Wednesday, 20 December 2017 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we are just a few days away from Christmas, we are reminded yet again by the readings taken from the Scriptures, speaking to us about the reason of our Christmas joy and celebrations. Christmas is truly about Christ, Who was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother two millennia ago in Bethlehem.

In the first reading today, we heard the prophet Isaiah in his interaction with the king Ahaz of Judah to whom God asked for him to request for a divine sign. What we have heard in that passage might be strange to us if we do not understand the context in which it had happened. If we read more about the king and the history of the kingdom of Judah in the Book of Kings and the Chronicles, then we will know that many of the kings of Judah had not been faithful to the Lord unlike David, their forefather.

Many of them had misled the people entrusted to them, and instead of obeying God and His commandments as instructed, they chose to worship the pagan gods and idols of their neighbours. Despite the works of the prophets who were sent to them, calling them to repent from their sins, many of the people persisted in their wicked ways and did not repent. They did not have faith in God, but rather in their own human intellect, strength and power.

That was why, when king Ahaz refused a sign from God, saying that he did not want to put God to the test, he was being hypocritical and not being humble or obedient as we might have thought otherwise. When on one hand he seemed to be humble by refusing to ask for a sign from God and testing God, but on the other hand, through his actions, king Ahaz as well as his ancestors had tried the patience of God many times, by their sins and disobedience.

Yet, we come to the essence of Christmas itself, as God Himself is always ever faithful to the Covenant which He had established with us mankind, and the love He has always had for each and every one of us. Christmas is about love, and not just about any kind of love the world knew, but the love of God made Man in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, Our Lord and God.

His coming into this world was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah, to show that while we mankind had repeatedly disobeyed, betrayed and abandoned God, but God is ever faithful, and He would show them the ultimate sign and proof of His love, which was fulfilled in Jesus. The Archangel Gabriel who appeared to Mary in our Gospel passage today declared the complete fulfilment of this prophecy, as the Messiah was finally to be born into the world.

And indeed, if we reflect more deeply on today’s Scripture passages, we should immediately notice the contrast between the responses made by king Ahaz of Judah and by Mary, the mother of God. While king Ahaz refused to listen to God or to obey Him, Mary on the other hand listened to the Lord, and despite the uncertainty and fears that must have been in her mind and heart at the time, she devoted herself completely in obedience.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we approach Christmas, let us all realise that God has given us free will to choose whether we want to obey Him or to disobey Him. Thus, now, shall we choose wisely and pick the side of God, as Mary has done? Mary is the perfect role model for our faith, and by following her examples, we can only draw closer to the Lord and find our best and most straight way towards Him.

Let us imitate her humility and devotion to God, her righteous life and obedience to God’s will. By doing so, we will be able to truly appreciate the meaning of Christmas, as a celebration of God’s love. Let us therefore, be loving just as Our God has loved us, and show tender care and compassion for our fellow brothers and sisters, especially to those who are in need, and those who have little to spare for themselves that they too, may be able to rejoice in our celebrations as well.

May our upcoming Christmas celebrations be truly joyful and wonderful for the right reasons, and may through the grace of God, we find true peace and harmony in this wonderful time, as we rejoice for the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, by Whose birth this world and its people have received salvation. Amen.

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