Welcoming the Lord during Advent season
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have just concluded the Year of Faith. But this is an ongoing reality. How can we be the light of faith to others as Pope Francis asked of us?
At Advent, we prepare for the coming of the Lord. Christmas is also a celebration of light because Christ is the light of the world, the epiphany of God, the manifestation of God’s love and mercy to all.
Real faith is not only cerebral but a personal faith, which includes the incarnational reality. The incarnation reveals God’s desire to be close to us in the flesh. From the call of Abraham to the time of Jesus, He has revealed Himself as a personal God, always desiring communion with His people.
How does God reveal His love to us? The Incarnation helps us see God in Christ. God became man so that we can feel, see and touch Him. God in all His majesty and divinity came to share in our humanity so that we too might be called sons and daughters of the Lord (Gal 3:23). The Word became flesh so that we might know God’s love.
We are human with a body and not pure spirit. Hence, there is a real need to sense Him by touching and listening. Our God is not a God from the past but also one who is here and present with us.
How do we sense Him? We sense Him by spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We touch Him through receiving the Eucharist in daily Mass. We hear Him through spending time in His word, and letting His word speak to us.
As we begin to see and feel Him, we are also called to share and pass on this faith through testifying and proclaiming Him in the communities that we are in (1 John 1:1-4). Most of all, we are called to translate our faith into action through a special concern for the poor and lonely, for we remember that Christ was born poor, in a stable, so that we might be rich in Him.
In Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis calls us to strengthen each other in this “priceless treasure of faith which God has given as a light for humanity’s path” (LF 7). Faith is thus intrinsically bound with hope. A hope that illuminates our path to God. And to others.
Our faith, though personal, also points us to a greater communion with our fellow brothers and sisters in this journey. Only then, by sharing our faith actively, can our joy be complete.
In this season of Advent, though it is good to buy gifts to spread the love of Christ to others, we also need to welcome Him first in our hearts through prayer and meditation on the Word of God.
Mary conceived Jesus in her heart before she conceived Him in the flesh. May we too, prepare our hearts first and foremost through confession and prayerful contemplation so that we are able to receive the full measure of His love at the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A blessed Advent to one and all!
Yours in Christ,
Most Rev Msgr William Goh
Archbishop of Singapore