Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23: 1-2, 2-3, 5-6; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46
For several months now, I have included among my special intentions in my daily Masses a prayer for the 2016 elections.
I pray “that the Lord will raise up for us and give us leaders after his own heart and spirit.”
Whenever people despaired about a corrupt leader in the past, my usual response was that “God will always make his move and deliver. Hindi niya tayo pababayaan (He will not abandon us).”
As the political scene became more raucous, I found myself praying my special intention more and more often, not out of despair, but with faith and conviction that God will indeed raise up leaders after his own heart and soul.
Today’s Gospel, the Parable of the Final Judgment, is one of the most vivid assurances that God’s will and justice is the final word.
The simple statement says: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We root and ground our faith and hope that his kingdom is really our final destination.
Today we also celebrate the Feast of Christ the King to remind us that “He shall reign forever and ever.” God’s plans and ways will triumph.
It is important to note that in determining our final destination, we are shown that the righteous are blessed by the Father and are found worthy to own/inherit the kingdom (“You gave me food… drink… you welcomed me… you clothed me… you cared for me… you visited me.”)
Serve the marginalized
The Gospel also has the Lord identifying “the other” as those who are hungry, thirsty, naked, ill, the stranger, the imprisoned— those in need, the marginalized of society. This is a fitting end to the liturgical year and the calendar year.
The past year has been marked by many paradoxes. On the one hand, we enjoyed economic growth and significant gains in the fight against corruption.
Despite the cynicism of some, we cannot deny that it is now possible to curb and reduce corruption.
Still, we encounter tremendous poverty, hunger and lack of jobs. Our basic health-care and education systems remain inadequate.
An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report earlier this year said the Asian region created so much wealth this past decade, with the Philippines mentioned in the second half. But the socioeconomic gap has been widening.
The ADB and the World Bank agreed that one of the key factors in arresting and reversing this is through a good public education system.
More specifically, the World Bank noted that for the Philippines to improve its public school system, the private sector must step in to jump-start the process.
Allow me at this point to air two reminders: “Haste makes waste” and, from Scripture, “Fear is useless, what is needed is faith.”
Let us pray that more of us would be inspired to move toward a vision of a society akin to the Kingdom of God—where the lame walk, the blind see, the mute speak, captives are free; where there is no more hunger nor thirst.
While leaders matter, we followers, the community, would also matter if we act together.
We must remember to act for and on behalf of the victims of corruption: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned. They are our reasons.
The Philippine Catholic Church declared 2015 as the Year of the Poor.
The law of love
We must make sure that real victims would no longer be used again by those who claim to be the victims of political persecution.
A powerful provision in canon law states: “In periculo mortis, all law collapse; in danger of death all laws collapse.”
We must work for what is rightly ours, our inheritance—this Kingdom of justice, prosperity, peace and love.
“In periculo mortis, all laws collapse,” because only one law matters, the law of compassion and love.
The only act to be done is for and on behalf of the dying, to save the dying person’s soul, in this case the majority of Filipinos who suffer because corruption has deprived them of a decent and fair chance to better their lives.
Christ is King because he died to make the law of love and compassion the most important law.
His death came on behalf of us all that make it possible for him to say to those who follow him: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world….”