CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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The faith of Advent

Advent is a time to ask how Christians can respond to the increasingly polarised situation of politics across the world and especially at home in Hong Kong, as new challenges, such as the further division caused by the interpretation by Beijing of the Basic Law, present themselves.

A peep at the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World from Vatican II may help (93). “Mindful of the Lord’s saying: ‘by this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (John 13:35), Christians cannot yearn for anything more ardently than to serve the men of the modern world with mounting generosity and success. Therefore, by holding faithfully to the gospel and benefiting from its resources, by joining with every man who loves and practices justice, Christians have shouldered a gigantic task for fulfillment in this world, a task concerning which they must give a reckoning to him who will judge every man on the last of days.”

Jesus never said that the road to the kingdom of God is smooth or that there are any shortcuts. But as Vatican II has reminded us, we must hold on to faith and hope, and join with everyone who loves and lives out the challenges of justice.

The times call for an extraordinary and remarkable faith in order to show the world that hope and power lie in God. The challenge to Christians is to indicate where the path to the light at the end of the tunnel of darkness begins.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, which marks a new year in the liturgical calendar of the Church. Let us listen again to the words from the Book of Revelation, “Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent. If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief, and you will never know at what hour I will come upon you” (3:1-3).

Here we pray to the Holy Spirit to allow the word to cleanse the dust from our hearts so that we can renew our original conviction and make a concerted effort to achieve a world of beauty and goodness.

Last year, the Jubilee of Mercy opened at the beginning of Advent. Now, even though it has ended, we should still extend its spirit by injecting impetus into the task of building the kingdom of God and constantly engaging in repentance and conversion.

In a society filled with gloom and anxiety, we should harbour faith and a joyful hope in order to shoulder the hardship and trials and through these experiences inspire others.

Let us pray together for the pastors, the Church and the society. For the faithful, change is a matter of human hearts and prayers. SE