HOMILY: 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT 2020
It was a sad story about my eldest brother. After the devastating typhoon, while they were cleaning their backyard his right foot accidentally stepped on an old rusty nail. He was diabetic and in just less than a month the pus spread through his sole foot. The infection was so severe that the physician recommended amputation for the swelling part to avoid further damage. He was crying, depressed and very scared. He said, I thought I will enjoy my retirement. I am scared that I might die because of infection. He was anticipating that he might be a burden for his family. I said, that wound is still far from your heart. Do not be afraid, God will surely heal you. Just trust and pray and everything will be fine. Always remember that we your brothers and sisters and your family are always here for you.
We are now on the 4th Sunday of Advent. The theme is the contrast of fear which is faith and confidence. Fear is overcome by the grace of God. The gospel tells us about the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary. Mary, do not be afraid for you have found favour with God. The word “grace” speaks of love freely given. We are God’s children so that we are encouraged to know that we do not have to earn the closeness and help of God. We should not be afraid because God loves us so much. Even in the future, the grace of God will always be there to sustain us, especially in moments of trial and darkness. We are our Father's children. Our Father is greater than our fear.
Fear is overcome by obedience of faith. The Letter of Paul to the Romans invites us to know the proclamation of Jesus Christ and the prophetic writings. Faith is a gift of friendship with God that we need to develop. We have to read and digest the word of God. The prophetic writings tell us about how God liberated the people of Israel. Jesus proclaims that He will come to overcome death which is constantly proclaimed in the mass. We will never appreciate these truths unless we eat the word of God. Let us make the bible a gift this Christmas. A protestant pastor once asked me, why do Catholics do not bring and read the bible? This is a sad truth yet keep in mind that it nourishes our faith.
Fear is overcome by courage and strength that come from God. The Second Book of Samuel tells us about the story of David. He was a humble shepherd turned to be a great defender of Israel. Nathan told him, go, do all that you have in mind for the Lord is with you. From the assurance that God’s grace is with us comes the strength to take courage in the present moment: the courage to carry forward what God asks of us here and now, in every area of our lives. This year will be a very strange Christmas celebration. It is the best season for families, friends and community for bonding, fun, entertainment and worship but we cannot have it as much as we want. Household gathering is strictly imposed. Perhaps most of us will just attend mass through live streaming and never go for the Boxing Day. Find the meaning of the season spiritually not materially. Be satisfied of what we have and do have a grateful heart.