Be on Guard

It is the start of the election campaign for those candidates running for the national posts. The entire nation will choose once again a new set of leaders who we hope will bring positive changes and progress for the country. Candidates are all prepared to persuade the people with their many platforms and promises just to earn their sought-after votes on the day of the election. This event also causes division among us because of our biases towards certain candidates. Social media is flooded with bitter posts on blames and accusations against different parties who will participate in the elections. All these for the one ultimate objective of winning, thus gaining power and influence.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus speak words of caution against the ‘leaven’ of the Pharisees and Herod. Herod and the Pharisees were the figures of religious and political authorities then. However, they did not use their power conscientiously, and abused it by imposing laws that burden the people. They used these powers to repress and control people.

Power and influence corrupt leaders who do not know how to handle them. Different from the unscrupulous and egotistical power exercised by the Pharisees and King Herod is the authority of Jesus that proceeds from the Father. Jesus used His authority and influence with integrity, meekness, and transparency to help the people know God the love of God.

Many of us handle power like Herod and the Pharisees. As Filipinos, we have seen it throughout our history. Some people, particularly those in positions, used power to manipulate and advance their self-centered agenda. Other political figures used their power to steal money from the people, abuse the rights of the poor and marginalized, and corrupt the morals of society. However, we are assured that the abusive power of these crooked officials is only temporary it will not last, and they will earn retribution in the end.

The Gospel invites us to take a stand against every oppressive, crooked, and dishonest force that threatens every Filipino. “Watch out, be on guard” and vote according to your conscience.

By: Sem. Lester John D. Cabais

Today’s Gospel

Mk 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

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Official News Service of the Media Office of Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines

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