Friday, 2 December 2022 : 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 all called to remember the love and kindness which God has shown each one of us Christians, and all of His beloved ones, that He came to rescue us from our predicament and fate, leading us into the path towards everlasting life and true joy with Him, a path that He has shown us, as light and hope lighting our way out of the darkness surrounding us in our lives. We are all reminded that it is in God alone that we have our salvation and hope, and it is through Him alone that we shall receive justification and grace, and liberation from the bondage of sin, death and evil which had always hounded us all these while.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Isaiah of yet another one of God’s reassuring words for His people just as we have heard all throughout this week, reminding them all of everything that God has done for them and then what He will do for all of them, as He gathered them all from being scattered all over, and returned them to their lands, to enjoy once again His favour and grace, His love and providence. Back then, the land of Israel and its people were far off from the once glorious days of their predecessors, of the great kingdom of David and Solomon. They had faced great challenges and trials, difficulties and humiliations, all because of their lack of faith in God and their disobedience and sins against Him. Yet, the Lord continued to show His love towards them and sent them His help and providence, again and again.

Historically, the people of God would be scattered all throughout the world, uprooted from their lands, as consequences for their sins. Yet, the Lord would gather them once again, leading all of them towards Him and returning them back to their lands, as He had done when He moved the heart of the King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, to allow the people of Israel, who have regretted their sins and the faults of their ancestors, and being repentant of those sins, to return once again to their homeland, the Land promised to their ancestors. What God spoke about in our today’s first reading through the prophet Isaiah to His people was indeed a proclamation of what would happen when He led them all back to their land, an expectation of the happy and glorious days to come, and in fact, also a lead-up to what will one day happen at the end of time, when God finally leads all of us, His beloved ones, back to Him.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord healing two blind men who came to Him, begging Him to heal them from their blindness. They asked Him and believed that He could deliver them from their troubles, and indeed, the Lord healed and allowed their eyes to see once again. They were saved from their predicament by the power of God, and became yet another proof of God great power and also love for His beloved people. God brought them out of the darkness and back into the light. God has restored hope to them and made them whole again, and that same thing is what He will also do to all of us, to each and every one of us who have faith in Him and are called to follow Him and to walk in His path. We are God’s people, and He is our Lord and Master.

That is what we really need to reflect on in this season of Advent, recalling the great love, compassion and mercy which Our Lord has shown us and which He has generously given to us. Through Him, all of us have received a new hope and the light that pierced through the darkness of despair and evil that surrounded us. It is Him Whom we are expecting and preparing for this coming Christmas, the source of our rejoicing and celebrations, the source of our strength and life. This Advent is a time for us to contemplate all these and to prepare ourselves so that we may indeed celebrate Christmas with proper understanding and appreciation of everything that God had done for us all, His beloved people. We have to make good use of this season of Advent to prepare ourselves, body, heart, mind and soul, so that our whole being may be ready to welcome the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend the time this Advent to reconnect ourselves with God and to strengthen our relationship and connection with Him, so that we may draw ever closer to Him and become ever more committed to His path. Many of us have not been doing this and many have been spending their Advent and Christmas on the wrong things, both their time and effort, as they were swayed by the worldly ways that Christmas has often been celebrated all around the world. Instead of celebrating and commemorating the birth of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Love of God made Man, and brought into our midst, we have put Him aside and forgotten about Him, which led to us distancing ourselves ever further from Him and His path.

We are all reminded that we are all so blessed that God has willingly shown us His love and compassion, just as the Scripture passages today earlier on had shown us. Therefore, it is only right and just that we should appreciate and reciprocate that love that God has shown us with our own love and devotion towards Him, doing our best to follow Him and His path, doing His will, listening to Him and walking in the path that He has shown us, His commandments and Law, and showing the same love He has shown us, to our fellow brothers and sisters, that through our love, kindness and compassion, more and more people may come to know the love of God and be brought ever closer to Him and to the salvation and eternal life in Him.

May the Lord our most loving and compassionate God continue to help and guide us through this blessed season of Advent so that we may make good use of this time and season of Advent to prepare ourselves to be ever more worthy to celebrate the true joy of Christmas, and be inspirations, role models and examples in how we live out our faith, glorifying God by our lives and showing others what it truly means to be Christians, as our Lord’s followers and disciples. May God bless us all at all times, and may He bless our every good efforts, works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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