Tuesday, 19 December 2017 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scripture passages speaking to us about two faithful servants of God, one from the Old and one other from the New Testament times respectively. We heard today the circumstances that happened before their birth, and how their birth and lives were announced by Angels who appeared to their parents, declaring what they would do to glorify God.

In the first reading today we heard about the Judge of Israel, Samson, who was renowned for his great strength and victories against the Philistines who oppressed the people of Israel. The people disobeyed God and worshipped the pagan gods. Then God withdrew His might and that allowed the Philistines to oppress the Israelites and inflict grievous sufferings on them. But God did not abandon His people, for He still loved them, and He gave them a deliverer in Samson.

Ever since his conception, Samson has been consecrated to God, as a servant of God, and the Angel said that he was not to cut his hair or to consume strong drinks, as was common for all those who dedicated their lives to God at that time, also called the Nazirites. And God was with Samson throughout his life, giving him massive strength with which he liberated the Israelites from the Philistine oppression.

Similarly, in the Gospel today we heard about St. John the Baptist, whose conception and birth was also announced by the Angel to his father, Zechariah in the Temple of God. St. John the Baptist would also be dedicated and consecrated to God since he was in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, living a life completely dedicated to God. St. John the Baptist was to become the herald of the Messiah, announcing the arrival of the Saviour of the world and calling the people to repentance to prepare the way for Him.

Through the story of these two devoted servants of God, who in their own respective ways lived faithfully and obeyed the missions entrusted to them, all of us as Christians should be inspired to walk in their footsteps. This is especially appropriate considering that we are in the middle of the season of Advent, as we prepare ourselves to be able to celebrate Christmas properly and worthily.

Let us remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place, that it is all because of God and His great love for each and every one of us, the sons and daughters of man. It is a celebration about God and His love for us, which He had made truly real and concrete, through the embodiment of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine made Flesh, God Who assumed the flesh of Man, that He would become both God and Man, and it is this mystery that we celebrate in Christmas, of God made Man and born into the world.

And as Christians, meaning as those who believe in Christ as Our Lord and Saviour, we should truly understand the true joy of Christmas, and we ought to share this joy with one another, by becoming witnesses of the Gospel and the Good News of Christ, much as what the two servants of God had shown, namely Samson and St. John the Baptist. All of us should be inspired by their courageous faith and commitment, and we should also do the same with our lives.

That means, our Christmas celebrations should be one where we share our joy and blessings with others, especially those who have little or none with themselves which makes it hard for them to be able to rejoice as we are. Rather than focusing on the material aspects of our celebrations, as the world often promotes, let us make our Christmas a celebration that is truly Christ-centred and meaningful, because we embody the spirit of Christmas, that is love.

By loving our brethren in need, and sharing with them our joys, we have lived our faith in accordance to what God had taught us. And through all these, we will eventually grow stronger in our faith, and we will grow to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas ever more. May we have a good season of Advent, to prepare for a truly wonderful Christmas from now onwards. May God bless us all. Amen.

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