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An awesome crèche for baby Jesus

 

O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.

The liturgical year begins with the season of Advent. As a preparation for this season, our assistant parish priest, Father Cyril Cheung Lok-tin shared his time and effort by giving us a talk on how to embrace the Advent season meaningfully.

Advent means coming. There are three Advents in a Christian life—the coming of the Son of God through his Incarnation; the presence of Jesus Christ in his Church through the sacraments, which means God is in our midst all the time; the second coming of Jesus Christ, which is at the end of times or on our death.

In this Advent season we remember the Jews who waited thousands of years before the Messiah came, who saved them from the injustices in the Roman world.

In our real life today, spiritually preparing ourselves is necessary before we embrace our Lord on the day of his birth.

Father Cheung cited a scene in the gospel (John 2:14-16) where Jesus drove out from the temple all the money changers and merchants selling oxen, sheep and doves. “Take all this away and stop making a marketplace of my Father’s home” (John 2:16).

Father Cyril said that oftentimes our hearts are like a marketplace—crowded with many worldly desires and self-interest, which enable us to disregard a space for Our Lord Jesus.

He said that during these four weeks of Advent, the best place to furnish is our hearts. Our hearts are the best crèche we can offer for baby Jesus to lie down and dwell in it forever.

Therefore, we need to cleanse our hearts by throwing out all worldly desires and selfish ambitions which hinder us from receiving the grace of God. But we can only do it by abandoning ourselves completely to God, because by our own effort we cannot save ourselves. 

We totally need a saviour and that is why the Lord is coming soon.

Father Cheung stressed that the best and only way to reconcile ourselves with God is through the sacrament of reconciliation or confession. He taught us how to accomplish a good confession by giving us guidelines for the examination of our conscience.

He also stated the importance of confession in Catholic life, which keeps our life in a state of sanctifying grace.

We are all sinners, but if we seek the grace of God to change our sinful living through confession and with a contrite heart full of repentance, he will surely forgive us as he is a merciful and compassionate God and, as he promised, “Even if your sins be as red as scarlet, I shall make you as white as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

Our warm gratitude to Father Cheung for sharing his precious time with us.

A blessed and meaningful Advent to everyone. God bless us all.

 

Ruth Lacaran 
Immaculate Heart of Mary

Taipo