Fr. Johnny Go S.J., School Director
I was trying to write my homily this afternoon, but I had to stop for a while because like everyone else, I had to watch a very important boxing match on TV. One thing led to another, so I decided to share with you some of my thoughts about what I saw.
First, isn’t it strange that even before the supposedly live telecast began, many of us already knew the outcome? Thanks to text messages from people who had trooped to the theaters to watch or those who couldn’t wait and decided to check the Internet, many of us already knew exactly at which round the match would end and how it would end—long before the Philippine National Anthem was even sung. But of course we watched it anyway. The fight was still fun and exciting to watch—maybe even more fun and exciting because we knew we were going to win.
Second, did you by any chance notice the commercials? I’m sure you could not help but notice the commercials: There were just so many of them repeated so many times. Obviously they’re there for completely understandable reasons. But it was a little too much. I don’t know about you, but at a certain point, I could already virtually lip-sync to some of them, and based on sheer airtime, you begin to wonder if the telecast is more about the commercials than the boxing match.
Third, doesn’t it feel great to win such a spectacular victory? I mean especially for a country that needs every possible bit of good news. Even if we already knew it was all going to end in Round 3, we were still stunned and caught off guard when it actually did. Even Pacquiao and especially Morales had no idea the match was going to end the way it did. I think one of the most satisfying feelings while watching the match was the irony that we the televiewers knew something that the two boxers themselves or even the thousands of people who were in the audience in Las Vegas didn’t know. At certain points during the match, I watched the audience, especially those who were cheering for Morales and waving their Mexican flags, and wondered if they would actually switch sides if they had known who was going to emerge the winner. I figured that they probably wouldn’t because it’s also about patriotism, not to mention that it was also probably too late.
Now, you might be wondering, what in the world could the Pacquiao-Morales fight have anything to do with our Mass today? Well, to be honest, not much. But think about this: The Gospel reading today is about the coming of the Lord at the end of time, when he will this time completely wipe out evil from the face of the earth and claim his victory. So in one sense, we could say that the Gospel is about another kind of boxing match: It’s about the ongoing battle between good and evil that’s taking place in the world and in every person’s heart even as we sit here in church, a battle that’s going to be resolved definitively only with the Lord’s second coming at the end of time.
Now, all of us also already know how this battle is going to end much like we knew the outcome of today’s boxing match even before it began. So isn’t it strange—and isn’t it a little sad—that unlike the boxing match this afternoon, we’re not even half as excited—if at all, even interested—to watch this other and more important battle and follow its developments? Isn’t it sad that we’ve allowed ourselves to become too preoccupied with commercials—the many distractions of this world, our supposedly more urgent concerns like the deadlines of our work, like our efforts in keeping up with others, etc.—too preoccupied to keep our attention focused on what truly is, in every sense of the word, the main event.
So the Gospel’s message for us today? We don’t know when it’s going to end. Even the Lord Jesus said He didn’t know. So when it does, even if we already know the outcome, we’re still going to be stunned and caught off guard.
Now, if we want to feel great when the match ends, we had better find ourselves on the winning side. And the good news is: We can still switch sides. If we haven’t, we’d better do that soon—and we do that not by our cheering or the flags we wave, but the routine way we live our lives and the quiet way we make our everyday decisions.
Next week is already the Feast of the Christ the King, signaling the end of the liturgical year and the beginning of Advent. If we haven’t yet, it’s time to switch sides.
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