Monday, 29 November 2021 : 1st Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are all reminded to have faith in the Lord, in Whom alone is our salvation and glory, and through Whom we shall receive true happiness and joy, true satisfaction and fulfilment, for the Lord is our Hope and our Light, the Light of our salvation and our redemption. As we enter into this season of Advent, we are all called to reflect on this truth and redirect our attention to the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King.

Today in our first reading we heard from the passage in the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which the Lord spoke to Isaiah regarding the coming of God and His salvation to His people, Israel and all the nations, in the vision that He has given to Isaiah, then a prophet working in the kingdom of Judah. At that time, the land of Judah was in turmoil and far from its past glory days during the glorious reigns of King David and King Solomon. The northern kingdom of Israel had been crushed by the Assyrians and their king, and its cities destroyed, its population mostly brought away into exile in far-off land.

Then the kingdom of Judah was also attacked by the same Assyrians, just as they had endured centuries of humiliation and hardships under attack from their neighbours and other great powers of the region. The kingdom and people of Judah themselves would later on be crushed by the Babylonians over a century after the time of the prophet Isaiah, due to their continued disobedience of God and refusal to repent from their sinful ways. But as we heard from the words of the Scriptures today, that despite all these, God actually still loved His people.

He loves all of us and although we are sinners, He does not despise us, but rather our many sins. The fact that He still sent His prophets, messengers and many others to His people, including that of Isaiah and speaking the words that we have heard today, the promises of the coming of God’s glory and kingdom, the coming of His salvation and days of rule over all the nations are proof enough that God cares for all of us, without exception. Had He despised all of us, He could have erased us all from existence and condemned us all immediately into hell without giving any of us a chance for repentance and forgiveness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is an important truth that we must realise as we enter into this holy season and time of Advent, a time for purification and reorientation of our lives, a time for discernment and self-introspection that we may find our path in life going forward, ever closer to God. We must have faith in Him and hold on fast to that hope and faith that we have in Him, and believe that in God alone is our salvation, and that He alone is our Hope and our desire, through our repentance and the forgiveness of our many sins.

In our Gospel passage today that we have heard earlier on, we should be inspired by the faith of the army centurion or the officer whom the Lord met in His way. The army centurion had heard about the Lord and His miracles and power, and being an army officer, he likely must have been a Roman, whom as an officer was an even more prestigious member of the community. As a high-ranking persona, he had no need to humble himself, and yet that was exactly what he did before the Lord and everyone.

He asked the Lord to heal his beloved servant, who was very sick to the point of death, and he believed wholeheartedly that the Lord has the power to heal his servant. His faith was such that he did not need to see or witness the Lord performing the healing, and humbling himself before the Lord by saying that he was unworthy to welcome the Lord in his house, likely due to the common belief among the Jews at the time that one should not enter the house of a Gentile or risk becoming impure, the army officer asked the Lord to say and to command that everything is to be as He said.

This was a genuine faith that the army centurion had in the Lord, believing without even seeing the action, as compared to many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who had seen many of the miracles and yet, still refused to believe and stubbornly opposing the Lord and His works. The Lord then praised his faith and commanded that everything be as He said, and true enough, later on the army centurion’s servant was healed, and it was likely that after this, the army centurion’s faith in the Lord became even firmer.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to have the same faith as showed by the army centurion? Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly in the same way, to believe in Him and the Hope that He has brought unto us, and not be distracted by the many temptations found in this world? We are all challenged to have deeper faith in the Lord and to discern our path in life as we enter this blessed season of Advent, so that we may truly be ready to welcome the Lord, not just for Christmas, but for the time when He comes again one day, to claim us all as His own.

Let us all make our Advent season to be a blessed and most fruitful one, by committing ourselves anew to Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, the perfect manifestation of God’s Love in our midst. Let us seek the Lord wholeheartedly and sincerely repent from our sinful ways, abandoning our wicked and evil ways and desires, turning away from those and be reconciled with our most loving God and Father. May God bless us always and may He remain with us, now and forevermore. Amen.

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