Friday, 6 December 2019 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Nicholas, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Bishops)

Matthew 9 : 27-31

At that time, as Jesus moved on from the place where He resurrected the daughter of the official, two blind men followed Him, shouting, “Son of David, help us!” When He was about to enter the house, the blind men caught up with Him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do what you want?” They answered, “Yes, Sir!”

Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “As you have believed, so let it be.” And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus gave them a stern warning, “Be careful that no one knows about this.” But as soon as they went away, they spread the news about Him through the whole area.

Friday, 6 December 2019 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Nicholas, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Bishops)

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Friday, 6 December 2019 : 1st Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Nicholas, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Bishops)

Isaiah 29 : 17-24

In a very short time, Lebanon will become a fruitful field and the fruitful field will be as a forest. On that day the deaf will hear the words of the book, and out of the dark and obscurity the eyes of the blind will see. The meek will find joy and the poor among men will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

For the tyrant will be no more and the scoffers gone forever, and all who plan to do evil will be cut down – those who by a word make you guilty, those who for a bribe can lay a snare and send home the just empty-handed.

Therefore YHVH, Abraham’s Redeemer, speaks concerning the people of Jacob : No longer will Jacob be ashamed; no longer will his face grow pale. When he sees the work of My hands, his children again in his midst, they will sanctify My Name, they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in spirit will understand; those who murmur will learn.

Thursday, 5 December 2019 : 1st Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are all reminder through the readings from the Scripture that we have heard, to put our trust and faith in the Lord and to build our lives upon the strong foundation of our faith in Him. And especially during this blessed and holy season and time of Advent, all of us should refocus and redirect our lives and attention on the Lord, away from all sorts of distractions in life.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord reminding us of this through His teachings using the parable of the foundations, in which He used the comparisons between two houses built on two different foundations to drive His point to us. One of the foundations was that of sand, while the other foundation was of solid rock. The house that was built on sand did not last and was destroyed easily while the one built on rock remained firm.

This is a metaphor used to compare our dependence on either God or on the things of this world, with rock referring to the solid foundation of our faith founded upon the Lord and His Church, and the foundation of sand referring to the dependance on worldly things like money, status, fame, glory, pleasures of life among many others. To put our trust in the Lord is logically and truthfully therefore is the better choice.

However, this is where the parable also reminds us all that to be a disciple and follower of the Lord will not be something that is easy or trivial, but instead, we must be prepared and expect hardships, challenges and difficulties along our journey of faith and life. This is just how building a firm and solid foundation of rock is much more difficult, time consuming and challenging than building the foundation made of sand. This means that to be a disciple of Christ, it is likely that we will need to put in a lot more than if we just follow the ways of this world.

And exactly because of that, this season of Advent we are called to reflect on our lives and our actions thus far, how we have lived this life all these while. Have we led a life that is in accordance to the will of God or have we instead lived lives the way we want it to be, as how the world has often showed and taught us? Have we expected that the life of our Christian discipleship must be an easy one and therefore been idle in living our lives faithfully thus far?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in our world today, we are getting even more and more challenges in life, and it is getting ever more challenging to be faithful to the truth of the Gospel of Christ. There are many temptations present in this world and in this life which often swayed many among us away from the path that the Lord has led us into, and instead, many among us are tempted to follow the path of ambition, desire and selfishness, the path that many of us are well aware and accustomed to.

Now, all of us are challenged to be true disciples of the Lord, not just in name but also in the fullness of our faith. We are all called to put our faith and trust in the Lord even though the path forward if we choose to walk down this path may indeed be quite more difficult than otherwise. But the Lord also assured us at the same time that all those who put their faith in Him, even though their lives and path may be difficult, but they can indeed be assured of a strong and truly firm support and foundation in the Lord.

Let us all make use of this opportunity that the Lord has provided for us, during this blessed season of Advent, that we may indeed turn to the Lord with a new faith and with a new conviction to live our lives following the path that the Lord has shown us from now on. May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen us in our resolve to follow the path He has shown us. Amen.