Saturday, 24 December 2022 : 4th 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 reminded of the great joy that is coming to us this Christmas, which is just tomorrow. Are we prepared to welcome the Lord and to celebrate in His coming into our midst, brothers and sisters? After a whole entire season of Advent, all the more that the Advent season this year is at the longest possible duration, have we been spending our time right in doing what we can to prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the Lord into them? Or have we instead been so busy and preoccupied with worldly matters and concerns, and with all sorts of temptations and distractions, that we have prepared in the wrong way for Christmas?

Let us all spend some time today to reflect upon the words of the Scriptures to remind us why we celebrate Christmas, so that we may be fully ready tomorrow and the entire Christmas season to rejoice worthily and well. In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Samuel, regarding the time when King David of Israel, having been made secure in his reign and rule, wanted to build a House for God, and asked the prophet Nathan on his opinion and what the Lord would say regarding his plan to build God’s House and Temple in Jerusalem. God said that it would not be David that would build a House for Him in Jerusalem, but his son, Solomon, who would be King after him. God at the same time also promised David that his reign and his house will be forever secure.

And all that would indeed come true as David’s son, Solomon, would become the King over all of Israel. Solomon would also build the Temple and House for God in Jerusalem, to house the Ark of the Covenant and to be the place where God’s Holy Presence would dwell among all of His people. Then, while Solomon and his descendants eventually fell into sinful paths and disobeyed God, which resulted in the downfall of the kingdom of Israel, but God did not take away His promise, as what He had promised to David remained true, as His prophets said that one day, the Messiah, the Holy One of God, and the Saviour of the world would come from the House of David and be born as his heir, to restore the kingdom of Israel and the Lord’s dominion and rule over His people.

In the Gospel passage today, we then heard of the great song which Zechariah, the father of St. John the Baptist, Herald of the Messiah sang in praising and glorifying God, what is also known as the Canticle of Zechariah. Zechariah had seen the fulfilment of God’s promises, that the Lord had given him a son when all hopes were lost. Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of St. John the Baptist had been without any child for a long time, and while Elizabeth had been barren for years was way past her child-bearing age, but God proclaimed to Zechariah through His Angel that Elizabeth would bear a son, and that he would become a great servant of God, named John. And St. John the Baptist would be the one through whom God prepared His path, when He Himself come in the birth of His Son.

All those point out to the evidence and the proof that God truly keeps His words and promises, and that His salvation and grace have all come to us through His promised Saviour, the Messiah, the Heir of David, the One Whom St. John the Baptist had been tasked to prepare the people for, in calling on all of them to repent from their many sins and embrace God’s love and mercy, shown to them all through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of all. Hence, we are all reminded that in Christmas, we celebrate with joy this coming of the Saviour of the world, the fulfilment of the long awaited promises of God, which He had indeed delivered unto us, no less and no more. He came into our midst, revealing unto us His perfect love and most generous attention to us, as He wants us all to be reconciled with Him and to return once again to Him.

That is what Christmas is all about, and yet, we see all around us is Christmas that is often bereft of the One Whom Christmas is actually all about and the One Whom Christmas has been named after. How can we celebrate Christmas if there is no Christ in our celebrations and festivities? How can we truly rejoice in Christmas if Christ is not the reason why we rejoice and are happy in this time of joy? This is a reminder for us all that as we enter into the glorious and joyful Christmas season tomorrow, we must have the right disposition and readiness in our hearts and minds to celebrate Christmas as the joyful moment when we welcome Christ into our midst, and enthrone Him in our hearts, as the King of our lives, Who has come into our midst, to save us all and to lead us into His glorious kingdom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we approach the beginning of the Christmas season, let us all rediscover the true joy of Christmas in our Lord and Saviour, and rejoice for all that He had done for us. Christmas is a time for us to return once again to the Lord, to grow in love with Him once again, remembering everything that God had done for us, in coming down to us, emptying Himself and humbling Himself to become as a Man just like us, to dwell among us and to show us all the perfect manifestation of God’s love. This Christmas we are reminded that God has shown us His faithfulness, and He will not abandon us, but will dwell amongst us, and stay with us. Christmas is that time we are reminded how God reached out to us and touched us with His love, as He has always done.

May all of us continue to grow in faith, and may all of us enter the season of Christmas with better understanding of the reason why we celebrate. Let us all begin Christmas with a renewed reason to live our lives with greater faith and dedication to God. Let us all be the beacons of God’s light, truth and hope in our communities, doing whatever we can to inspire others by our righteous and just way of life, and by sharing our Christmas joy with all those who have little or no chance to rejoice and celebrate this Christmas. May the Lord continue to inspire us to be loving and filled with hope, the hope of God’s everlasting joy and truth, and be generous sharers of them to our fellow brothers and sisters. May God bless our upcoming Christmas season and celebrations. Amen.

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