Thursday, 22 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, all of us are reminded of the joy that each one of us should have in the Lord, keeping in mind that it is through His work and His coming into our midst that we celebrate at Christmas which brought us all a new hope and assurance of happiness and salvation, grace and all the things that can only come through Him, and we heard of that assurance today in our Scripture passages in which we heard of what the Lord had done to His faithful servants, to Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, as well as to Mary, the Mother of God, of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Our Saviour.

In our first reading today, we heard the story of Hannah, and how she thanked the Lord for all that He had done for her, in answering her prayers and the wishes she had for a son. The Lord granted her the wish she wanted, after she had endured scorn and ridicule from the other wife of her husband, Penninah, who often teased her for not having a son despite being more beloved by her husband. God lifted the veil of shame from Hannah, and gave her a son that would become a great prophet in Israel and also the last of the great Judges before the days of the Kings. Hence, today we heard Hannah in great joy as she went to the House of God bringing the young Samuel to offer him to the service of the Lord just as she has promised.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of Mary and her great song of thanksgiving, thanking God for everything that she has received from God, all the graces and wonders she had been blessed with, to be the one entrusted as the Mother of God and the Mother of the Saviour of the whole world. In that Magnificat, the great song of joy which Mary sang filled with the Holy Spirit, is contained the great joy that she has upon becoming the Mother of the Saviour, as well as the great joy representing mankind having finally seen the salvation of God, long awaited and expected by the people, to whom God had promised His salvation from the very beginning of time, when He promised them that He would deliver them from the dominion and bondage of sin.

Through Mary’s song, we have been reminded what Christmas is all about, that is a most joyful rejoicing and celebration that we carry out because we have seen the love and salvation that the Lord has brought into our midst, in the coming of Christ, His only begotten Son, Our Lord and Saviour. By His coming and entry into the world, Christ has shown us the Love of God manifested and made flesh, tangible and approachable to us. No longer that God is distant and unapproachable by us, as He has become Emmanuel, God is with us, and He has come to dwell amongst us, sharing with us our joy and sorrow, walking amongst us and touching our lives. He has become the Hope for us, lifting us out of the darkness and into His everlasting light and grace.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we approach ever closer to Christmas, all of us should spend some time to reflect on our preparations for Christmas, and whether we have already prepared ourselves well and properly for the celebration of Christmas, or whether we have not gotten ourselves properly ready yet, and have not done our right actions to be truly able to celebrate Christmas worthily and well. We can see all around us just how Christmas is celebrated in a mostly worldly and secular way, without Christ and His Presence, and where people immersed themselves often in excessive merrymaking and festivities while forgetting why we even celebrate Christmas itself in the first place.

Christmas is not about all the festivities and celebrations, all the joyful gift exchanges and the excesses of our feasting and partying. Yes, we can definitely do all of that, and we should indeed rejoice in Christmas. But we must always remember that after all, everything happened because of what the Lord had done in giving us His only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to be our Saviour. It is because Christ has been born into this world that we have seen the Light of God’s salvation and the Hope out of the darkness of sin, and that is why we rejoice so greatly, all because of the joy of this new life which God has promised us all who believed in Him, that through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, everyone will receive the sure guarantee of everlasting joy and grace.

That is why as Christians, each one of us have to lead by example and do our best to show others what the true meaning and spirit of Christmas is all about. Christmas is not about partying excessively or rejoicing in ways that we are often accustomed to. It is a time for us to give thanks to God for having shown us such a great love and kindness by giving us His Son, to be our Saviour, and we should be like Hannah and Mary, who gave their heartfelt thanks and glorified God, and thanked Him for all that He had done for them. We must therefore place the Lord at the very centre and as the focus of our existence, our way of life and also our way of celebrating the upcoming Christmas season. We have to make sure that we understand fully what the true joy of Christmas is all about.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us, empowering us with the love and courage to do our best in our lives, to walk in His path and to follow Him ever more faithfully. Through our faithful and worthy Christmas celebrations, where Christ is at the centre of our joy, let us all inspire more and more people that each one of us may be the shining beacons of God’s hope, light and truth. May all of us draw ever closer to God and be blessed as we approach the glorious and joyful season of Christmas. Amen.

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