Friday, 18 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture readings today as we are getting closer to the celebration of Christmas, we are being reminded of the Lord’s promise of salvation, and how He would lead His people with love once again just as He has once saved them with great might. We heard of the promise of liberation and rescue that the Lord has given His people through the prophet Jeremiah, and its fulfilment in our Gospel today, as the Lord proclaimed the Good News of His salvation through His Angel, Gabriel.

The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the Lord Who would once again save His people from their predicament and sufferings, from their humiliations and downfall, and He would raise them up once again, bless them and lead them down the right path. This promise was indeed significant because at that time, the people of God had been scattered, and many of them had been exiled from their lands, first for most of the ten northern tribes by the Assyrians, and then many among the people of Judah when the Babylonians came and carried out many of the prominent members of the community into exile.

At that time, the people’s morale had been at an all-time low, as they had fallen deep into darkness and despair. They had disobeyed the Lord and refused to believe in Him and in the prophets that had been sent to them to call them to repent. And thus the Lord spoke to them yet again through Jeremiah, reminding them that He would save them all still, despite their disobedience, for ultimately, we all must realise that God truly loves each and every one of us, His beloved people.

Jeremiah was persecuted and opposed because of all that he spoke of, of the ruin of Jerusalem and Judah because of the people’s sins, and everything came to be true, as the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem, its Temple and the whole kingdom of Judah, and led the rest of the people into exile just as the Lord had spoken and revealed through the prophets earlier on. And then, as He has promised, He brought them all back to their lands once again, rescuing them and leading them back to their homeland, and allowing them to regain their honour.

But that did not actually mark the end of what God had revealed through Jeremiah. Instead, it was just a preliminary action and precursor to what He would then do, not just to save the people of Israel, but even more importantly, He would save all of mankind, all the children of Adam and Eve, all those who had been beloved by Him. Just as He has liberated the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, and just as He has liberated their descendants from the slavery in Babylon, thus God wanted to liberate all of His beloved children.

Thus, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Whose coming was proclaimed in our Gospel today by the Archangel Gabriel to Joseph, the descendant of David, all of us have been saved and have seen the salvation of God. The Lord through His Angel has reassured St. Joseph when he found out that Mary, his fiancee had been with a Child before their marriage, that he had nothing to fear and that all that happened was because of the fulfilment of His promises to save His people through the Son to be born of Mary.

And that Son is the reason why we celebrate joyfully in Christmas. We rejoice together because Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God Most High has come into the world and manifested God’s great love and wonders, and thanks to Him, we can hope and be glad and joyful once again. Once we have to endure the humiliation and the horrible consequences and effects for our sins, but through Christ, we have a real solution and way out of the darkness and into the light.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having seen the Lord’s salvation and His genuine love for us in Christ, His beloved Son, what are we then going to do in order to prepare ourselves well for the proper and appropriate celebration of Christmas? Are we going to just continue to celebrate it like just every other year, and like how the world often observe and celebrate it? Or are we going to elevate our celebration by rejoicing in the true joy of Christmas that we find in Christ alone?

Let us all prepare ourselves well for the joyful celebration of Christmas that our joy may truly be complete and full in Christ. Let us all share this same joy with one another, especially with our less fortunate brethren, all those who have suffered and been sorrowful, and strengthen them with the love and hope of Christ. Let us all be the bearers of the true Light of Christmas in our society, through our every faithful actions and deeds. Amen.

Friday, 18 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 1 : 18-24

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to disgrace her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, she has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ fo He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means : God-with-us. When Joseph awoke, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home.

Friday, 18 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 12-13, 18-19

God, endow the King with Your justice, the royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted, with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor; He saves the lives of the poor.

Praised be YHVH, God of Israel, Who alone, works so marvellously. Praised be His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory! Amen. Amen.

Friday, 18 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Jeremiah 23 : 5-8

YHVH further says, “The day is coming when I will raise up a King Who is David’s righteous successor. He will rule wisely and govern with justice and righteousness. That will be a grandiose era when Judah will enjoy peace and Israel will live in safety. He will be called YHVH-Our-Justice!”

“The days are coming,” says YHVH, “when people shall no longer swear by YHVH as the Living God Who freed the people of Israel from the land of Egypt. Rather, they will swear by YHVH as the Living God Who restored the descendants of Israel from the northern empire and from all the lands where He had driven them, to live again in their own land!”