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Reflection for December 2021

Community Word : Children of the Father live in joyful hope, peace and love for the coming of Jesus, our Savior.
Order: “Strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father…” (1Thes 3:13)

The Season of Advent is here. It is the start of a new liturgical year. Advent reminds us of our identity as people of hope waiting for the second coming of Christ, and a people who remembers and celebrates the first coming of Christ. Ironically though, this is also the time when people would tend to overlook the spiritual significance of the season, easily carried away by the material trimmings and glitters that come with the occasion. Some tend to by-pass the spiritual preparation and jump right away into the frenzy of decorations, shopping, gift-giving, vacations and family gatherings.
Our community word for December reminds us that as God’s beloved children, we are to live in hope, peace and love, always with joy in our hearts, for the coming of Jesus, our Savior. Advent is an opportune time in our life to reflect, repent, and receive the Sacraments, a most fitting time to make amends of our ways and brings transformation to our life. It is a time to welcome Jesus again to be born in us and be in our hearts forever. It is a time to offer Jesus the gift that He has always been expecting from us – our steadfast commitment and unwavering resolve to be deeper in love with Him and be His true followers. We know that our gift of dedication will please Jesus, so we must be ready to give it to Him.
“Strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father … (1Thes 3:13). Everything we receive is by God’s grace. We have to strengthen our commitment with the Lord and free ourselves from worldly distractions. This means that we should spend more time knowing and serving Jesus, than be preoccupied with earthly desires and priorities. We should gladden ourselves living like Christ and glorifying God for every blessing that we receive. We ought to consciously act and live in faith, fervently asking the Lord to always fill our heart with His goodness, love, joy and peace.
To help us spiritually prepare to celebrate the coming of our Saviour, let us reflect on the readings of Advent.
The theme for the 1st Sunday of Advent tells us – We prepare for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, when we pray and conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to God. As we start the Advent season, we are immediately given a wake-up call. We are to walk in the light of the Lord and learn to be people of peace. We are expected to cast away all deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light. To be prepared means to always pray and stay alert from walking away from God’s precepts so we can welcome the Lord with faith-filled expectation. When we live this kind of life, we can be assured of this promise – “All the paths of the Lord are kindness and constancy toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees,” (Ps 25:10).
The theme for the 2nd Sunday of Advent give us this direction – We prepare for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, when we transform our ways through repentance and forgiveness of sins. We hear St. John the Baptist firmly proclaiming to the people: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Lk 3:4) for the reign of God is at hand. He calls for a fruitful and lasting conversion of those who had gone astray. Heeding this call truly prepares us in this lifetime for the coming of Jesus, as we are given this promise – “The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Lk 3:5b-6).
We prepare for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, when we joyfully proclaim the Good News to His people, is the theme for the 3rd Sunday of Advent. The readings of this Sunday give us the reason to rejoice because of the good news that we have been saved. Jesus was born; He became man to bring salvation to this world. His ministry of teaching and healing proved that He was the awaited Messiah and His mission was to bring man back to God. Therefore, we must always be glad and rejoice in the Lord, because as St. Paul tells the Philippians – “The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 4:7).
For the 4th Sunday of Advent, the theme is – We prepare for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, when like Mary, we humbly obey the will of God. Our greatest role model of humility and obedience is the Blessed Virgin Mother. Together with St. Joseph, Mary gave everything up to accept God’s invitation to be a key instrument in His salvific plan for man. She became the mother of the Messiah. We too are asked to give our full trust in God, be submissive to His call and be obedient to His plans for us. Sometimes, following God’s word is challenging, but we can be assured that everything works for us who truly love Jesus, in this promise – “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled,” (Lk 1:45).
Finally, the 5th week is the Feast of the Holy Family and our theme is – We prepare for the coming of Jesus, our Savior, when we, like the Holy Family, bond in love with our family and one another. The family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is the model to be imitated by all families. Celebrating this feast should remind us to ever be grateful for the gift of our family, where we first felt love and where we learned to faithfully honor those in authority over us. A family that respects each member will truly live a long life as expressed in this promise – “For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork, blessed shall you be and favoured,” (Ps 128:2).
This coming Christmas will be the 2nd year into the pandemic because of Covid-19. Once again, it behooves upon us who have been blessed with life and provisions to be more sensitive to the needs of the times. Our vigilance for the coming of the Lord should involve our awareness of the pressing needs of people who are still suffering, grieving for the loss of loved ones, or severely affected by the present crisis and other calamities.
We are all children of the Father. All of us are called to show care and empathy for our disaster stricken brethren, perhaps by cutting down on our Christmas spending and re-allocate them for the needs of those who are wanting. Then truly, this season will be a season of love, peace, joy and hope for all.
A Merry Christmas and blessed New Year! Let us give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ for coming into our lives.
November 28 – Jer 33:14-16/ Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14/ 1Thes 3:12-4:2/ Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
December 5 – Bar 5:1-9/ Ps 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6/ Phil 1:4-6,8-11/ Lk 3:1-6
December 12 – Zep 3:14-18A/ Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6/ Phil 4:4-7/ Lk 3:10-18
December 19 – Mi 5:1-4/ Ps 80:2-3,15-16,18-19/ Heb 10:5-10/ Lk 1:39-45
December 26 – Sir 3:2-6, 12-14/ Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5/ Col 3:12-21/ Lk 2:41-52


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