Friday, 16 December 2022 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all yet again reminded of God’s salvation and grace which He has freely and generously offered for all of us, that through Him and His loving providence and grace, all of us may receive from Him the assurance of eternal life and salvation, liberation from our bondage to sin and death, from all the evils and sufferings of this world, and to enter into the glorious kingdom and inheritance that God had assured all of us. Each one of us are reminded this time and season of Advent of why we are celebrating the upcoming Christmas in the first place, and we celebrate it because we see the joy that has come into our midst through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, born and revealed to us all at Christmas.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the Lord’s words reassuring all of His people yet again, and not only that but even also all the foreigners and all those who were considered as those not belonging to the descendants of the Israelites, the people who God had called to be His first flock and people. After all, this serves to remind us all, that each and every one of us, regardless of our origins, our backgrounds, our racial nature and details, or whatever it is that we mankind often used to categorise and divide ourselves into, in the end, all of us are equally precious and beloved by God, Who loves us all despite our frequent rebellions and disobedience against Him.

As we heard of the Lord speaking to His people through Isaiah, we can clearly see the desire that the Lord has, in calling us all back to Himself, to be reconciled with each and every one of us so that, we may not be lost to Him anymore, and that we may find our path to Him, rediscovering our connection and link to Him, once lost due to sin and our rebellion, our stubbornness and unwillingness to listen to Him and follow Him. God called on each and every one of us, leading us all towards His holy mountain, His kingdom of grace and light, to liberate us from our bondage and enslavement by sin and by our worldly attachments and desires, so that we may all return to a state of grace and perfection through Him.

And all of that had been made possible to us because of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour and His coming and entry into this world. He is the true Light and the Hope of the whole world. Through Him, we have seen the manifestation of God’s ever generous and enduring love, that He offered freely and richly for us, that we may know just how beloved and dear we all are, and how important we are to Him. It is this Love which allowed us to remain in existence, as God could have easily erased us all from existence and damned all of us, all of humanity, past, present and future because of our many sins. That is what God did not do, as His love led Him to reach out to us, to find us and to rediscover us, to be reconciled with us.

That is what Christ Himself spoke of in our Gospel passage today, as He spoke about His herald, St. John the Baptist, sent into the world to prepare the path for His coming, and also of His own ministry and work, as He came into our midst, as God Who dwells among His own people, His beloved ones, so that they all may experience the redemption and love that He has brought us, as our most loving and generous Good Shepherd, Who gathered all of the lost sheep, all of us sinners, scattered all throughout this darkened and wicked world. He called us all to Himself, and by lifting up His Cross, He bore the burdens of our sins, the punishments and consequences due for our faults and mistakes, all those things that we should have suffered from, and be condemned for, and yet, Our Lord Himself, through His infinite love, reached out with His love and pity for us, took everything upon Himself.

Thus, as we prepare ourselves in this season and time of Advent, all of us are invited to remember once again why we celebrate Christmas, and that is, after all, because of God’s enduring love for us, His amazing love by which He saved us all from eternal damnation and destruction. God’s love for us has been manifested in His Son, Jesus Christ, by Whose suffering and death, and glorious Resurrection had broken the hold and the chains that sin and death had over us. He has liberated us all and given us the assurance of eternal life and glory that we will gain, should we hold firm to Him and remain faithful to Him, and do our best to adhere to His path, in following all that He has taught us to do, in fulfilling the Law and the commandments, and in obeying God’s will all throughout our lives.

Let us all therefore renew our commitments to God, that we may live ever more worthily of Him, in all of our actions and dealings, in our every efforts and good works, that we may inspire many others, our fellow brothers and sisters, to be ever more devout and committed to the Lord, Whose love and mercy have given us the most blessed bounty of grace and salvation, and the sure promise of eternal glory with Him. Let us all make good use of this time of Advent to reorientate our lives and our actions that we may once again place God at His rightful place, at the heart and centre of our lives, at all times. And if we have not been preparing ourselves to celebrate Christmas in the right and proper way, let us remind ourselves once again, what Christmas is all about, that is not about ourselves or all the merrymaking and pleasures, but about the Love of God made Man, manifested in our midst.

May the Lord, our most loving God and Saviour, continue to love each and every one of us, ever patiently, although we have often disappointed Him and betrayed Him for the many idols and distractions that we have in life. May all of us draw ever closer to Him and continue to walk ever more faithfully in His path, and continue to grow ever deeper in our love and relationship with Him, and also in our love and care for one another. May God bless us all, at all times, and especially now as we prepare ourselves throughout this blessed season of Advent, to welcome Him worthily at Christmas. Amen.

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