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 “Change is coming!” That was one of the most unforgettable promises of the elections early this year. People want change and so it is easy to get their attention when you have the guts to proclaim change. But has change really come? Is traffic in edsa a distant memory? Is the MRT nightmare gone? Is criminality a thing of the past? The only thing that changes the most is the meaning of words: I am saying this… no, I mean this… uh, it’s not what I said.

God has a vision of change for his people. As he invites them to approach him in his holy mountain (Isa 2: 1-5), he promises to teach them his ways. His Word is clear and definite, a sure guide to living life to the full. Learning from the Lord, change will come, as people will love peace more than war, and light more than darkness. So change comes first with God’s help.

St. Paul (Rom 13: 11-14) also proclaims his vision of change. Salvation is coming to God’s beloved people. Slumber will give way to wakefulness. Light will take the place of darkness. Bad behavior will bow to goodness.  But before this, change must happen within the person, in his heart, so that he can welcome the Lord’s gift.  A person must first “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Change comes, after God’s inspiration, from our own decision to be open to it.

This Advent, once again we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. We cannot hide our excitement for the season of Christmas, its material reminders are now all around us. But let us ask for the grace to “stay awake,” to be truly prepared, so that our encounter with Jesus in this season will produce in us real transformation, real change. Let us invite God to inspire us to change. Let us also challenge ourselves to change a little bit each day.