Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday is the fourth and the last of the Sundays of the Advent season, reminding us all that Christmas is coming very soon and Advent is already ending. It seems that it was just yesterday that Advent started, is it not? But that is the reality, that time passes on, and sometimes really quickly before we realise that much time has actually passed. A good question to ask ourselves now is, how has our Advent journey been so far? Has it been meaningful and fruitful for us? Has it been good in preparing ourselves for the upcoming celebration of the Nativity or the birth of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ? Or have we instead been preparing ourselves for Christmas in the wrong way?

We do not have to look far, and we just have to open our eyes and see everything all around us. Except in places where Christians cannot worship in the open or where Christian influences and festivities are banned or not allowed, virtually everywhere else in the world, Christmas celebrations and festivities have been all around us for weeks or even months as of now. Yet, in most of all those festivities, celebrations and merrymaking, something and someone is indeed inconspicuously missing from all the celebrations. Ironically, this One Who is missing is exactly the One for Whom the celebrations we have at Christmas had been intended to, and Christmas is indeed about Christ first and foremost. It marks the moment when the Lord Jesus, Son of God, was born into this world, revealing God’s perfect and enduring love, manifested and personified, becoming tangible and approachable by us.

And yes, that is exactly what we should be focusing on this Sunday, brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than the many distractions that the secular Christmas pageantries and festivities have presented to us. This Sunday, just as in the previous Sundays of Advent, we focus on a particular theme or aspect of this Advent season, beginning with Hope at the first Sunday when we reminded ourselves of the Hope we have in the coming of Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, the Hope out of the darkness and despair reigning all around us. And then we have Peace at the second Sunday, where we focus ourselves on the upcoming Peace that God Himself will bring in the end, in His role as the Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Who will rule over all of His people, reuniting all of them in peace, harmony and love. Then, on the third Sunday of Advent last week, also known as Gaudete Sunday we have focused on the aspect of Joy, where we rejoice in the coming of the true Joy of Christmas, that is Christ Himself.

And lastly this Sunday, we focus on the theme and aspect of Love, the Love of God made Man, personified and manifested in Jesus Christ, Our Lord. This theme of Love is arguably the most important of all, as it is the enduring and ever-present Love that God has for each and every one of us is the very reason why we still have Hope in Him, and why we can look forward to His reign of Peace, and for the Joy of His everlasting kingdom and our eternity of true happiness and bliss with Him. Without the Love of God, none of these would and will have been possible. If God had not loved us, upon our rebellion and disobedience against Him, in refusing to follow His Law and commandments, and in choosing to listen to Satan and his lies instead, we could have easily been crushed and annihilated by God, by the mere whim of His Almighty will alone.

We could have been condemned to an eternity of suffering in hell, sharing the fate of the devil and all of the wicked spirits, the fallen angels and demons, and we could have endured all those punishments and sufferings because of our lack of faith in Him, our stubborn attitude and refusal to believe in Him. Yet, despite all of our delinquencies and stubbornness, God is Himself equally persistent in loving us and caring for us, still reaching out to us and trying to help us, because ultimately, He had created us out of His overflowing and perfect love, that He willingly shares with each and every one of us. Although we may have scorned and rejected His love, He never ceased to love us all, most patiently, and sending unto us reminders and helpers, like what we heard in our first reading of the encounter between the prophet Isaiah and King Ahaz of Judah.

At that occasion, the prophet Isaiah came bearing God’s words to King Ahaz, the ruler of Judah, the southern half of the kingdoms established over the people of Israel. And back then, the northern half of the kingdom, the kingdom of Israel centred in Samaria had just been destroyed and crushed by the Assyrians, who came and conquered Samaria, defeated the Israelites, and uprooted many of them to be exiled to far-off and distant lands, replacing them with foreigners from other parts of the world. Only the kingdom of Judah therefore remained among those people of God back then. The northern kingdom fell because of the constant wickedness of its people and how most of its kings and people continued to worship pagan idols and gods, persecuting the prophets and messengers that God had sent to them.

And although the southern kingdom of Judah was comparatively better, with several good and faithful kings, there had also been a lot of wickedness committed by the people of Judah, in not listening to God and His reminders, and in similarly persecuting the prophets and messengers sent to remind them to keep the faith. King Ahaz himself was one of the kings deemed by the historians and writers of the Old Testament records as an evil king, one who disobeyed the Lord and brought the people into sinful ways. When God sent Isaiah to Ahaz as we heard in our first reading today, we heard how the King of Judah refused to ask for a sign from God as Isaiah told him, and as a result, Isaiah told the king that God Himself will, in due time, show the greatest of all signs to His people, the sign of the Emmanuel, of the Virgin who would bear a Child.

Some of us may think that King Ahaz was being humble in not asking for a sign from God, but the truth is, it is more likely that he did so out of his lack of faith in God, and also he did not believe much in the signs and wonders that God had done for His people through His many prophets in the ages past. Not only that, but sometimes true humility also entails obedience, as by not doing what God had asked him to do also has the implication of pride, as the king might have thought that he had no need of God’s signs, protection and providence, and that he could do everything all by himself, despite the rising issues and troubles facing the kingdom of Judah back then, surrounded on all sides by its many enemies, and threatened by the rising might of Assyria which had just destroyed the kingdom of Israel to the north of Judah.

Hence, God proclaimed through Isaiah what He would do nonetheless, to show us all, the whole world, of His love for each one of us, that He sends unto us, His Love manifested through His Son, the Divine Word of God Incarnate. He became Emmanuel, ‘God is with us’, that He came to dwell amongst us, in our midst, in the flesh. He made Himself tangible, approachable and touchable by us, giving us this perfect manifestation of this Love, which is reiterated again in our Gospel passage today from the Gospel of St. Matthew, where again, the fact that God Himself has come to dwell among His people, Emmanuel, God Who is with His people, showed His great love by willingly coming down to us to be with us, loving us all most dearly and wonderfully with His ever generous love.

This same love is the love that Christ showed us all, when He picked up His Cross and walked that path of suffering, the Via Dolorosa, from Jerusalem where He was scourged and condemned to death, to Golgotha or Calvary where He was nailed to His Cross and made to suffer a most painful and humiliating death for us. He became for us the perfect offering of Love, the Paschal Lamb, the Lamb of God sacrificed and crushed for all of us, and Himself as our Eternal High Priest offering this perfect sacrifice of love, most unblemished and perfect in all things, for the complete atonement of our innumerable sins, and for the redemption of all mankind. To all those who share in His Most Precious Body and Blood, in the Eucharist, worthily, He has given us the assurance of eternal life and joy, as we have received the Love of God Himself into our midst, and into ourselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we reflect upon this theme and aspect of Love, let us all therefore keep reminding ourselves of the Love which God has for each and every one of us, and the Love which made all things possible for us, that Hope, Peace and Joy can come our way once again, because the Love of God had been made incarnate in the flesh and born of the Virgin, Mary His mother, and which we celebrate most joyfully as Christmas. Therefore, if our Christmas preparations and celebrations have been mostly or even entirely secular and worldly in nature, perhaps it is not yet too late for us to change our direction and focus. Christmas is still a full week away from today, and there are a lot of things that we can do in this one week to prepare ourselves so that we can celebrate Christmas most worthily and meaningfully.

First of all, let us all as Christians be filled with God’s love, and show that same love in our lives and actions just as He has taught us to do. His Law and commandments are essentially about us loving God first and foremost before all else, and then loving one another just in the same way as well. We have to love our fellow brothers and sisters more, and grow ever more in our love for God and our faith and trust in Him as well, with every celebrations of Christmas. This time and season of Advent is a really good time to remind us to reconnect ourselves with God especially if we have allowed our busy schedules and life activities to distract and make ourselves becoming more and more distant from God. We also cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by so much festivities and merrymaking that we forget to remember that even in our midst, there are people who are still suffering, and unable to rejoice or celebrate due to various reasons.

Let us all be the bearer of God’s Love, as well as His Hope, Peace and Joy to our communities, to our families and circles of friends and even to all those strangers and all whom we encounter each day throughout life, so that through us, more and more people may come to experience God’s love, of Christ’s love having been made manifested in our midst. May the Lord, our most loving God and Father, continue to shower us with His love and kindness at all times. May He show us the path of love and justice, for us to follow, and encourage and strengthen us along the journey that we may continue to persevere faithfully in walking the path of righteousness and love that we should be walking on as Christians. May God bless us all and be with us all, now and always, evermore. Amen.

Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 1 : 18-24

This is how Jesus Christ was born : Mary His mother had been given to Joseph in marriage, but before they lived together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, made plans to divorce her in all secrecy. He was an upright man, and in no way did he want to disgrace her.

While he was pondering over this, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, she has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and now she will bear a Son. You shall call Him ‘Jesus’ fo He will save His people from their sins.”

All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet : The Virgin will conceive and bear a Son, and He will be called Emmanuel, which means : God-with-us. When Joseph awoke, he did what the Angel of the Lord had told him to do, and he took his wife to his home.

Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Romans 1 : 1-7

From Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, an Apostle, called and set apart for God’s Good News, the very promises He foretold through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures, regarding His Son, Who was born in the flesh a descendant of David, and has been recognised as the Son of God, endowed with Power, upon rising from the dead, through the Holy Spirit.

Through Him, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and for the sake of His Name, we received grace, and mission in all the nations, for them to accept the faith. All of you, the elected of Christ, are part of them, you, the beloved God in Rome, called to be holy : May God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, give you grace and peace.

Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 7 : 10-14

Once again YHVH addressed Ahaz, “Ask for a sign from YHVH your God, let it come either from the deepest depths or from the heights of heaven.”

But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask, I will not put YHVH to the test.” Then Isaiah said, “Now listen, descendants of David. Have you not been satisfied trying the patience of people, that you also try the patience of my God? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign : The Virgin is with Child and bears a Son and calls His Name Immanuel.”

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Luke 1 : 28

Ave, Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum : benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus Fructus ventris tui.

English translation

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the Fruit of your womb.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Sacrificiis praesentibus, quaesumus, Domine, placatus intende : ut et devotioni nostrae proficiant et saluti. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Look with favour, we beseech You, o Lord upon these offerings here before You, that they may profit both for our devotion and for our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.


Isaiah 7 : 14

Ecce, Virgo concipiet et pariet Filium : et vocabitur Nomen Ejus Emmanuel.

English translation

Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.

Post-Communion Prayer

Sumptis muneribus, quaesumus, Domine : ut, cum frequentatione mysterii, crescat nostrae salutis effectus. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Having received Your gifts, o Lord, we pray that the saving effect of the mystery may increase as we frequent it. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 3 : 1-6

Anno quintodecimo imperii Tiberii Caesaris, procurante Pontio Pilato Judaeam, tetrarcha autem Galilaeae Herode, Philippo autem fratre ejus tetrarcha Ituraeae et Trachonitidis regionis, et Lysania Abilinae tetrarcha, sub principibus sacerdotum Anna et Caipha : factum est verbum Domini super Joannem, Zachariae filium, in deserto.

Et venit in omnem regionem Jordanis, praedicans baptismum paenitentiae in remissionem peccatorum, sicut scriptum est in libro sermonum Isaiae Prophetae : Vox clamantis in deserto : Parate viam Domini : rectas facite semitas ejus : omnis vallis implebitur : et omnis mons et collis humiliabitur : et erunt prava in directa, et aspera in vias planas : et videbit omnis caro salutare Dei.

English translation

In the fifteenth year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate as the governor of Judea, and Herod as the tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina, under the high priests Annas and Caiaphas, the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.

And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the Book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah, “A voice of one crying in the wilderness : Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valleys shall be filled, and every mountains and hills shall be brought low. The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Psalm 144 : 18, 21 and Tradition of the Faith

Prope est Dominus omnibus invocantibus eum : omnibus, qui invocant eum in veritate.

Response : Laudem Domini loquetur os meum : et benedicat omnis caro Nomen sanctum Ejus.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Veni, Domine, et noli tardare : relaxa facinora plebis Tuae Israel. Alleluja.

English translation

The Lord is nigh unto all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.

Response : My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy Name.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Come, o Lord, and do not delay, forgive the sins of Your people Israel. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians

1 Corinthians 4 : 1-5

Fratres : Sic nos existimet homo ut ministros Christi, et dispensatores mysteriorum Dei. Hic jam quaeritur inter dispensatores, ut fidelis quis inveniatur. Mihi autem pro minimo est, ut a vobis judicer aut ab humano die : sed neque meipsum judico.

Nihil enim mihi conscius sum : sed non in hoc justificatus sum : qui autem judicat me, Dominus est. Itaque nolite ante tempus judicare, quoadusque veniat Dominus : qui et illuminabit abscondita tenebrarum, et manifestabit consilia cordium : et tunc laus erit unicuique a Deo.

English translation

Brethren, let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man’s day, but neither do I judge my own self.

For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified, but He Who judges me is the Lord. Therefore, do not judge before the time, until the Lord comes, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise from God.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourth Sunday of Advent (I Classis) – Sunday, 18 December 2022 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Violet


Isaiah 45 : 8 and Psalm 18 : 2

Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum : aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

Caeli enarrant gloriam Dei : et opera manuum Ejus annuntiat firmamentum.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain on the just, let te earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.

The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declares the work of His Hands.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.


Excita, quaesumus, Domine, potentiam Tuam, et veni : et magna nobis virtute succurre; ut per auxilium gratiae Tuae, quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentiae Tuae propitiationis acceleret : Qui Vivis et regnas in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Bestir, o Lord, Your might, we beseech You, and come, and with great power come to our aid, that, by the help of Your grace, that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Your merciful forgiveness. You Who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.