Tuesday, 17 December 2019 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we begin entering the seven days period leading to Christmas, with the special liturgical readings from the Scripture that are meant to direct our attention to the One Whom we are celebrating in Christmas. It began therefore with the account from the Book of Genesis in our first reading today of Jacob blessing his sons, with a special blessing to Judah, through whom eventually the Messiah would come into this world.

And in the Gospel passage today we heard from the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew on the long genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, all the way from the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, linked to what we heard from the Book of Genesis, as the Lord descended through Judah, and then to David, the famous King of Israel, through whom God also promised to make the house of David to last forever and to reign as king for eternity.

All these are leading to the coming of Christ, the Messiah or Saviour of the whole world which had been long prophesied and promised. Everything was fulfilled when Christ was born in Bethlehem as prophesied, more than two millennia ago, in a poor and dirty stable, born as the King of Kings and the King of Israel, the Heir of David and the Saviour of all. And this is the essence of true Christmas joy and what we are celebrating, Christ as the focal point of all our celebrations and festivities.

How are we then, brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians, spend our time preparing ourselves for Christmas and its festive season, given that it is now just about one week away? Are we going to do what the rest of the world have been doing all these while, by spending our time shopping and buying the latest Christmas merchandises and goods, by busying ourselves in getting gifts for the celebrations or worrying about what decorations we are going to put up?

We can see just what kind of enormous marketing and advertising going on every year for the Christmas season, endlessly promoting more and more of the secular Christmas cultures and celebrations, all the paraphernalia on Santa Claus, all the Christmas traditions and folklore customs, the fairies and elves, and all sort of things not founded on the true meaning and intention of Christmas.

It is not that we cannot celebrate Christmas as how the world celebrates it. Indeed, if we can spread the joy of Christmas and even spread the true meaning of Christmas by sharing in the joy of this period, then perhaps that will make our Christmas celebrations even more meaningful and wonderful, not just for ourselves but also for others, even for those who do not belong to the Church.

The issue here is that we should not allow ourselves to be swallowed up by the excessive consumerism and materialism that are behind the secular celebrations and festivities surrounding the worldly Christmas. We should not be affected or swayed by the temptations to seek more pleasures and happiness for ourselves, by vying for the best Christmas gifts or celebrations, and most importantly, as we have discussed earlier, our celebration must be centred on Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we quickly approach the time of Christmas this year, are we able to challenge ourselves that we may celebrate Christmas this year with full understanding of its true purpose and intention, its meaning and truth? Are we able to celebrate Christmas with newfound love for God and dedicate ourselves to Him anew beginning from now if we have not done so?

And now, let our Christmas joy be complete, as we turn ourselves away from the meaninglessness and futility of the worldly pursuits of glory, happiness and satisfaction in all the sorts of things that the world has always promoted, and instead, let us all turn towards the Lord with all of our heart and love Him from now on with all of our strength. May God be with us all and guide us through this journey of faith, that from now on, Christmas will truly be a blessed celebration of God’s love for us. Amen.