Celebrate with the peace of Christ

As we come to the end of Advent, the Gospel focuses on Mary’s fiat, her “yes” to God. It was only through the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary that God’s plan for the redemption of humanity could take place.

Dec 22, 2023

Reflecting on our Sunday Readings with Fr Philip Tay, OCD

4th Sunday of Advent (B)
Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16;
Romans 16:25-27;
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

As we come to the end of Advent, the Gospel focuses on Mary’s fiat, her “yes” to God. It was only through the cooperation of the Blessed Virgin Mary that God’s plan for the redemption of humanity could take place. Notice, however, that, even though Mary asked the question of “how could this be?”, this was not a sign of doubt or fear. It was asked out of her need to clarify the situation. There was never a hesitancy or doubt because after the angel’s reply, she immediately proclaimed her “yes”. For many of us, doubts and fears are something that we face almost on a daily basis. This leads us to the Gospel reading from the Midnight Mass.

The first thing that the angel tells us is to not be afraid. Fear is something that we are all familiar with. From the moment we are born until the day we depart from this life, we face all kinds of fear, albeit to different degrees and forms. We fear of losing our loved ones, we fear to fail in our exams, we fear to lose our sense of security and the fear of uncertainty. Fear cripples us and prevents us from living life to our full potential. With the birth of Christ, we are told not to fear because Jesus has been born to redeem us and bring us back to God. Whatever fears and trials that we experience in this life pales in comparison to the life that awaits us when we reach our final union with God. The fall of Adam and Eve closed the gates of heaven but Christ has reopened it for us.

The final message of the angel is the peace to all who enjoy God’s favour. There are three levels of peace involved here.

The first and most important one is our peace with God. God bestows his peace on us but it is up to us whether we want to receive this or not. We all know that the peace that God gives is one that is different from what the peace of the world. The peace that God grants us is one that is so deep that even the darkest fears and toughest challenges in life will not be able to shake us from that peace. This does not mean that we are free from the trials of life. We still live in a world full of temptation and trials but the peace of God gives us the grace to face all these challenges with complete trust in God’s providence.

The second level of peace is to be at peace with ourselves. All of us at some point in our life will struggle with ourselves internally. Some of us may struggle our whole lives. The angel tells us to be at peace with ourselves and to stretch out our hand to Christ and allow him to lead us to restful waters. When we are not at peace with ourselves, we will not be able to live a life that has been given to us by God. The final level of peace is the peace between one another. The birth of Christ brings with it healing and reconciliation. Whatever differences that we have with one another, let us put it aside this Christmas season and be at peace with each other. I’m not saying that we should just put our differences aside and pretend it’s not there; we should make peace with one another and find ways to resolve our differences. It is not easy but I believe with the peace that God has given us, we can be at peace with each other.

Let us celebrate the birth of Christ with a true and heartfelt joy, greeting each other with the peace that Christ brings us and truly praise God with our lives and bring this joy to the whole world. As our year draws to a close, today’s scripture brings us back to the beginning of all time. As we stand on the threshold of another year, we take time to recall the greatest event of all: God has entered our world, not just for a day’s visit, but has made it his permanent dwelling. And this is news of great joy indeed. Let us reflect on how the light of God’s presence has impacted our life during this past year. Let us truly be thankful for the gift of Christ in our lives and share this light and hope to all whom we meet.

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