Tuesday, 18 December 2018 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continue the discourse on the coming of the hope for the people of God, in the Messiah promised by the Lord, which is the core of our Christmas joy and celebrations. We heard from the prophet Jeremiah the prophecy of the coming of the Saviour, a King of the line of David, Who would be the One to save His people, reunite and gather them back from the many places where they had been exiled to.

In order to understand better how significant the words of the prophet Jeremiah were, we must know the context in which the prophet spoke to the people of God, at that time when the last kingdom of the Israelites was on the verge of collapse and destruction. For the prophet Jeremiah was active during the last years of the kingdom of Judah, the southern half of the ancient kingdom of Israel of David and Solomon. At that time, the northern kingdom, also called Israel, had been destroyed decades earlier by the Assyrians.

The people of the northern kingdom has been brought into exile by the Assyrians, their lands taken over by pagans and foreigners brought in to replace the Israelites exiled to the faraway lands of Mesopotamia and beyond. And then, at the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the Babylonians were rising in power, and were threatening the people of Judah. They had lived at the mercy of their neighbours, and having seen the fate of their northern brethren, they too, would have feared destruction of their kingdom and exile from their homeland.

Unfortunately, the same fate would befall the people of Judah, because they and their king refused to believe in God and refused to listen to the word of God as spoken through the prophet Jeremiah. The kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians, and the city of Jerusalem together with its Holy Temple was destroyed. The people of Judah was brought into exile in Babylon just like their northern brethren.

Thus, if we read through the book of the prophet Jeremiah, we can see how all these have been predicted and prophesied by the prophet, and how much of his prophecy is about the upcoming doom for Judah and its people because of their sins. However, as the segment of the book that became our first reading passage today showed us, God also showed His love and faithfulness to His people, by revealing through Jeremiah, the salvation and liberation that He would bring them.

God had loved His people many times, and again, and again, He rescued them from their troubles and difficulties, beginning with the Israelites, the people God first chose, by liberating them from their slavery in Egypt, by the Egyptians and their Pharaoh. And then, after the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem mentioned earlier, God would move the heart of the King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, to free the people of God and allow them to return to their homeland.

But God’s people were still then not free, as in the end, in all we have discussed earlier today, we have seen how the disobedience of man have caused our own downfall, because disobedience against God breeds sin, and sin leads to death and damnation in hell, unless we are freed from this slavery to sin and the tyranny of death. And it is God alone Who can free us from sin and death. He alone can forgive us our sins.

That is why, He fulfilled all of His promises and renewed the Covenant He made with us all, through the coming of His Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Beloved Son He sent into the world, the Divine Word Incarnate, to be born of the family of St. Joseph, the heir of David. St. Joseph was a direct descendant and likely the direct heir of David, as the rightful successor of the last king of Judah.

And even though the Lord Jesus was not born from St. Joseph, but directly by the power of the Holy Spirit, but as the legal father according to the law of the Israelites, Jesus was the legal Son of St. Joseph, and thus, fulfilling God’s promise to His people, He is the Son and Heir of David promised as the King Who was to come. Jesus is the King Who was promised, and the King Who would gather all of the people of God, every single children of Adam, to be reunited with God.

It is this joy in the fulfilment of the promises God had made, the perfect sign of His love for us, His faithfulness to the Covenant He made with us, that is the true meaning of our Christmas joy. This is why we rejoice this Christmas, and not because it is a good holiday season, or a time for shopping or revelries and festivities, but because Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, has come into this world, and will come again, to gather us all, to be worthy to enter into the eternal glory and joy in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we ready then to celebrate Christmas? It is just a week away from the date of Christmas, and if we are not yet ready to do so, then we should do all that we can to prepare ourselves. And preparing ourselves does not mean doing all the Christmas decorations and preparing for the parties we are going to have, but rather, preparing ourselves spiritually and in our whole being, that we are properly attuned to the true spirit of Christmas.

Let us all go to confession when we are still able to, to prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming in joy. Let us be reconciled with God, and therefore, we will be able to welcome the Lord with the fullness of joy, no longer burdened by sin. And let us all heed the past precedents and examples, of the downfall of Judah and its people, to rectify our own way of life, and turn ourselves from sin, devoting ourselves to God from now on.

May the Lord continue to guide us on our way and bless us, now and forevermore. May God be with us, and may He bless us in our preparations for the true joy of Christmas in Him. Amen.

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