|Posted by Webmaster on December 20, 2013 at 1:30 AM||comments (0)|
The year 2013 saw some very serious disasters – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and typhoons – hitting different countries in the world. The most recent one was HAIYAN, the strongest ever in the world. It hit the Central Philippines, so close to us.
In the face of such catastrophes, we felt rather inadequate. Whatever contribution we give is so little compared to what their victims need. But this is no excuse for doing nothing. On the first Sunday of Advent, December 1, all parishes in the Archdiocese of Kuching took up a collection for the victims of HAIYAN.
Advent is the season of waiting – waiting for the second coming of the Lord Jesus. At that coming at the end of time, the Lord will judge the living and the dead. The sole criterion for His judgement is love – the love we show to the poor and the needy. He articulates this criterion in these words: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt. 25:40). To those who took care of these least of His brothers, He will say: “Come, O blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”(Mt. 25:34).
Advent also prepares for Christmas – the birth of the Lord Jesus more than two thousand years ago. His birth in a manger spoke of His poverty. He embraced that poverty to be in solidarity with the poor and the needy, the least of His brothers. The angels proclaimed to the shepherds: “Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10-11). The baby Jesus born in the manger was Christ the Lord!
This Christmas, Christ is born to us in the poor and the needy, especially the suffering victims of HAIYAN. Like the wise men from the east, let us bring Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Let us be generous with our contribution to the victims of HAIYAN. Although the collection was taken up last Sunday, it can still continue throughout the season of Advent. Let our generous contribution added to that of the millions of Christians and non-Christians throughout the world help these victims build themselves up again and live in the joy of Christmas. May the Lord bless us as share with our suffering brothers and sisters in the Central Philippines the blessings we have received from Him. In this way, we will both celebrate the Lord’s first coming at Christmas meaningfully and prepare ourselves for His second coming at the end of time.
A blessed Christmas filled with the Lord’s love, peace and joy!
Archbishop John Ha