Saturday, December 4, 2010

Complacency is Against the Spirit of Advent

Complacency is a sin and it haunts us all. Even as a Church worker, I am also personally guilty of committing this 8th Deadly Sin (Is “complacency” falls under “sloth”?). Most of the time I say, ”Pwede na ‘yan” or “That’s okay as long as it serves the purpose.” But I also believe - based on my observation on socio-political realities in Occidental Mindoro and as a member of the local media then - our most wicked sin as a people is also complacency.

In today’s Gospel (Matt 3 : 1-12), John the Baptist is telling us that as we, new children of Abraham, await the coming of the Kingdom, we cannot rest in complacency. “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance,” John told the crowds gathered there at the Jordan River. This sermon no doubt, is a call out of complacency. He further said, “Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”. Presumably, John was just trying to “micro scare” the people maybe because they already had a long history of complacency that time. Not unlike today in our province.

Most of our people are guilty of apathy and indifference. For instance, only few civic organizations stood with the Church in its fight against the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP) and the Small Town Lottery (STL) operation in the province before. Only few joined the PPCRV pollwatchers during the last elections, just to mention two of our current social concerns. The people act more diligently in self-serving activities initiated by their political patrons or political groups than those initiated by the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) or their PAKRIS. It’s Advent time once again and may we be reminded that John’s sermon calls us to bear the fruit of repentance and it calls us into the kingdom of God.

As worker of our local Church, it is my Christian duty to go beyond my comfort zones (Here’s a very concrete example : What people do most of the time in Facebook,- finding, chatting, sharing, exchanging something unimportant or naughty with friends and relatives; joking and commenting to a thread, playing Mafia Wars and Farmville , etc.) and do things in line with my faith, with my beliefs, with my work, with my vocation. Whenever. Whether I go, physical or virtual. Because if I do not maximize the potentials of the internet in blogging about socio-political realities in my place, if I do not share news and updates to all the interested people all over the net, if I will not impart related social teachings and doctrines of my Church, I will be doing nothing and become irresponsible worker in His vineyard. For it is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do. Still, many of us do not consider the act of “not doing” as a sin. Both the laity and those belong to the ordained ministry who are not expecting intervention from God - and from themselves - to this saddening situation is also somewhat guilty of such a sin. Yes, we should not rely unduly on our competence. Strength lies in improvasion. But many leaders of social and religious institutions have overlooked this fact. Including mine.

But hey, let us set this straight for clarity. I am not insinuating that we aimlessly expect or look for something new. All I say is we must be prepared to anticipate something new rather than remaining where we are. We have to make change happen and not just waste our time in the waiting shed. According to Pope Benedict XVI, "It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way." In a way, BXVI is giving us social communicators this challenge against complacency.

If I were right in saying that “Complacency is against the spirit of Advent”, so therefore, the opposite of expectation is also complacency. Because when we are complacent, we are expecting for nothing more, nothing better as believers and as human beings. Therefore, we are not expecting, anticipating the Kingdom.

Unlike how John foresaw something new in the person of the Emmanuel…

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