The first reading from the book of Isaiah tells us about what the Lord will do in the end of days. He said that He will “destroy the veil that veils all people”. On that day, we will look on Him who saved us. This is in line with the theme of Advent. The manifestation of the Lord’s presence is clarity of vision and integrity: the blind will see, the deformed made whole, the lame will walk.” In the Gospel, the people who came to Jesus were not just there to be cured of their physical ailments, they were there also to listen to His teachings. However, Jesus acknowledges that inorder for them to listen to him, he has to feed them. We all know that it would be difficult to absorb new insights and knowledge with an empty stomach. And so Jesus feeds the crowd.
As we come to mass today, people are gathering and having mass at the Ateneo to support the farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who walked all the way from Mindanao to the capital to raise the consciousness of people about their plight and the grave injustices done to them by people in government and by the private sector particularly San Miguel Corporation, and the Quisumbing family. The farmers believe that their ancestral lands which they re-acquired through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform has not been given to them. These poor, marginalized farmers wanted to stir our apathy and open our eyes to generate support for their bid to have 144 hectares of land in the valley of Sumilao, between the mountains of Palaopao and Sayawan, where you get a view of Mt. Kitanglad. Their ordeal, where many of them collapsed along the way, should stir compassion in our hearts, the way Jesus was stirred by the people who were hungry.
There are many current issues in the Philippines which challenge and demand our active participation and vigilance. If indeed we are serious about our faith, perhaps, we should consider justice as constitutive of it. If we who come daily to church continually turn our backs against the blatant plight of our brothers and sisters, we are what Jesus would call the Pharisees and scribes,‘hyprocrites.’
Perhaps, today, let us ask ourselves: Are we?