Tuesday, 21 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 1 : 39-45

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 32 : 2-3, 11-12, 20-21

Give thanks to YHVH on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises. Amid loud shouts of joy, sing to Him a new song and play the ten-stringed harp.

But His plan stands forever, and His heart’s design, through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH – the people He has chosen for His inheritance.

In hope, we wait for YHVH, for He is our help and our shield. Our hearts rejoice in Him, for we trust on His holy Name.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent, Memorial of St. Peter Canisius, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Song of Songs 2 : 8-14

The voice of my Lover! Behold He comes, springing across the mountains, jumping over the hills, like a gazelle or a young stag. Noe He stands behind our wall, looking through the windows, peering through the lattice.

My Lover speaks to me, “Arise, My love, My beautiful one! Come, the winter is gone, the rains are over. Flowers have appeared on earth; the season of singing has come; the cooing of doves is heard. The fig tree forms its early fruit, the vines in blossom are fragrant. Arise, My beautiful one, come with Me, My love, come.”

“O My dove in the rocky cleft, in the secret places of the cliff, let Me see your face, let Me hear your voice. Your face – how lovely! Your voice – how sweet!”

Alternative reading

Zephaniah 3 : 14-18a

Cry out with joy, o daughter of Zion; rejoice, o people of Israel! Sing joyfully with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! YHVH has lifted your sentence and has driven your enemies away. YHVH, the King of Israel is with you; do not fear any misfortune.

On that day, they will say to Jerusalem : Do not be afraid nor let your hands tremble, for YHVH your God is within you, YHVH, saving warrior. He will jump for joy on seeing you, for He has revived His love. For you He will cry out with joy, as you do in the days of the feast. I will drive away the evil I warned you about.

Monday, 20 December 2021 : 4th Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as today we listened to the readings from the Sacred Scriptures, we are continually reminded of the truth of what we are going to celebrate in the upcoming Christmas season, as we await the day of the celebration in honour of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who willingly came down to us in the human flesh and existence, born as the Son of Man, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, His mother, fulfilling the promises that God Himself had made to us through His prophets and messengers.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the encounter between Isaiah and king Ahaz of Judah, in which the king refused to ask for a sign from God, which might be seen as a sign of humility, but in truth was more likely a sign of lack in faith in God’s power and providence, considering that Ahaz was one of the kings of Judah who had not obeyed the Lord and His precepts, and instead, misled the people into the path of sin. The prophet Isaiah therefore spoke prophetically of the Lord’s words, of the great Sign that He would reveal before all, showing the truth about His love for all of His people.

As spoken by the prophet, this now famous prophecy was a direct reference to the coming of the Lord through Mary, the Virgin who would bear a Son, and be a sign to all the nations. It is the revelation of God’s plan of salvation for His people and everything that He had willingly done for our sake, out of His ever most generous love for each and every one of us, without exception. He willingly became incarnate in the flesh, to be born as a Man, in Jesus Christ, the Son of Man and Son of God, to offer on our behalf, as our Eternal High Priest, the perfect and worthy offering for the atonement of our sins.

And all of these came to be thanks to the cooperation and the willingness of Mary, who listened to the wonderful Good News revealed by the Archangel Gabriel, revealing before her what she would become, that is to be the Mother of God herself, to be the bearer of the Holy One of God, God’s own only begotten Son. By the power of the Holy Spirit, she would bear the Son of God Himself conceived in her womb in the flesh. Through her, God’s love become manifest, tangible and visible to us, and by her active cooperation in the works of God’s salvation, Mary brought the Saviour Himself into this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard of these words from the Sacred Scriptures, we are yet again reminded that all of our preparations this Advent is a time for us to rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. This is something often forgotten even amongst us Christians, as we are often inundated and overwhelmed by the over commercialisation of Christmas all around us. We have seen so many evidence of how secular Christmas has been distracting us from the true meaning and significance of Christmas.

It is not wrong to celebrate Christmas, and indeed, all of us should celebrate Christmas with great joy and revelry. But at the centre of all those celebrations and revelry, there must be Christ, Our Lord and Saviour present, or else our Christmas celebrations are meaningless and empty, and are merely a celebration of our human greed and desire for pleasures and worldly excesses. Many of us sought to outdo each other in the glamour and the details of our Christmas celebrations, and yet we forgot that Christmas is all about Christ and all that He has done for us, so that through Him we may indeed rejoice and be glad because we have been saved.

As we approach ever closer to Christmas, let us all come ever closer to realise just how important Christ is to all of us, the Love of God made manifest and tangible. By being born in the flesh, He has made us all glimpse the Eternal Light and Joy of heaven, and through Him, we who live in a world of darkness are finally able to see the Light of Hope, and a way out of our predicament and sufferings. All these are thanks to the love that God has generously and patiently showed us all throughout time and history, even to this very moment, and to the unforeseeable future.

Then, what are we going to do about it, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we going to continue to ignore Him and put Him aside in our lives? Are we going to celebrate Christmas with a lot of festivities, but Himself as the One Whom we ought to be celebrating being sidelined and forgotten? Remember how He had loved us and did everything for us, even to stripping Himself of all dignity and glory, of power and majesty, to suffer and die for us on the Cross, so that by His sacrifice and death, all of us may have life through Him. May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen us all in each and every moments of our lives, that we may always remain ever faithful to Him, now and always. Amen.