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Friday, December 19, 2008

C and H: An Advent Journey

I finished the last class for today and as of now till January 6th 2009 I am on a 2-week Christmas/New Year break. Fun, ya? :-D

Anyway, since we are on our way towards Christmas and there is a well-known practice of having a novena in preparation for the celebration of birth of our Lord, which began some two days ago, I thought I would use the remaining days to Christmas to bring some cheer and hope and not let the gloom and fear that is prevalent in this recent times to be the Grinch that steals the joy and power that is Christmas. I was also encouraged to do something like this because a friend had requested a homily on this blog for Christmas. I thought I would obliged, but not just with a Christmas homily (more on this later) but also some thoughts to the coming event which the Church celebrates in remembrance of God's greatest gift to humanity - Himself.

I am a little behind time with this, so, here's the first two instalment...

Christ is the reason for Christmas. Or so many message of homilies or sermons would say or preached. That is certainly true and would not be a strange phrase to hear for any Christian worth his/her salt. However, saying that is one thing but to really allow that phase sink into your whole being, to begin to grasp its implication for one's life and to savour the deep and profound meaning which can be easily missed is another thing altogether. Without getting all technical and too theological with it all, let us just say that with Christ in the very scheme of our salvation history, God broke into our fabric of time and space and became like one of us, in all things except sin. By doing so, our humanity has been deemed worthwhile and dignified to be divinized. All this done, not by our own merit but because God loves us so much. With and in Christ we are rightly and truly children of God! Have you ever thought, even for a second, what being a child of God is for you? Yet, we can sometimes continue to act and live out our lives as though we are no different than a can of Coke, sold to be consumed and later crushed and disposed of, like the rubbish it really is. Regain the dignity of being a child of God and don't be sell it away for 'thirty pieces of silver'!

Hope is one of the three theological virtues, faith and charity being the other two. In his opening paragraph of his Encyclical Letter, Spe Salvi (on Christian Hope), Pope Benedict XVI writes that "Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is ardous, can be lived and accepted if it leads to a goal... great enough to justify the effort of the journey." The goal of course is eternal life. Depending on how you view the question of Christian hope, it can be life-changing, life sustaining - that is, being a message which shapes our life in a new and creative way - or it can be just "information" which can be set aside and be superceded by more recent information. The current economic crisis, that shows signs of a long ordeal ahead, have already affected many people around the world and has put a heavy burden in many a families. In this situation, it is easily to lose all hope or to feel as if all is lost. Much of our problems tend to come from our perception of having all our hope lie in wealth and power which has ultimately failed us and failed us horribly. Christian hope, on the other hand, is a Biblical hope in the Kingdom of God, not hope in the kingdom of man. This Christian hope is something infinite, something that will always be more than we can ever attain, because we are created for the infinite! While we may need greater and lesser hopes to keep us going day by day, these are not enough without the greater hope that surpasses all, namely God who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. What we hope in, will tell us whether we have 'place our bets' in the Kingdom of God or in the kingdom of man. Which will it be?...


Joanne W said...

Thanks for this post Father! I really love it...

Unknown said...

@joanne: you are welcome! :-)


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