expectations are not simply met. They are fulfilled beyond our wildest expectations.

Rejoice! Rejoice, indeed, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!


“Are you the one who is to come or shall we look for another?” Rejoice! He is with us. Listen. Look. Rejoice!





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