Saturday, 17 December 2022 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we begin the last part of this Advent season, marking the final seven days of the season of Advent and entering into the more intense phase of discourse and preparations for the imminent celebrations of Christmas, we are reminded first of all of Who it is that we truly commemorate and celebrate at Christmas. It is not Santa Claus, Father Christmas or any other popular secular Christmas figures familiar to many of us whom we are celebrating about. It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of the whole world, Who has been promised to us from the beginning of time, Whom we are all celebrating and rejoicing about. God has sent us all the perfect gift in His Son, in fulfilling everything that He has ever promised us, and showed us the perfect manifestation of His Love in the flesh, tangible and approachable by us all.

In our first reading today, we heard the words from the Book of Genesis where towards the end of Genesis, Jacob, the grandson of Abraham and the one whom God called Israel, the father of all the Israelites, was at the end of his earthly life, and gathered all of his children and extended family before him. At that occasion, as he knew that he did not have long time remaining with him, he prayed over all of his children, giving his blessings over each and every one of them. To them he prayed over and asked God to bless them in their own various ways, while also prophetically mentioning how each of his sons’ tribes would turn out to be. And most peculiarly and interestingly among all of them is what we heard contained in our first reading passage today regarding Judah, the progenitor of the tribe of Judah, and all the words regarding that tribe.

The blessing that Jacob gave to Judah seemingly showed a premonition of great things to come through Judah and his progeny, which was indeed prescient considering that later on, the tribe of Judah would eventually become preeminent among all the other tribes of Israel, and it was from among the tribes and houses of Judah that God had raised David, His chosen king and servant, to be the ruler over all of His people, Israel. Jacob told Judah and all his other children assembled that the house and tribe of Judah has been destined to rule over all of the people of God, and this was accomplished and fulfilled through the establishment of David as King of Israel, and his house, the House of David as the one that God had chosen to rule over all the Israelites.

To David, God Himself had also promised that his house and reign will be forever secure, and that his descendant will sit upon the Throne of Israel, ruling over all the people forevermore. All these promises that God had made became expectations by the people of God upon the downfall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, centuries after the glorious days of the rule of David and his son, Solomon as Kings of Israel. The prophets spoke of the coming of God’s salvation and liberation for His people, and that a Messiah or Saviour would be born unto them, coming from God Himself, and that He would be born into the House of David just as prophesied and promised, that God’s many promises and words would be fulfilled through this same Messiah.

And as we heard from our Gospel passage today, which listed the full genealogy of our Lord Jesus from Adam all the way through Abraham and then David to Jesus Himself, we see the fulfilment of all of God’s promises made to all the three individuals mentioned through Christ, the Son of God born this Christmas, Who we are all celebrating and commemorating joyfully for. To Adam, God has promised the salvation and liberation from the tyranny and bondage of sin, the defeat of Satan and all of his wicked plans by which he had led mankind to downfall through disobedience and sin. To Abraham, God has made a Covenant with him, and has promised that his descendants will be glorious and numerous like the stars. To David, as mentioned, God promised to establish his rule and kingdom forever, and that his house will always sit on the throne of Israel.

All these were fulfilled completely and perfectly through Jesus Christ, the New Adam, born into this world as the Son of Man, as the perfect Man, obeying His Father’s will perfectly, and breaking forever the dominion of Satan and sin over us mankind. While our ancestors sinned by eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, disobeying God, Christ showed perfect obedience to God, His heavenly Father, by taking upon Himself the burden of the Cross, and was crucified and nailed upon the ‘tree’ of the Cross, that through Him, we may see and receive the salvation of God. And through Christ, all of us mankind all become the children of God, the children of Abraham by the adoption through the same faith we have in the same one God, in the New and Eternal Covenant He has established by His perfect offering and sacrifice on the Cross.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on all these and remind ourselves once again on Who it is that we truly celebrate for this upcoming Christmas, and for Whom we prepare ourselves thoroughly throughout this season of Advent, let us all truly reconnect ourselves with God and with all the love and compassion which He has shown us all so generously all these while. Let us all not be easily swayed and tempted by the many temptations of pleasures and worldly greed and desires especially aplenty around these periods, when we see all the excesses of all the secular celebrations of Christmas showed us. We must keep in mind our focus as Christians, on Christ Himself, our Lord and Saviour, the true Joy and Hope of Christmas, the very Reason we are celebrating. Through Him, God has restored Hope and Light in our midst, against all the darkness and evils all around us.

Let us all not forget the Child born on Christmas Day, more than two millennia ago. Too often we have celebrated all of our Christmas observances and festivities while forgetting and ignoring the One Whom we ought to be celebrating with and about. We should no longer be ignorant of Christ and all that God had done through Him for our sake. Let this upcoming Christmas and the remaining time of this current Advent season be a good reminder for one another and also a model for all others, that our faithful observance and our inspiring examples may help to lead more and more souls towards God and His saving grace, the eternal life that He promised us all who believe in Him. May God be with us always and may He guide us and strengthen us, and help us to make most use of this time of Advent. Amen.

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