We read of humanitarian support being extended to returning Marawi internally displaced persons (IDPs) rendered homeless by the armed hostilities. As concerned brethren in Christ, we also have tried to do our part to reach out to various needy persons, foremost in our own families and communities. As rehabilitation takes place, hope sparks that genuine peace may be attained in Mindanao and the whole country. What a beautiful gift this will be for the Prince of Peace, whose birthday this month we start to prepare for liturgically, in opening the holy season of Advent.
Advent is a penitential season that, following the feast of Christ the King, reminds us that our King wore a crown of thorns and taught us by His life to be patient in suffering and to care for our “least, last and lost” brethren.
Let our pains and continued advocacies for peace be our offering to the Babe of Bethlehem this Advent. We remain disciples continuing the mission of the grown Babe, as did the saints who dedicated their lives to the following of Christ, as did John the Baptist in calling for repentance and conversion to prepare for the Messiah and the Reign of Peace. Once again, this Advent, we prepare the stable of our hearts to be a worthy dwelling for the Triune God in Jesus.
What is common to the mission of the Baptist and other saints like the Jesuit patron of the Missions St. Francis Xavier, whose feast is celebrated on 03 December, is their tireless proclamation of the Good News in word and deed. This comes from the inner flame of the Spirit that empowers the heart emptied of self to belong totally to God and attract others to His Kingdom.
May the Mindanao Week of Peace that runs from 29 November to 06 December 2017 inspire us all in this island to pray and work for peace and unity through a generous reaching out to our needy brothers and sisters, irrespective of faith and culture. The theme “Owning Mindanao’s History for Peace and Development” also confirms the striving for unity among the participating and invited multi-sectoral groups from the Catholic Church and other faiths including moslem and lumad, the government, military, police, and others interested. May the angels too help us in the peace venture as they sang on the first Christmas: “Glory to God in the highest; peace on earth for God is blessing humankind” (Lk 2:14).