Saturday, 18 December 2021 : 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.

Saturday, 18 December 2021 : 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.

Saturday, 18 December 2021 : 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!”

Friday, 17 December 2021 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the moment when we are just one week away from Christmas. We are therefore being expressly reminded of why we celebrate Christmas and what we are preparing for in this season and time of Advent. It is important that we really understand this so that we may enter into the great celebrations and joy of Christmas with the right intention and the right purpose, that we may appreciate truly the true meaning of Christmas.

We have heard from our Scripture passages today the truth about the identity of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, born into this world as the Son and Heir of Adam, Abraham and David, as prominently highlighted in our Gospel passage today, in the entire genealogy or lineage of our Lord Himself from the very first days of mankind in Adam and through to his descendants, and to Abraham, the father of nations, and then through Israel and to David, the great King of Israel, to whom the Lord had promised that his kingdom and house would last forever.

Then in our first reading passage today we heard how Jacob, also known as Israel, was giving his last words and wishes, and blessings to all of his sons. He gave them his last exhortation and words of God’s wisdom, and it was at that very same occasion that Jacob spoke peculiarly regarding Judah, one of his sons, saying that the sceptre of power and rule shall remain in Judah, and how the reign over the people of God shall remain in his house forever, a promise that came true as David, the great king of Israel was born from the tribe of Judah, to whom God renewed the same promises He had made.

The Lord Jesus was thus born into the House of David, as His long promised Heir, born into the family of Joseph, the heir-general of King David, the foster-father of the Lord. It is through the Lord Jesus, Son of God Most High and Son of Man alike that God has revealed fully His intentions to us, His everlasting and enduring love for each and every one of us. God gave us all His only begotten Son that through Him and His actions, His perfect obedience and the ultimate loving sacrifice that He would make and offer on the Cross, God would be reconciled with us and we shall see His glory and receive true joy from Him.

That is why as we enter into this final stretch of the Advent season, we are all called to spend the time to reflect carefully on how we have been preparing ourselves to welcome the Lord at Christmas. For Christmas is not just merely a celebration of the Lord’s historical coming into this world, but even more importantly, is the celebration of the Light and Hope that He has brought upon each and every one of us, His people, who are still living in the darkness of this world. He has come into our midst, bearing forth His love manifested before us, that we may see and come to know of God’s love for us.

Have we loved God in the same way as He has loved us, brothers and sisters in Christ? God has always ever generously extended His love and compassion towards us, but we often disregarded His love and ignored Him. How many of us have not even factored Him into our celebrations? In our preparations to celebrate Christmas, with all its joyous activities. We must not forget that the Lord must be at the centre of all of our joy and festivities in Christmas. After all, it was God’s most wondrous gift to us that He had given us to redeem us and to bring us once again back into His loving embrace.

Many of us do not really know or understand the true significance of Christmas, and this became serious obstacle preventing us from being able to celebrate Christmas worthily and meaningfully. Too many of us are focused too much on the festivities and merrymaking that we treat it just like another holiday and time to celebrate. Many of us have also forgotten what Christmas truly means, and in the way we celebrate it, we focus excessively and model our celebrations after the secular Christmas commemorations which are plenty all over around us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore make the effort from this day onwards to reorientate ourselves around our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Let us love Him and serve Him ever more faithfully with each and every passing moments. Let us also make our upcoming Christmas celebrations one that is truly focused on Our Lord and one that is really worthy of welcoming the Lord into our midst, as we must remember that Christmas is not just about celebrating our Lord’s historical coming into this world, but more importantly is about welcoming Him into our hearts, into our families and homes.

May the Lord continue to guide us in all of our endeavours, and help us as we continue to journey through this season of Advent, that we may come to celebrate His upcoming Nativity with great joy and true understanding of how much He has loved us all these while, and how by His coming into our midst at Christmas, He has shown us a new Hope and Light, to dispel the darkness and despair of our lives. May God bless us always, now and evermore. Amen.