The season of Advent resonates the mood of anticipation and preparation. The season of Advent can be separated into two part. First is Christmas, during which the first coming of Christ is recalled in joyful festivities. Second is the ultimate event of Christ’s second coming in power and glory. While we prepare for the coming of the Baby Jesus, our attention is drawn equally to when we all meet Christ when our earthly pilgrimage comes to an end.
Advent reminds us that we have a God who fulfills promise. The prophet Jeremiah is fulfilled when he says, a Messiah shall spring forth from the stock of David. He shall be our Prince of peace and his reign over our world shall be characterized by wisdom, love, justice and integrity. This is Jesus!
This Jesus will come again. When we speak of His second coming, it is not aimed to bring panic, rather it is an invitation for watchfulness and vigilance. His coming in power and glory shall be to secure our liberation and exaltation. Thus, we must stand erect, heads high, in confident anticipation and prayerful alertness as we await our Master’s glorious return.
At this moment we live between the two comings of Christ. For this reason we must make it our obligation to make the presence of Christ felt in our world. We must make the world a better place through our little words and deeds of kindness and service.
Our watchful anticipation and preparation of Christ’s coming is done by the love we show for one another. This Advent, let us be witnesses to peace amidst conflicts; hope amidst despair; loving concern amidst indifference and life amidst the culture of death.
One morning I went to celebrate Mass, and one of the parishioners came in the sacristy to help set up. In our general conversations, as people would have, I asked him “where do you live?” Interesting he danced around the question. So I asked him again, "where do you live?" He looked at me with a tear in his eyes and said, "I do not have a home." I was heartbroken. This man has crossed my path several times and I didn’t care enough to know anything about him. Sometimes, I had scolded him for the things he didn’t get right and would even try to ignore him when I saw him but I never paid enough attention to, or sought to understand, the deeper experiences that formed him. Perhaps, that would have given me a window into the unique challenges that influenced his actions.
After Mass I went back to the rectory, settled at my desk, and thought about the hardship that many people around us go through.I began to reflect, what can I do? And so I prayed for the strength to respond to the needs of others courageously. Then the the words of Mahatma Gandhi came to me, to “live simply so that others may simply live”.
How often we roll up our windows when beggars approach our cars, or steer in a different direction when we see someone suffering from drug addiction. On few occasions when we try to help, we throw money at them without looking into their faces.
The world needs more love, more understanding, more generosity. The world needs more people to genuinely ask “How are you?”. The world needs more people to look into the faces of the poor and the beggars and remind them with a smile that they are human. The world needs more light. In this season as we approach Advent and Christmas, may each of us be that light.
Violence, racism, injustice, poverty, murder - doesn't it make you angry? All sin, including our own, should.
Isn’t it interesting that our Lord who is perfection personified anger!
Here, we must be careful not to equate His anger with our normal everyday experiences of anger. We can describe His anger as righteous anger, which is redemptive, not destructive.
The Prophet Isaiah said: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7). What is our attitude towards the house of God? When we talk of the house of God it begins from the spiritual temple of our bodies to the physical edifice that houses us during worship, called a Church.
Christ expressed great displeasure at the evil actions people were involved in especially in in the temple, but that is because He desired their repentance. Many who were there may have been very shocked at His actions, we too can be shocked when reading it, but it righteous anger motivates to make change.
Dear friends, we ought to be angered by sin because it is capable of destroying us. However, we must be careful that we don’t use this example of Jesus to justify losing control of ourselves and entering into the deadly sin of anger. Righteous anger, as Jesus expresses today, will always leave one with a sense of peace and love for those who are rebuked, like a parent correcting a child.
So much was sacrificed to get the Church of Christ to where it is today. What have you and I done for the Church? If we treat our bodies as spiritual temples and the Church reverently, prayers will be answered and wonders will be experienced.
We learn from the Lord’s lips, that complete happiness does not consist in the abundance of wealth and material possessions.
Our world associates happiness with feelings of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency.
This week many will be praying to win the lottery so they can “find” happiness. But in the midst of desiring money do we so much as think or thank God for what we have?,Or do we even think of using our earnings in helping the poor. The Lord teaches us that selfishness can never lead to happiness. When we have no regard for God or for our fellow human beings we are as Jesus put it, fools.
We must not fall for into the trap of finding our happiness on material wealth, eating and drinking. So if you win the lotto, see it as the responsibility to be dispensers of God’s gift to the needy. And if you don’t win, no worries- our happiness comes from God not in worldly goods.
Let us reflect today on one of the most moving Gospel stories recorded exclusively by Luke – the story of the Good Samaritan. In it, Jesus reminds us on who our neighbor is and how we ought to live in fraternal charity and solidarity towards others.
Christ’s life and ministry was a continual therapy for wounded humanity, a remedy for mankind’s spiritual and material deficiencies. He, therefore, enjoins you and I to emulate the Good Samaritan in the parable, to exercise the same kind of compassion towards others. We must never be indifferent or unconcerned about a suffering person’s plight or misery. We have to learn to stop and spend time with one who may be in need of physical or spiritual solace.
Let us lovingly and deliberately practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Our neighbors suffer from varied lacks and needs; their wounds may be caused by loneliness or lack of love, their needs may be material – food, clothing, shelter, employment – or they could also be grave suffering resulting from ignorance or the moral wound of sin. We sure can do something by showing genuine compassion, mercy and love.
Through this attention and affection given to others, by spreading love, the world may experience the healing touch of Christ.
We learnt that the legitimacy of Christianity can be deduced from the message of Christ which focuses on himself as God, and stands out as a clear distinction between Jesus and other religious leaders who have through the ages offered some new found knowledge of a transcendent pathway to God existing outside of themselves. Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ, documented claims of miracles performed by Christ with particular reference to his resurrection, eye witness accounts in the New Testament and historical documentation on Christ and the deaths of the apostles/the church fathers as a consequence of their zeal to spread the message of our Lord further gives credence to Christianity and tells of a conviction that could only come from “the truth”: “That Christ is the Messiah That He came, died and rose from the dead and in doing so, gave us a new life That all those who believe in Him, through the ministry of the Church, receive this new life through repentance and baptism This new life provides graces which prepare us for the coming judgment at the end of time”