Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our Savior is Jesus, not the Politicians!

Second Sunday of Advent of Year C
(Luke 3:1-6)
December 6, 2009

WHEN we hear of the President of the United States or the Prime Minister of the Great Britain, we usually associate them with countries advanced in science, technology, and economy. We look up to them because they have virtually become world leaders who are able to give their people comfort and happiness that citizens of the third world normally envy. Theirs is an advanced industrial society. Yet, the other side of the picture of such societies is quite alarming: they have worsening air and water pollution, mounting crimes, ghettoes, dwindling resources, to mention a few. And one wonders whether this is a form collective suicide. Of course, Karl Marx saw this, and proposed an alternative. Since the West is individualistic, he proposed the abolition of private property, and thought of allowing the people—the poor—to govern society. Thus we hear of the Josef Stalin of the Russia and Mao Tse Tung of China proclaiming themselves as champions of the proletariat. Yet, we who are on the other side of the fence know that these nations have their own brand of dogmatism and bureaucracy, regimentation and inquisition, witch hunting and police state. And not to long ago, we saw the virtual collapse of the communist world. Hence the question: whence is salvation of the world?

It is not fortuitous that today’s Gospel begins with the name of Tiberius Ceasar, emperor of the Roman empire, Pontius Pilate, prefect of Judea, Herod Antipas, tetrach of Galilee and Perea, and Philip, tetrach of other parts of Galilee (Luke 3:1). As an evangelist who has a universalist outlook, Luke takes care to relate the significance of the gospel to the world in his time. For him, these known persons represent the political and religious rulers at the time of Jesus. It may be recalled that as the people at that time expected, the political rulers, on the one hand, were supposed to save their people from hunger and lawlessness, while the religious leader, on the other hand, were to put them in right relationship with God. Yet it is clear from the Jewish tradition that their national rulers were hardly faithful in their task. On the contrary, they did the opposite. That is why, God, using pagan rulers as instruments, scattered them and exiled them (2 Kings 15:29; 17:16). The Jewish religious leaders, on the other hand, led the people astray (Jer 50:6). They became unfaithful (Ezek 34:2-10), and even scattered the flock (Jer 23:1-2). Thus, they failed in their responsibilities (Jer 2:8). It appears, therefore, that if Luke mentions secular and religious rulers to preface his account of Jesus’ ministry, it is to imply that salvation cannot come from the religio-political establishment of his time.

Not surprisingly enough, God’s word did not come to them, nor to any Roman or Jewish politician, but to John who, in contrast with the Roman emperors and governors, was an unknown in the empire. The word of the Lord came to him to indicate that salvation of the people can come from God alone (Bar 5:6), not from the religio-political rulers of his time. How does the prophet picture salvation? The book of Baruch presents this salvation to us in the image of Jerusalem taking the robe of peace instead of mourning to manifest the return of the sons of Israel from exile (Bar 5:1-4), led by God himself (Bar 5:6). So, Jerusalem has to look toward the east, to the coming of salvation from God (Bar 5:5). That is to say, the prophet warned his people that if they wish to be saved, the Israelites cannot rely on their own religio-political rulers, still less on foreign powers. If there is anyone to be depended on for salvation, it is God alone.

The same may be said of us. No matter how altruistic the United States or Russia may appear to be, no matter how they are able to show concern for peoples in the third world, we, Christians, cannot have the illusion that the salvation of men from all misery and want, and from evil and death could come from the political rulers of these powerful nations. It cannot come even from our own political rulers. Many presidents have sat on the presidential throne, but the salvation of the Filipino people is nowhere nearer. On the contrary, their lot has even become worst—politically, economically, socially, environmentally. Following the exhortation of Baruch, we have to look toward the East, to Jesus, for it is only he who can establish the new Jerusalem in splendor and glory (Bar 5:1, 1st Reading), that is to say, who can make us one community where justice and peace prevail, and removed all forms of evil in this world, by showing this splendor to every nation (Bar 5:3). This is the significance of advent. We await the coming of Jesus from the east who alone can save us. And as he is coming to save us, our role is simply this: we need to cultivate a proper conduct, abounding in love, and valuing the things that really matter (Phil 1:8-11, 2nd Reading). This way, we accept his coming, and prepare his way (Isa 40:3-4).

So, next time we hear politicians promise us a new heaven and a new earth, in which our dreams of justice to the poor and the victims of history, prosperity, peace for all, equality before the law, participation in governance, and abundance of life, we need not take their word hook, line and sinker. If their track record has anything to tell us, it is that all they are capable of is giving morsel of bread and providing circuses. There is only one savior—the Lord Jesus. It is he whom we await.


  1. Good morning Msgr.Lope and Happy Thanksgiving Day, i mean Thanks God it is advent, a time to rejoice for the savior of the world is coming. Msgr. i am luz-vi-minda R.P., i am not a politician but i come in the name of my faith and i belong to the Church of the poor. You can view my spirituality in my blog especially 3 denials in the church of the Philippines.
    Can I request for some help, on Dec. 1 is the last day for filing of the certificate of candidacy and i wanted to claim the Divine Miracle that God promised me and to lead the Divine government that He is calling for. I have a flight reserved for that day Dec. 1 and i am keeping my hand crossed and in prayer for the fulfillment of God's task and promised to me. Am just like a simple "Joseph the dreamer and Daniel the prophet." Thank you so much Monsignor and my number is 09154307255. My prayer for our country for Mother Church and the people of the Philippines. God bless us all.

  2. good day greetings in Christ Msgr. Lope.
    God heard my call and on the last day of filing of COC I was able to come to Manila and late evening filed my COC application No. 84. I was questioned by the Comelec staff on the question: who nominated you and what party? Because on the black portion I said PREX/BEC I told the lady that i am coming in the name of my Faith, i belong to the church of the poor and i am here for the Parish Renewal Movement and my Basic Ecclesial Community. The lady told me to put a parenthesis and just put independent which i obliged based on their rules. How sad to see that even comelec workers do not know the real meaning of the word or my message. But i do believe that the Church whom I represent will vouch for me as a person, as a catholic or church servant based on my works and as God messenger or servant based on the message of prophecy which was kept and revealed to a priest at Loyola House of Studies. This is the 4th that i filed an application since 1992 when i was given the task to do it. But i was put in nationwide television last 2004 when God allowed me to announce the good news to my countrymen which is God's calling for a Divine Government to be run under a parliamentary system. I told comelec that i am not a nuisance because I will claim the Divine Miracle that God promised me to vouch for the work that He has given me. As I promised the Lord in 1972 that I am willing to die for Him in order that salvation may come to my fellowmen to my country and that is why until now i am here in the Church of the Poor to lead the people to the Kingdom that God has prepared for them here on earth. I heard the Father calling and also the elders of CBCP, here i am on bended knees to present God's message of hope, light and salvation. May God bless us all and in this New Advent and the year of the Priest that we may lived in the life of God's blessing in its fullness for the people of the earth especially the Filipinos who have been patiently waiting to see hope in the leadership of its leaders. This is the political will of the lay people in Christ. Again my wishes for the country and to Mother Church as we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. God bless us all.