Sunday, 2 January 2022 : Second Sunday after Christmas (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we celebrate the second Sunday in the Christmas season, for all of us who are celebrating the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord on its traditional date of the sixth of January. This Sunday as we have heard in the Scripture passages, we are again constantly being reminded of what we are celebrating in this Christmas season, that is celebrating the great appearing of Our Lord and Saviour in the flesh, Jesus Christ, the One Whom God has sent into our midst to be our Hope and the Light of our salvation, the Divine Word Incarnate.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard of the words of God’s salvation and promise of redemption being proclaimed and spoken before the people. At the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the fortunes of the people of God, the Israelites and their descendants had been at an all-time low, as they were facing great distress, humiliations, defeat and a lot of trials and troubles from different sources, one after another. All those things were caused by their own lack of faith in God and by their constant disobedience against God, preferring to walk in their own path than to walk in the path that God had set before them.

As a result, not only that the Assyrians had destroyed the northern kingdom and carried most of the northern ten Israelite tribes into exile and destroyed their cities, but even the southern kingdom of Judah was soon to face its own twilight and end as well. The enemies of the people of God rose against them and due to their continued disobedience and rebellion against God, even to the persecution of the faithful prophets and servants of God like Jeremiah, the kingdom of Judah was bound to be destroyed as well, which would later happen at the hands of the Babylonians.

But all the while God and the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed how the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem would become because of the evil deeds and the wickedness of the people, their kings’ bad influences and all of their infidelities, in worshipping pagan idols and demons, but God still in truth loved His people and did not abandon them. Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because just as what we ourselves often experienced, it is the people who had consciously chosen to abandon God and His truth and love instead, and chose to walk the path of evil and sin.

That is why, through what the Lord has spoken and done for His people, He wants to show them that He still loves us despite all that we have done to hurt Him, in betraying and abandoning Him. He revealed how all of them would be gathered back from being scattered amongst all the nations. The Lord has shown His commitment and dedication to the Covenant He had made with us even when we have repeatedly disobeyed Him and betrayed Him. He still tried very hard to reach out to us and to help us to find the path to redemption.

To this extent, He has shown us His salvation through none other than Jesus Christ, His most beloved Son, Whom He had sent into the world, incarnate in the flesh, the Divine Word Incarnate as we heard in our Gospel passage today. In his Gospel, St. John the Apostle began his account with the most beautiful and detailed exposition of the truth and reality of the Lord God, the Word of God, Who was with the Father and is God, coming down into this world by the power of the Holy Spirit, indwelling in the womb of Mary, His mother, and became the Son of Man, born and revealed to all in Christmas.

Through Christ, the love of God has been manifested perfectly in the flesh and His love is no longer intangible. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, God’s love takes form and is approachable to us, and He came to us as He had promised, through the prophet Jeremiah and many others, to gather all of us back to Himself and to show us the path to eternal life with Him. God has not abandoned us and He has embraced us, through His Son, Emmanuel, God Who is with us. His coming into this world as we celebrate at Christmas is a truly significant event in our human history, and in the history of our redemption.

For through Him, we are no longer without hope and we have no more need to fear because while once we have been destined for destruction and damnation because of our sins, God’s love triumphs even over those sins and all the wickedness we have committed, and through His Son, Whose sacrifice on the Cross became the worthy offering for the atonement of all of our sins, God has shown us the path out of the darkness and into eternal life. He is indeed the Light for the people who are still living in the darkness, that is all of us sinners.

Yet, how many of us actually realise this truth, brothers and sisters in Christ? How many of us actually remember God’s love and see His love in the coming of His Son into this world? We do not have to look far beyond our own actions in life. How many of us celebrated Christmas without Christ Our Lord as the centre and focus of all of our celebrations? And how many of us spent our Christmas mostly in merrymaking, revelry and celebrations and forgetting all that God has done for us out of His enduring love? We cannot truly celebrate Christmas without Christ, brothers and sisters in Christ.

Therefore this Sunday, as we continue to go through the Christmas season and as we continue our celebrations of the Christmas joy and exultation, we are called to remember the reason for all of our rejoicing and happiness. It is because of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem into this world that we have seen God’s light and salvation, tangible and approachable, and no longer just something that we cannot understand or grasp. This Sunday we should remind one another of God’s love made Man, in His ever generous love poured down to us in Christ His Son.

And because God has loved us so much, and given us the reason to rejoice much as the Israelites of old had received those glad tidings and hope amidst the darkness of their state then, let us all be the bearers of Christ’s light and hope in our communities today, spreading the joy that has come with Our Lord and which we celebrate this day and this season. Let our actions bring hope and encouragement to our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who are sorrowful and without hope. Let us share our joy and celebrations with those who have little or no joy at all in their lives.

May the Lord, our Saviour and King, our loving God and Creator, Who has willingly come down to us in the flesh, be with us all and bless us in all things, so that our year ahead may be most blessed and wonderful. And may all of us draw ever closer to the Lord, as we commit our every living moments to serve and glorify Him, now and always. May God bless all of our works, efforts and endeavours, and may we have a truly blessed Christmas celebrations. Amen.

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