Tuesday, 29 November 2022 : 1st 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 Sacred Scriptures, we are reminded of how fortunate we are for having received the revelation of truth from God, of the coming of His future return, and how we shall all be partakers and inheritors of His glorious kingdom, when He comes again at the end of time. We are reminded that God will deliver us into a new existence and life free from the bondage and sufferings due to our sins and wickedness. The Lord has reassured us that He will never abandon us to the darkness, and all of us who are faithful to Him shall receive from Him the gift of everlasting grace and life, freedom from the darkness of sin and death. No longer shall we have to fear the threats of evil and the attacks of Satan, the evil one, because our Lord will lead us to His great triumphant victory in the end.

However, along the way there will indeed be plenty of challenges, trials and obstacles facing us. Hence, we really have to be patient and committed to the Lord, with all of our hearts and minds, so that we may remain firm and true in our faith in Him, and not be tempted to walk away and abandon Him for other comforts and pleasures in the world. And that is why we have to remind ourselves in this season of Advent of what we are expecting in the coming Christmas, as we approach the time of rejoicing because we see the coming of the hope and new life in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are reminded that we rejoice greatly as we have seen the light of Our Lord’s glory and all that we shall enjoy in Him, the eternity of perfect bliss and happiness in His presence.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus Himself praised His heavenly Father for all that He had planned for the salvation of all mankind, and how everything had indeed been fulfilled and accomplished perfectly through His coming into this world, He, the Son of God and Son of Man, incarnate in the flesh and born of His blessed Mother Mary. Through Christ, all that God has promised all of us and our ancestors and predecessors, all mankind from the beginning of time had come to a full circle and perfect accomplishment. He has shown us the fullness of God’s love manifested before our own eyes, where God became tangible and approachable, and hence, showing and proving to us that whatever He has promised us all and our predecessors are not merely empty promises.

Indeed, it was not just that the love of God has been made manifest in this world and tangible to us, but through His actions, especially by His suffering and death on the Cross, Christ has delivered us the ultimate expression of God’s ever enduring love for all of us. As He Himself said that there is no greater love than for someone to lay down one’s life for a friend, that was exactly what the Lord had done for our sake. The Lord has shown us just much beloved we are and how precious we are to Him, that despite of our constant stubbornness and rebellion against Him, He still reached out to us and loved us nonetheless. His salvation has been extended to all mankind, even those who have hurt and persecuted Him. He is the one Lord of all, and all of us are His people, His beloved ones.

If God has loved us so much then we really need to ask ourselves, why then we have often neglected and ignored Him in our preparations for Christmas? Why have we spent so much time and effort in preparing and immersing ourselves in the festivities and merrymaking and yet, Christ is nowhere near the centre or the focus of our celebrations? The Lord has given us the wonders and riches of His love, and yet, we have not responded to His love with openness and willingness to embrace that love. How often is it that we remain stubborn in our refusal to embrace God’s love and mercy despite Him having patiently cared and reached out to us all these while? We have been busy preparing for Christmas, but is it the true Christmas that we are truly preparing for? Or is it the Christmas of our fancy and desires that we are actually looking forward to.

Let us all consider all of these very carefully even as we continue to progress through this season of Advent. We should not let the distractions and temptations of the secular and worldly Christmas from misleading us down the wrong path this season of Advent. Instead, we should do better in deepening our understanding of God’s love and compassion for us, and how we can do better in our respective lives to do what God has called on each one of us to do. We should this time of Advent to reflect on everything that God had done for us, in loving us and in showing us mercy and forgiveness, even when we have repeatedly disappointed Him and disobeyed Him, betrayed and rejected Him. Such pure love that God has shown us should be reciprocated and responded with our own love and devotion towards Him. But many of us realised it only too late that God has loved us so much.

Too many times we have been too busy with ourselves, our desires and pursuits in this world, blinded by our ego and pride, and as a result, we end up falling deeper and deeper into the path of worldliness and sin, and distracted away from the path of God’s righteousness and truth. Unless we keep this in mind and do our best to steer ourselves away from worldly temptations and resist their influences, we may likely end up going down the wrong paths, and end up being found unworthy to receive the Lord’s glorious inheritance on the Day of Reckoning. Is that what we truly want, brothers and sisters in Christ? To gain the temporary and short-term pleasures and happiness of the world, we sacrifice and forgo our assurance of eternal life in God?

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey, and may He strengthen our faith, resolve and commitment to follow Him wholeheartedly in our way of life. May God be with us always and may He encourage us to walk down the path of righteousness and justice, and be ever vigilant against the allures, coercions and pressures of worldly corruptions, evils and temptations, as well as by deepening our relationships with God. May God bless our every actions and interactions, and give us the strength to carry out our calling and duties faithfully in life. Amen.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 : 1st Week of Advent (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Luke 10 : 21-24

At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will. I have been given all things by My Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 : 1st Week of Advent (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Psalm 71 : 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

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.

Justice will flower on 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.

He delivers the needy who call on Him, the afflicted, with no one to help them. His mercy is upon the weak and the poor; He saves the lives of the poor.

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 praised by all nations.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022 : 1st Week of Advent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 11 : 1-10

From the stump of Jesse a Shoot will come forth; from his roots a Branch will grow and bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him – a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and power, a Spirit of knowledge and fear of YHVH.

Not by appearances will He judge, nor by what is said must He decide, but with justice He will judge the poor and with righteousness decide for the meek. Like a rod, His word will strike the oppressor, and the breath of His lips slay the wicked. Justice will be the girdle of His waist, truth the girdle of His loins.

The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will rest beside the kid, the calf and the lion cub will feed together and a little child will lead them. Befriending each other, the cow and the bear will see their young ones lie down together. Like cattle, the lion will eat hay. By the cobra’s den the infant will play. The child will put his hand into the viper’s lair. No one will harm or destroy over My holy mountain, for as water fills the sea the earth will be filled with the knowledge of YHVH.

On that day the “Root of Jesse” will be raised as a signal for the nations. The people will come in search of Him, thus making His dwelling place glorious.