Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the fourth and therefore the last Sunday of Advent in our liturgical year. Christmas is coming soon and this week is the time traditionally prescribed by the Church as the time for the final preparation for Christmas. This Sunday we continue to observe and reflect on the major aspects of Christmas, that is Love. We have previously reflected on Hope, on Peace, and finally on Joy at the Gaudete Sunday last week.

Love is the central nature of Christmas and all that we celebrate. Indeed, love is the centre of everything, of why we still live and breathe comfortably now in this world. God loves us all, for we were created special, with the very image of our God imprinted on us, and we have been given the greatest gift of all. And what is this gift? It is the Gift of all gifts, surpassing all other gifts, that is Christ our Lord Himself, the Gift of God to all mankind.

As we have often talked about and discussed throughout this Advent season, this season is a time for ardent prayer and genuine preparation, a time for us to prepare for the ‘Adventus’ or the coming of the Lord. And after going through four Sundays in which we discern the true meaning of Christmas, we should all be ready and prepared to celebrate this Christmas meaningfully.

Otherwise, if we fail to understand the true meaning of Christmas, then we will not benefit from the richness of God’s grace which He had given to us, which will benefit us most if we can appreciate what Christmas truly is. Christmas is not just about the glorious and bountiful food, not just about the festivities and the parties, and not just about the decorations and shopping that we often do to prepare for Christmas.

Christmas is truly about love, the love of God for mankind. Surely we know that the Gospel has clearly spoken about God who loves us all so much, that He gave us His only Son, so that all those who believe in Him, the Son, will not perish but gain eternal life (John 3:16). This is the essence of Christmas, the coming of the Son into the world, so that a new Hope arises for the nations and for all the peoples.

So the aspect of love that we reflect on this Sunday, reflects this Love that God had shown us, the true meaning of Christmas that I have often emphasized. Without the love of God, there can be no Christmas, and there can be no hope for us. There can no true peace in us, if we do not embrace the peace brought to us by God’s Love in Christ. There can also be no joy in us that lasts, if we do not share in the joy of God’s Love.

What is love, brothers and sisters in Christ? Is love shown by expensive gifts or romantic activities, and all the things taught and shown to us by the world? Is it like what are being advertised to us in many things, about love? No, it is not that kind of love, for that kind of love is often selfish, love that is bound to possessions and material goods, love that is conditional and once spent, then no love is left. Sadly, this is also the reason why there are so much sorrow in the world, of broken families, of abuses in the family, of infighting and jealousy, and many others.

Love, and indeed real love, is not about all these, but is the kind of love which Love Himself, Christ, had shown us. For God is Love, and He had shown us what love really is. His love is true love, genuine and pure, unconditional and gentle. His love does not have any prerequisite, nor does He demand us to give Him something for the love He had shown us. Indeed, He loved us even when we are still sinners, and even laid down His life for us.

St. Paul mentioned in his letter to the Romans, that someone may want to give their life for the just and righteous ones, but very unlikely to do so, for those who are wicked and evil. But Jesus suffered for us, bearing all of our sins, and died for us, laying down His life, even when we are still sinners and wicked (Romans 5:8). And as Jesus had said that the greatest kind of love is for someone to lay down his life for a friend (John 15:13), then we can see indeed how much greater the love God had for us when He chose to lay down His life for us, sinners and evildoers.

God does detest our sins greatly. Sin has no place in His presence, as sin is a taint and corruption, and for He who is perfectly good and pure, sin is completely disgusting. And yet, His love is even greater than His hatred for our sins. He loves us so much that He was willing to endure all those sufferings in order to rescue us from our predicament of sin.

This is the kind of love we should really have with us, and the love we should cherish. For it is through the love of God that we can enjoy a new hope, true peace and real joy which the world and others cannot provide. His love for us is unconditional, and by His coming into the world, that we celebrate in Christmas, He offered Himself, His love and mercy for all of us, so that we may be saved.

But at the same time, we have to be vigilant and be careful, for this world certainly has done much to prevent the love of God from reaching us, as Satan is the Lord of this world, and he has all in his possessions and within his means to tempt us and lead us away from the salvation and love which God freely offers us all. And today, we celebrate the feast of a great and faithful servant of God, who is a devout and courageous defender of the Faith in God.

St. Peter Canisius was a Dutch Jesuit, who lived during the time of the Protestant ‘reformation’, when many of the faithful and the members of the Church were misguided and misled by those who have been corrupted by the lies and the confusion of the evil one. They left the Church and the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ as faithfully kept by the Church and chose to follow their own human desires, greed, selfishness, and other evils in them.

St. Peter Canisius joined the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuit order, which is the spearhead of the Church’s effort at Counter-Reformation, which main goal is to counter the heresy of Protestantism and bring as many souls as possible back to salvation that exists only in the Church of God. He led the effort of Counter-Reformation in what is now Germany, where the effects of the Protestant heresy is at its worst. He preached the true faith, and it was told that his preaching was so effective that hundreds and more returned to the true Faith.

He preached and taught in many places, and he persuaded many to return to the Faith not by coercion or force, but by clear reason and clear understanding of the Faith, and through that clarity in the teaching of the Faith, his words of truth, the truth of God rang deep into the depths of the hearts of many, who were convinced to abandon their heresy and return to the Holy Mother Church.

St. Peter Canisius was very particular in the matter of the education of the Faith to the people, and his most well-known legacy is the three books of Catechism he had written, which are the clear source of the teachings of the Faith, used in many generations and saved countless souls from sins and heresies. That is why his name today is also identical with Catholic education and several Jesuit education institutes adopted his name after he was made saint of the Holy Church.

He was also credited for his great devotion to Mary, and he taught that the best way to the Lord is through His mother Mary, and he was the one who added the response in the Ave Maria or Hail Mary prayer, “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners.” This clearly showed the importance of Mary in the lives of the faithful, for through her intercessions and prayers for us, God our Lord His Son, is most likely to hear our pleas and petitions, and mercy shall be shown us.

Why did St. Peter Canisius do all of these, brothers and sisters in Christ? Why did he go forth and preach to the heretics and those who have been lost to the darkness of the world? That is because of none other than God’s love for us, and His desire that we be found and be gathered again, that we will be lost sheep no more but belonging once more to the one flock of Christ, that is the Church.

The love of God is such, that He, although despising our sins and repelled by our wickedness, endure all of them, and even endure all forms of humiliation and rejection, none less by His own people, the ones whom He was sent to save! And yet, He persevered, out of that eternal and infinite love which He has in Him, for He is Love, and just as He wanted to share that love with us when He created us, thus, He wanted us to be loved by Him even when we have fallen into sin.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, even as we prepare for the Christmas celebrations which will be here in less than a week’s time, and even as we prepare to rejoice together with the whole world and the whole Universal Church at the celebration of the Birth of our Lord Jesus, let us never forget that this event is there in the first place, because of God and His Love for us, that is made real and concrete through His Son Jesus, who performed the act of ultimate love for us, to die for us for our sins on the cross at Calvary.

This Christmas, shall we then ponder at the love God has for us, that He was willing to enter into our world, and indeed into our lives and dwell within us? Let us never forget that Christ is at the heart of Christmas, and at the very heart of that celebration and joy is the Love of God, the eternal and undying love Christ had shown us through the cross, the very purpose of His coming into this world, and thus to liberate us from the chains of sin.

Sin no more, repent, change our ways and be wholeheartedly devoted to God from now on, that this Christmas and the next ones will be decidedly different from the past ones, that this time, we truly understand and fully embrace the love of Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. God bless us all and may St. Peter Canisius intercede for us always with the Blessed Mother of our Lord, Mary our mother. Amen.

 

First Reading :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

 

Epistle (Usus Antiquior) :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/usus-antiquior-fourth-sunday-of-advent-i-classis-sunday-21-december-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel (Usus Antiquior) :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/usus-antiquior-fourth-sunday-of-advent-i-classis-sunday-21-december-2014-holy-gospel/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus.”

“He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the angel left her.

 

Homily and Reflection :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Romans 16 : 25-27

Glory be to God! He is able to give you strength, according to the Good News I proclaim, announcing Christ Jesus. Now is revealed the mysterious plan kept hidden for long ages in the past.

By the will of the eternal God it is brought to light, through the prophetic books, and all nations shall believe the faith proclaimed to them. Glory to God, who alone is wise, through Christ Jesus, forever! Amen.

 

Homily and Reflection :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Psalm 88 : 2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29

I will sing forever, o Lord, of Your love and proclaim Your faithfulness from age to age. I will declare how steadfast is Your love, how firm Your faithfulness.

You said, “I have made a covenant with David, My chosen one; I have made a pledge to My servant. I establish His descendants forever; I build His throne for all generations.”

He will call on me, ‘You are my Father, my God, my Rock, my Saviour.’ I will keep My covenant firm forever, and My love for him will endure.

 

Homily and Reflection :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Fourth Sunday of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

2 Samuel 7 : 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When the king had settled in his palace and YHVH had rid him of all his surrounding enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Look, I live in a house of cedar but the Ark of God is housed in a tent.” Nathan replied, “Do as it seems fit to you for YHVH is with you.”

But that very night, YHVH’s word came to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, this is what YHVH says : Are you able to build a house for Me to live in? I took you from the pasture, from tending the sheep, to make you commander of My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, cutting down all your enemies before you.”

“Now I will make your name great as the name of the great ones on earth. I will provide a place for My people Israel and plant them that they may live there in peace. They shall no longer be harassed, nor shall wicked men oppress them as before. From the time when I appointed judges over My people Israel it is only to you that I have given rest from all your enemies. YHVH also tells you that He will build you a house.”

“When the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your son after you, the one born of you and I will make his reign secure. I will be a Father to him and he shall be My son. Your house and your reign shall last forever before Me, and your throne shall be forever firm.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Offertory

Luke 1 : 28

Ave, Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : Benedicts tu in mulieribus, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui.

English translation

Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Sacrificiis praesentibus, quaesumus, Domine, placatus intende : ut et devotioni nostrae proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Look with favour, we beseech You, o Lord upon these offerings here before You, that they may profit both for our devotion and for our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Communion

Isaiah 7 : 14

Ecce, Virgo concipiet et pariet Filium : et vocabitur Nomen Ejus Emmanuel.

English translation

Behold the Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.

Post-Communion Prayer

Sumptis muneribus, quaesumus, Domine : ut, cum frequentatione mysterii, crescat nostrae salutis effectus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Having received Your gifts, o Lord, we pray that the saving effect of the mystery may increase as we frequent it. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 21 December 2014 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Purple or Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 3 : 1-6

Anno quintodecimo imperii Tiberii Caesaris, procurante Pontio Pilato Judaeam, tetrarcha autem Galilaeae Herode, Philippo autem fratre ejus tetrarcha Ituraeae et Trachonitidis regionis, et Lysania Abilinae tetrarcha, sub principibus sacerdotum Anna et Caipha : factum est verbum Domini super Joannem, Zachariae filium, in deserto.

Et venit in omnem regionem Jordanis, praedicans baptismum paenitentiae in remissionem peccatorum, sicut scriptum est in libro sermonum Isaiae Prophetae : Vox clamantis in deserto : Parate viam Domini : rectas facite semitas ejus : omnis vallis implebitur : et omnis mons et collis humiliabitur : et erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas : et videbit omnis caro salutare Dei.

 

English translation

In the fifteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius, Pontius Pilate is the governor of Judea, and Herod is the tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother is the Tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias is the tetrarch of Abilina, under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zechariah, in the desert.

And he came into all the the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of Isaiah the prophet : “A voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare all of you the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

 

Homily and Reflection :

http://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/19/sunday-21-december-2014-fourth-sunday-of-advent-memorial-of-st-peter-canisius-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-homily-and-scripture-reflections/