Tuesday, 29 November 2016 : 1st Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture passages and readings we have heard revealed to us that we truly live in a time of grace, not quite as what we heard in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah yet, but it is a time of grace because we have all heard and received the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we have received through the Church, that is from our priests and bishops, who in turn received it from the Apostles who received it from the Lord Himself.

In the Gospel today, Jesus prayed and thanked the Father for revealing His truth to those whom He deemed worthy of it, not based on the standards of the world, but based on their own faith. Those who were intelligent and had the worldly knowledge then, for example the Pharisees, the elders, chief priests, the scribes and the teachers of the Law all rejected Jesus because they refused to abandon their mistaken way of thinking and embrace the Lord’s teachings.

It was all the normal people, the commoners and all those who were deemed to be uneducated, and even many of those regarded as sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes who actually accepted Jesus as their Lord and listened to Him. Those who have sinned regretted their sinful ways and turned back towards the Lord in sincere repentance. They welcomed the Lord into their midst and they were saved.

What we heard in the Gospel today also pointed out to what great privilege we have for having heard the message of God’s salvation and Good News. Many people before the Lord came had hoped for a long time to be able to receive God’s assurance of salvation and Good News but were not able to. We have received the Good News through the Church, and yet sadly there are those among us who do not appreciate what a great grace we have received.

In this time and season of Advent therefore, it is appropriate and important for us to get ourselves properly prepared and ready for the Lord, that when we come to our celebration of Christmas, we can celebrate it meaningfully, purposefully and then it will benefit us in our way towards the Lord and in our effort to seek salvation in Him.

Have we put our focus and attention on Christ for this coming Christmas? Are our plans for the celebrations putting Christ at the centre of all? We have to understand that if our focus is wrong, then our joy and celebrations will feel empty, as there is something missing from all of them, something that all those kings and prophets were looking for and waiting for, and yet they were not able to get what we now have received through Christ.

This season of Advent is a time for us to take stock of our actions and how we have lived our lives. It is a time for us to reflect and take some time to prepare ourselves spiritually and mentally so that we may appreciate just how great is the grace we have received through Christ and His coming into the world, which is what this Christmas celebration is precisely about.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to the Lord anew and devote ourselves ever more to Him, listening to His words in the Scripture and understanding His ways through the teachings of the Church. Let us all deepen our spiritual life through prayer and devotions to Him, and be ready for a wonderful celebration of Christmas, commemorating the birth and entry of our Lord Jesus into this world. May God bless us all. Amen.

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