Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand  

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The Gospel today, the second Sunday of Advent, is taken from Matthew, 3:1 to 12 and Mark, 1:1 to 8 as well as from Luke, 3:1 to 6, and tells of John, the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, who was a voice crying in the wilderness, and calling on the sinful world to repent, as the Kingdom of Heaven is about to be revealed. To whom is this call for repentance addressed in today's world?

Well, this call for repentance is addressed to all of us, sinners, but most especially to those who commit what are called social sins. What are these social sins? They are sins against the people, sins against the poor, the weak, and the powerless. These are the sins committed by the rich against the poor, by the powerful against the powerless, by the strong against the weak. These are the sins of power-hungry dictators and monarchs of huge and strong countries that invade smaller nations, destroy the lives and livelihood of the poor, bomb their shelters, devastate their farms, and even kill children and the elderly. We know who these people are; many of them call themselves Christians and pretend to pray to the same God whose kingdom is at hand.

They are those politicians who rob the government of billions and yet pretend to enforce the law by arresting, prosecuting, and jailing poor people who steal a loaf of bread just to survive. Police generals and military officials who arrest innocent civilians including indigenous people, red-tag them, and accuse these poor "lumads" of endangering the security of the state and the safety of communities. Many of the red-tagged innocent natives have allegedly been summarily executed, suspected as rebels or enemies of the state. They are policemen quick to enforce the law on drugs against small guys with a small sachet, while allowing big-time syndicates to operate inside the national penitentiary.

The social sinners include mayors, governors, and other self-righteous politicians who collaborate with big business empires and put up megamalls and huge entertainment centers by demolishing urban poor settlements with no relocation sites. They include government bureaucrats who pretend to fight contractualization and force small and micro enterprises to regularize the workers while in their own government agencies and local government units they maintain thousands of job-order workers who are paid pittance and are compelled to do the dirty, difficult, and dangerous jobs. These casuals and contractuals in government have been there for many years and were used by trapos to support their dirty politics.

The social sinners also include priests, ministers, preachers, and pastors who use the Bible to amass wealth and proclaim themselves as the last messengers of God. They build palaces and exact tithing from their poor followers with threats of the fires of hell if they don’t contribute 10% of their income to the Church or to their non-taxable secret bank accounts. These are the modern scribes and Pharisees who claim that they speak ex cathedra and quote the Bible to exact the last penny from the poor widows and orphans whom they promise the kingdom of heaven if they continue to bring money.

These include men and women of the cloth who seduce the young for sex and pleasures of the flesh. They also include rich religious orders who operate big universities exclusively for the children of the rich and powerful. We are all sinners, but in the eyes of the Lord, those who exalt themselves should be humbled. And those self-righteous preachers of the law should be exposed and unmasked as the worst sinners among us all.

We should all repent, but shouldn’t those who pretend to be without sins be the first to confess their evil ways?


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