Thursday, 17 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we come within just about a week before Christmas, we come into a more intense time of preparation in this last part of the Advent season, getting ourselves ready to enter into the glorious mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation and Nativity at Christmas, as well as the wonderful joy that we are experiencing in that joyful season to come.

In our first reading today we heard of the prophecy spoken by none other than Jacob, or Israel as he was known in his later years, when he gathered all of his sons and their own families, and said his parting words as he was about to die. He blessed all of his children, some more than others, and from among all of the children of Israel, Judah stood out the most as the one who received a very favourable blessing.

This shows that even then, the Lord had revealed through His Spirit, dwelling in Jacob, of what He was going to do for the people of Israel and for the world. And all that Jacob had said to his children, especially to Judah, would come true as the kingship over all Israel was given to David, of the tribe of Judah, who became the rightful king and God’s chosen one, and God promised that David’s house will rule over Israel forever, a promise that echoed what Jacob had said to Judah many centuries before.

And then, just as we have heard in our Gospel passage today, from the beginning of the Gospel of St. Matthew, the genealogy of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord and Saviour of all, descended from Adam, the first man, from Abraham, God’s faithful servant, and from Israel and his son Judah, as prophesied and mentioned earlier. He was then also descended from king David, as David’s true heir as King.

He is the King of all Israel, the King of the whole Universe and all things, Who reigns over the throne of His forefather David, and through Him, all of the whole world has seen God’s salvation. The Lord has fulfilled everything that He had promised to His people through Jesus, Whose coming and birth into this world we are celebrating this Christmas. And now, during this time and season of Advent, we are all called to reflect on all these, and on whether we have appreciated what the Lord had done for all of us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has shown His enduring love and compassionate care for each and every one of us through His Son, fulfilling everything that He has promised us all from the beginning. And even when we had not been faithful, rebellious and delinquent, the Lord remained faithful to the Covenant that He had made with all of us.

This is why, we are all called to turn away from our many sins, from our unfaithful attitudes, from all the distractions and temptations that had led us away from the Lord and from His path. We are all called to purify our hearts, minds and our whole being, to reorientate our whole lives that we focus ourselves and our attention once again towards the Lord. This is our calling as Christians and we should heed this call, especially as we approach ever closer to Christmas.

Are we ready to celebrate Christmas with true and genuine faith, and with clear and complete understanding, appreciation and knowledge of what the Lord had done for us out of love? If we are not yet ready to do so, then what are we waiting for? The Lord is stirring us up and calls on us to respond to His call, right this very moment now. Let us all respond positively and enthusiastically to this call, brothers and sisters in Christ.

May the Lord, our Saviour and our loving God, continue to watch over us and guide us in our journey of faith. May He, through this blessed time and opportunity of Advent, touch us and our hearts, that we may be willing to listen to Him, and welcome His salvation into our midst. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 17 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Matthew 1 : 1-17

This is the account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron of Aram. Aram was the father of Aminadab, Aminadab of Nahshon, Nahshon of Salmon.

Salmon was the father of Boaz. His mother was Rahab. Boaz was the father of Obed. His mother was Ruth. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the king. David was the father of Solomon. His mother had been Uriah’s wife. Solomon was the father of Rehoboam. Then came the kings : Abijah, Asaph, Jehoshaphat, Joram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah.

Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the deportation to Babylon. After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud of Eliakim, and Eliakim of Azor. Azor was the father of Zadok, Zadok the father of Akim, and Akim the father of Eliud. Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar of Matthan, and Matthan of Jacob.

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and from her came Jesus Who is called the Christ – the Messiah. There were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, and fourteen generations from David to the deportation to Babylon, and fourteen generations from the deportation to Babylon to the birth of Christ.

Thursday, 17 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8, 17

O God, endow the King with Your justice, the Royal Son with Your righteousness. May He rule Your people justly and defend the rights of the lowly.

Let the mountains bring peace to the people, and the hills justice. He will defend the cause of the poor, deliver the children of the needy.

Justice will flower in His days, and peace abound till the moon be no more. For He reigns from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

May His Name endure forever; may His Name be as lasting as the sun. All the races will boast about Him, and He will be blessed by all nations.

Thursday, 17 December 2020 : 3rd Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Genesis 49 : 1-2, 8-10

Jacob then called his sons and said, “Gather round, sons of Jacob. And listen to your father Israel!”

“Judah, your brothers will praise you! You shall seize your enemies by the neck! Your father’s sons shall bow before you. Judah, a young lion! You return from the prey, my son! Like a lion he stoops and crouches, and like a lioness, who dares to rouse him?”

“The sceptre shall not be taken from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to Whom it belongs, and Who has the obedience of the nations.”