Father Valan Arockiaswamy

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HOMILIES

Close Dear Audience,
For better understanding of the spiritual message behind this homily I kindly remind you to first read and contemplate the biblical texts before reading or listening to my preaching - a human reflection on the Word of God!

First Sunday of Advent (Year B)

Nov 29, 2020 Views 122 Listen 6 Downloads 0
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First Reading

A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7)

You, Lord, are our father; our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear from you now? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as they had not heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalms of David (80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19)


(R) Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

Once again, O Lord of hosts, look down from heaven, and see; take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted; the son of man whom you yourself made strong. (R)

May your help be with the man of your right hand, with the son of man whom you yourself made strong. Then we will no more withdraw from you; give us new life, and we will call upon your name. (R)

Second Reading

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1:3-9)

Brothers and sisters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

(P) The word of the Lord.
(R) Thanks be to God.

Gospel

A reading from the Gospel according to Mark (13:33-37)

Jesus said to his disciples: "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: "Watch!""

(P) The Gospel of the Lord.
(R) Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily

Although the exact date of Jesus' birth is unknown, and the origin of Christmas remains a debatable issue, every year, we Christians following tradition, observe December 25 as the day to commemorate his birth. We do not have to be too concerned with the date and its origin, because even many non-Christians and atheists now celebrate the event with gift giving and social gatherings. In some places preparations for the celebration start as early as September with displays and Christmas decorations in shopping malls and streets and holiday package deals. However sadly, many people have swept away in the traditions, rituals and festivities, and very few people ever pause to consider the true reason for the celebration, Saint John (3:17) writes, "For God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved." On Christmas Day, therefore, we commemorate God's most incredible act of love. We celebrate God's coming to us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ to save us. Our Church has designated the four weeks preceding Christmas as Advent, a time to prepare for the Lord's coming.

Saint Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, a part of which we read today, wrote about the necessity of unceasingly giving thanks as they waited for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. What was the context? After the death and resurrection of Jesus, the early Christians believed that Jesus would come again but had to live with the anxiety of not knowing when he would come. And when he did not come quickly they began to lose hope. Particularly among the Corinthian Christians serious conflicts and divisions started to erupt. They began to look to worldly men for wisdom rather than to God. They were engaging in all kinds of gross immorality. They were going to the worldly courts for judgments instead of seeking guidance from spiritual leaders in the Church. The community was almost dysfunctional. Hence, Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were to thank God for what He has accomplished in them as they awaited the Lords' coming.

Paul himself expressed gratitude to God on behalf of the Corinthian church for two things:

  • He thanked God for the grace of God in Christ Jesus. This is the fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah's prophecy and prayers of the ancestors. Jesus Christ did come, not as they had expected, but in His own time and on His own terms, to save His people.
  • He thanked God for enriching the Corinthians in every way, particularly, in their discourse and in their knowledge - that is, they were blessed with the important gifts of both speaking (telling forth of the truth) and knowledge (the grasp of the truth). Paul thanked God for the Corinthians so that they may not lack any spiritual gift such as wisdom, faith, prophecy, leadership, generosity, mercy and so on, as they waited for the Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

What is the message for us?

  • After our baptism we Christians must follow Christ in all ways, particularly in Christ's complete faith, His total submission and obedience to the will of God the Father that led to His suffering and death for the sake of others. But regrettably many of us either deny or choose not to participate or live the life of Christ. Friends, advent is a time to refocus on Christ. As we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth let us give thanks to God who came to save us through His Son Jesus Christ; for enriching us in every way and confirming the message of His Gospel, so that we may believe it, learn it, speak it and practice it well.
  • Just like our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and many others who waited for the coming of the Messiah, and just like the early Christians who looked forward to the second coming of Christ or the Day of Judgment, let us also eagerly await the revelation of God on that great day to come.
(P) Amen.

God Bless You!

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