Wednesday, 1 December 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 Scriptures, we are presented with the accounts of God’s love and presence, His providence and genuine care for each one of us. God has reminded us all of this fact as we embark on this Advent journey, preparing ourselves in our hearts and minds to welcome the Lord into our existence and lives. Thus, we are all called to renew our love for Him and our faith in Him, remembering just how much He has loved us first.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah in which we heard how God promised His people through Isaiah that He will always provide for them and that He will bring about His salvation and eternal happiness to those whom He loves. He will gather them all from among the nations and bless them, where they shall have no more fear and doubt, as they enter into the kingdom that God has prepared for all of them. This is the assurance that the Lord had given to all of us.

At that time, the prophet Isaiah was ministering to the people of the kingdom of Judah, who had suffered for a long time under oppression and wars from their neighbours and other great powers. The old days of great glory of the kingdom of David and Solomon were long gone, and their very existence as a nation and people was under a great threat, just as how the northern kingdom of Israel, composed of the ten separated tribes oft the Israelites, had been crushed and destroyed by the Assyrians.

The same Assyrians also almost did the same to the kingdom of Judah, having brought their full might to Jerusalem, besieging it and almost conquering it if not for the Lord’s most gracious intervention. The Lord listened to the prayers of his faithful, the king of Judah, Isaiah, who himself was also there and the people of Judah, sending His Angel to wipe out the entire mighty army of the Assyrian king overnight. Thus, God saved His people and provided for their need at the hour of their greatest need, showing His love and dedication to us.

In today’s Gospel passage we then heard of the works of the Lord Jesus, Our Saviour, Who had been sent into this world to be the bearer of our salvation. The Lord Jesus healed many people and performed many wonders, and He taught the people with such authority, bringing them message of the Good News and the salvation in God, that many flocked to Him, in the thousands and more even though He was doing His works in the wilderness far from the cities and towns, because of the opposition from the Jewish leaders.

And it was also there that the Lord performed one of His most well known miracles, when He fed the multitudes of people gathered there, with just a few loaves of bread, seven of them, and a few small fishes. There were thousands of people over there, and that have not even counted the women and children that came along as well. The Lord again showed us all His love and providence, in caring for the needs of those who have sought Him and wanted to be with Him. He blessed them, gave them food and nourishment, breaking the bread and miraculously giving them enough food to satisfy the whole multitude.

This is part of the fulfilment of what we have heard earlier on from the passage of the prophet Isaiah, of God fulfilling His promise to provide for the needs of His beloved ones. And yet, this was not the only thing that God would about to give us. He did not just feed His people with food and make them physically nourished and satisfied, but even more importantly, He gave them spiritual nourishment and provision through His Good News and truth. And that is just a foretaste of what all of us shall receive in the end, in the everlasting kingdom of glory, the heavenly joy that the saints and martyrs already enjoys in their beatific vision and graceful state.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore as we listened to these words of the Scriptures, and as we are reminded of the love and faithfulness of God that He has shown to us all these while. The Lord has provided for us and He is always ever concerned about us, and wanting to gather us all into His loving presence. But more often than not, we are really very stubborn in refusing to listen to Him and obey Him. We prefer to follow our own paths and trust in our own flawed judgments without contemplating God’s Wisdom and guidance.

Nowadays, all of us are faced with many tough challenges and trials in life. This year and the past year we have faced a lot of uncertainties and many among us had experienced suffering and even loss of our loved ones due to the impact of this still ongoing pandemic, not withstanding its impacts on the economy and our society. Many among us face depression and many are struggling on daily basis, with the end of suffering nowhere in sight yet. Many of us are worried if our livelihood will be alright and if tomorrow will be good for us. This is where we need to have more trust in the Lord, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us not doubt God’s providence any longer. He has always been with us from the very beginning and all throughout our darkest moments. But we are often too busy and too distracted by our many fears, concerns, insecurities and doubts that we ended up not realising that God has been with us, journeying with us and providing us all that we need along our journey. He sent us our fellow brethren whom we meet along the way to encourage us and strengthen us, and that is often how God works wonders in His most mysterious ways.

Therefore, all of us are called and challenged to be loving Christians in our every actions and in our every interactions with one another. We are all called to bring hope to each other, to strengthen and accompany one another, especially those who are depressed and downtrodden, all those who had no one to cheer them up and to journey with them. Let us all do whatever we can to remind each other that God is always by our side, and through each one of us, He has also shown His companionship and love, through how we as Christians care for our fellow brethren in need.

Let this Advent season be a time of reminder for each one of us that we prepare ourselves not just to celebrate Christmas but also to truly welcome the Lord into our hearts, by devoting our time, effort and attention to live a most wholesome and genuine Christian life, for each and every one of us to do whatever we can to serve the Lord, and to be faithful and obedient to Him, at all times. May God be with us all and may He strengthen us in faith, and give us the gift of Hope and Wisdom, that we will always stay faithful to His path, always. Amen.

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