Thursday, 16 December 2021 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listen to the words of the Lord contained in the Sacred Scriptures, we are yet again reminded repeatedly as we have often been throughout this season of Advent, to recall the great love that God has shown us, the mercy and grace that He has bestowed upon us throughout our lives, all the opportunities and chances that He has given us. He has always been so kind and generous to us, but it is we who often disregarded His kindness and love, spurned His mercy and generosity.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah we heard of the words of encouragement of the Lord Who reminded His people that His love is always upon them and that they are always His precious and beloved ones no matter what. He reminded them all, who have faced sufferings and challenges, trials and tribulations that they endured, how all of those will pass and they will once again enjoy the bounty of God’s grace and blessings. He calls on all of them to have faith in Him and to entrust themselves in His love.

God will not abandon His faithful ones and He will always care for them and provide for them, just as He has repeatedly done in the past, throughout our history. He has always loved us despite the many less than faithful attitudes that we have shown Him, our stubbornness and constant refusal to embrace His love, compassion and mercy. He still loves us even though we have sinned and disobeyed Him, and sent us all the promised Saviour, His own most beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, to save us from our fated destruction and to free us from facing the fate of eternal damnation.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the mention of St. John the Baptist by the Lord Himself, Who spoke wonderfully about the one who had come before Him to prepare His way among the people of God. St. John the Baptist was indeed the Herald of the Messiah, the one prophesied to usher in the time of God’s great grace and salvation. He did all he could, obeying the mission entrusted to him, so that the people who heard him and his cries for repentance may realise their sinfulness and need for God’s mercy and forgiveness, and therefore seek to be reconciled to Him.

By speaking of St. John the Baptist and by affirming and praising his efforts, the Lord Himself has also reassured us that His time of grace and salvation has come upon us, and He has fulfilled the promises which He had made earlier through His many prophets and messengers. He would not abandon all of us in the darkness, but will always do His best to reach out to us and to gather us to Himself. That is why God gave us the sure path to eternal life and sent us His Son, the reason why we celebrate in the upcoming Christmas season, and why we prepare ourselves this time of Advent, to prepare our hearts, our minds and our whole beings to welcome the Lord.

That is why we are reminded today, that as we progress through this season of Advent we must really spend the time to reflect on what Christmas truly means to all of us, and how we are going to celebrate it. Are we going to give in to the excesses of Christmas merrymaking and celebrations and end up making it into a celebration of our own ego and desires, rather than to celebrate it for its true meaning and importance to us? The Lord’s coming into our midst in this world is the true significance of Christmas as because of that, all of us have hope once again through Him.

It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas most joyfully and indeed, we should celebrate it to the best of our ability, but we must always centre everything on the Lord, the One Whose birth is what Christmas is all about. We rejoice not because we like all the parties and celebrations, and not because we expect the finest food and things, gifts and presents, but because we know that through the Lord we have seen His light and hope, that in the darkness of our world, God’s light will still triumph together with us. That is the true essence of Christmas, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us all therefore make good use of these remaining few days of Advent to carefully reflect and discern if we are truly ready to celebrate Christmas worthily and properly, and we should do our best to prepare ourselves if we are not yet ready to welcome the Lord with all of our heart. And let us also share the joy we have through Christ, our Christmas joy with one another, especially when there are just so many people out there who may now be suffering or sorrowful, and our brothers and sisters out there who may not be able to celebrate Christmas the way we are celebrating it. May God be with us all always, and may He bless each and every one of us, now and forevermore. Amen.

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