2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C) – 5th Dec 2021

Theme: LET US PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Baruch 5:1-9;
  • Psalm 125 (126) R/ v. 3;
  • Philippians 1:3-6. 8-11
  • Luke 3:1-6

1. Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year C. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The word Advent means coming. Jesus Christ came two thousand yeas ago, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time.

    Because Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, and continues to come every Christmas, we believe that he will come again at the end of time. Jesus Came two thousand years ago in Memory, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in Mystery, and Jesus Christ will come again at the end of time in Majesty!

    The word Christ-mas comes from the two words “Christ’s” and “Mass”. (Raas) The Mass is the Sacrament of Sacraments. The word Sacrament in Latin and in Greek means mystery. Jesus Christ comes to us every Christ-mas in mystery!        

    Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time. The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel today tells us about “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. (Lk 3:3)

    Repentance is not only turning away from sin, but repentance is also turning away from the world; and turning to God, and turning to the God of love, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation; the God of Jesus Christ; the God who gives us love, life and happiness! If we only turn away from sin without turning away from the world and turning to Jesus Christ; we will turn back to sin!          

    The gospel also tells us to fill up the valleys, to flatten the mountains, to make the paths straight, and to make the rough roads smooth, that is, to make a radical change in our lifestyle. (NJBC) To live a simple lifestyle, dependent on God for love, life and happiness!

    Most importantly, the gospel today tells us about universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! Thus we read in the gospel: “And all mankind shall see the salvation of God”! (Lk 3:6/SM)

2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The first reading tells us about the return of the Jews from exile from Babylon in the sixth century BC. Thus we read in the first reading:

    “Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them. Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory. For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God. And the forest and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.” (Ba 5:5-9/SM)

    More importantly, the first reading is a prophecy of universal salvation, that is, the salvation of all men and of every man! This prophecy will be fulfilled in Jesus Christ!

3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us about the salvation of the Jews. The responsorial psalm tells us that the Jews had returned from exile from Babylon, and they were very happy, and it was all the work of God! Thus the first and second stanzas of the responsorial psalm:

    “When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage, it seemed like a dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, on our lips there were songs. The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels the Lord worked for them!’ What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 1-3/SM)

    And thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

    “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.” (Ps 125 (126): 3/SM)        

    The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas tell us that the Jews had returned from exile and they were very happy and it was all the work of God. (Ps 125 (126): 1-3) The third and fourth stanzas are a prayer for prosperity and fertility of the land! (Ps 125 (126):4-6/CSB/HCSB)

4. Finally, the second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by growing in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be just and blameless at the coming of Jesus Christ! (NJB) Thus we read in the second reading:

    “My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognize what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God.” (Ph 1:9-11/SM)   

5. Today in the Eucharist we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we eat his body and drink his blood and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the end of time.

    The Holy Spirit will help us to repent, that is, to turn away from sin and from the world, and to turn to Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will help us to change our lifestyle radically. And the Holy Spirit will help us grow in love for each other and consequently in knowledge and discernment so that we will know what is important and so that we will be pure and blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes! Amen

2nd Sunday of Advent (Year B) – 10th December 2017

Theme: LET US PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS AND AT THE END OF TIME

  • Isaiah 40:1-5. 9-11;
  • Psalm 84 (85):9-14. R/ v. 8;
  • 2 Peter 3:8-14
  • Mark 1:1-8

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent, Liturgical Year B. There are four Sundays in Advent. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time.

Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in “memory”, Jesus Christ continues to come every Christmas in “mystery”, and Jesus Christ will come at the End of Time in “majesty”!

The three comings of Jesus Christ are related. Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago in “memory”. He died rose from the dead and gave us the Holy Spirit. He continues to come to us every Christmas in “mystery” in the Holy Spirit. And he will come again at the End of Time in “majesty” when everything will be completed, perfected and fulfilled in him by the Holy Spirit!

The readings today tell us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time. The gospel today tells us that John the Baptist prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ by telling them to repent and confess their sins. The gospel today tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by repentance and by confessing our sins. That is why during this time of Advent, we have penitential services and individual confessions!

More importantly, the gospel today tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will baptize us not only with water, but with the holy water of the Holy Spirit which cleanses us from sin and death and gives us new life!

The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. But more importantly, the first reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes, he will come as the Good Shepherd who feeds his sheep, carries his sheep, embraces his sheep and gives rest to his sheep!

This image of the Good Shepherd is developed by Jesus in the parable of the Lost Sheep (Mt 18:12-14) and the parable of the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11-18). Thus we read in the first reading:

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.” (Is 40:11; SM)

The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a prayer for God’s love, mercy, salvation, justice, peace, prosperity, fruitfulness, etc.!

The responsorial psalm tells us that when Jesus Christ comes he will bring us love, mercy, salvation, justice, peace, prosperity, fruitfulness, etc.! Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:

“Show us, Lord, your love; grant us your salvation.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; CSB)

“Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.” (Ps 84 (85): 8; SM)

The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading also tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ. The second reading tells us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ by “living holy and saintly lives”, and by living “lives without spot or stain”, but more importantly, the second reading tells us that when Jesus Christ comes there will be “the new heavens and new earth”! Thus we read in the second reading:

“You should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, …. What we are waiting for is what he promised; the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.” (2 Pt 3:11-14; SM)

Let us then prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at the End of Time by repentance, by confessing our sins, by living holy and saintly lives, and by living lives without spot or stain, so that when Jesus Christ comes he will find us at peace! A happy Advent to all of you! Amen!

Ash Wednesday (Year A, B , C) – 1st March 2017

Theme: REPENT, AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL

  • Joel 2:12-18;
  • Psalm 50:3-6. 12-14. 17. R/ v. 3;
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:2
  • Matthew 6:1-6. 16-18

1. Today we celebrate Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent! Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter, that is, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our resurrection with him in the sacrament of Baptism! That is why Lent is a time when our catechumens prepare for their Baptism and when we prepare to renew our Baptism on Easter Vigil Night! That is why Lent is a time of repentance!
2. Indeed, the first reading is “a call to repentance”! (NJB) Thus we read in the first reading:
“‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks – come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’ Let your hearts be broken not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again, for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness, and ready to relent.” (Jl 2:12-13; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm is a “prayer of repentance”! (CSB) Thus we responded four times:
“Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned.” (Ps 50:3; SM)
The responsorial psalm has four stanzas. The first and second stanzas ask God to forgive our sins. The third and fourth stanzas ask God to give us the Holy Spirit so that we will not sin anymore!
4. The second reading tells us to be reconciled to God now, because God has already reconciled us to himself in Jesus Christ! Thus the caption of the second reading:

“Be reconciled to God …. now is the favorable time.”
5. The gospel today tells us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor, not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us to repent during this time of Lent! That is why during this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor! That is why in giving the ashes, the priest says:
“Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15)

21st December 2014 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Theme: JESUS CHRIST WILL COME THIS CHRISTMAS, WITH US OR WITHOUT US

  • 2 Samuel 7:1-5. 8-12. 14. 16
  • Psalm 88:2-5. 27. 29.
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

 

Today we celebrate the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. In a few days’ time we will celebrate Christmas! Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas! As we come close to Christmas, the Church has chosen the readings of today to tell us that the promise God made to David in the first reading is fulfilled in the Gospel reading!

 

In other words, the readings today tell us of the faithful love 0f God! We may not be faithful to God, but God is always faithful to us! In the first reading today God promised King David a dynasty that will last forever! And God fulfilled his promise after one thousand years in Jesus Christ! The time between David and Jesus Christ is about a thousand years! The kings of Israel including David were not always faithful to God, but God was always faithful to them and God fulfilled his promise to Israel in Jesus Christ!

 

In fact the responsorial psalm today was written after the exile. When the kings of Israel were unfaithful to God, Israel was exiled. And when they returned from exile there were no kings for Israel. How then can God fulfill his promise? But the hymn and prayer of the psalm today is to “God the faithful”! In other words, God is faithful and God will fulfill his promise in spite of the unfaithfulness of the kings of Israel and in spite of the exile!

 

The first reading and the responsorial psalm have something very important to tell us, i.e. Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! If we prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves for Christmas, Jesus Christ will still come, but without us!

 

The gospel reading today tells us that the promise God made to David in the first reading is fulfilled in Jesus Christ in the gospel reading. The angel Gabriel said to Mary that she will give birth to Jesus the Son of God and a descendent of David and his kingdom will last forever! Mary asked the angel how this was to come about since she was a virgin and the angel replied that the Holy Spirit will do it! And Mary responded with the famous saying ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me according to your word’. And the angle let her.

 

Again, it is important to know that not everyone said ‘yes’! Not everyone believed in the promise of God! Today’s gospel reading was read on last Friday, the 20″‘ of December and together with it was the first reading from Isaiah. The first reading from Isaiah contrasted the ‘No’ of king Ahaz with the ‘Yes’ of Mary. The first reading last Friday tells us that the Lord wanted to give a sign to king Ahaz, but Ahaz said ‘no’. He did not want a sign. And the Lord through the prophet Isaiah said to Ahaz, ‘I myself will give you a sign. A maiden is with child and she will soon give birth t0 a son whom she

will call Emmanuel, which means “God-is-with-us”.

 

Another person who did not believe in the promise of God is Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. We read about him in the gospel of last Thursday, the 19th of December.

 

Again, his unbelief contrasted with the belief of Mary in the gospel of the following Friday, the 20th of December, which was the same as today’s gospel. The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah that he was to be the father of John the Baptist, but he did not believe the angel. This was because Zechariah and Elizabeth his wife were both very old, too old to have a child. Zechariah was struck dumb because of his unbelief.

 

The important thing to note here is that in both Ahaz who said ‘no’ to God and Zechariah who did not believe the angel, God fulfilled his promises in spite of their unfaithfulness! God was faithful in spite of their unfaithfulness and both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ were born!

Again, the important message for us today is that Jesus Christ will come this Christmas, with us or without us! lf we prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then Jesus Christ will come, with us, but if we do not prepare ourselves this Advent for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas then he will come, without us!

 

That is why during this time of Advent, the Church asks us to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas by prayer, by attending Sunday masses regularly, by attending weekday masses, by going to confession, by penance (though Advent is not a penitential season), by acts of mercy and charity, by becoming Santa Claus to the poor, the marginalized, the aged, the sick, the children, the weak, etc.!

 

A Happy Advent to all of you! Amen!