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Saturday, December 20, 2008

R and I: Advent Journey Continues...

Continuing on the Advent journey towards Christmas, today we have the letters, 'R' and 'I'. Here goes...

Rejoice! Why 'rejoice?', you may ask. What's the point of rejoicing when the gloom of the world's crisis have pervaded all sense of our economic and political fabric of our life which has already taken a toll on people's livelihood. This follows from the previous entry which spoke of 'Hope' and where does one places that hope. St Augustine in his Easter homily or message aptly puts across that we, Christians, are an Easter people and 'Alleluia' is our song. Unfortunately, most of us carry our lives around with long faces that drag on the ground. Nothing seems to satisfy or astonish us anymore. We have closed our minds and hearts to the everyday wonder that God wants to show us and even offer us, especially those that can sustain and encourage us to continue to live courageously and holding life's tension in a noble manner, knowing that God is doing the rest for us. We rejoice because God is fighting on our side to give us the dignity of his children that we all are. We rejoice because we continue to possess the freedom to chose to stay sober and never give up our strength to see through another day and grow stronger and wiser by it all. We rejoice simply because we are given the opportunity to fulfil the Beatitudes that bind us closely to our Lord who first taught and lived by their principles to the end.

Invitation is not usually associated with the powerful or a despot. For them, everything will come down to coercion, at best, or forceful oppression, at worse. But for the child in the manger who will grow up to be the Lord and Saviour of all mankind, his style will always be that of a gentle invite into his world where the blind see, the lame walk, the prisoners set free, the hungry fed and the naked clothed. He continues to invite us, even today, to follow through this commitment as his disciples and 'friends'. For many of us, invitation can sometimes be a word that denote a sense of 'whimpiness' or 'weakness'. We want to be more assertive, even to the expense of other people's rights. We push our way through like a bull in a china shop, upsetting and destroying everything in our path. Such is our fallen human nature. The Christ child in the crib that you see in the church or in your homes would give you pause as to how a God that is Almighty, Omnipotent would want to be born as a helpless baby in a manger whose only defence are his parents, and if you follow the Christmas tradition, an ox and an ass/a donkey. This scene certainly is an invitation to ponder the silent power in being meek and humble before the powers of the world that would not hesitate to put it out of existence. The ultimate invitation, however, is that to the Banquet of the Lord where Jesus Christ will be our host. Would you still want to take a raincheck on an invite like that or would you immediately send in your replies in the affirmative?...

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