“Adventus” is the Latin translation of the Greek Word “Parousia” – The Lord is coming. The First Coming of Christ has historically passed and Advent prepares us for the Second Coming of Christ. However, we must first receive Christ in His First Coming at Christmas, if we are to be ready for His Second Coming.
Advent is thus a special time for us to pray and contemplate with Mary, as we prepare for Jesus to be born into our hearts. Appropriately, the theme for this Advent is “Bearers of the Good News”.
This theme reinforces the significance of consecrating the work for the New Evangelisation, to Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelisation, who leads us to Christ, the Light of the World. For Mary was the first to bring Jesus, the Good News, to the world.
After pondering what the Angel Gabriel had told her, she hurried to Elizabeth to proclaim the Good News of the coming of the Messiah.
We, too, are to follow Mary’s example and hurry to those in society today who need the Good News – those who are losing hope, feeling unloved or experiencing low self-esteem. For when love is no longer experienced to be sincere, true or everlasting, many turn to material things, gambling, substance abuse and other forms of addiction to fill the void.
The world today has indeed lost its bearing without God and truth and is in dire need of the Good News.
Hence as chosen disciples of Christ, we are called today to give hope to a world that is on the edge of despair. The Good News that we want to proclaim is that God loves us in His Son, Jesus Christ, and has forgiven all our sins. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and is the answer to all the riddles and sufferings in this life.
As Christians baptised into the Body of Christ, we are entrusted with continuing the mission of Christ, in seeking and caring for the wounded. Like Mary, we need to hurry to them, to encounter and love them and hence to be the Good News to them.
However, though the Church is an evangeliser, she begins by being evangelised herself. The work for the New Evangelisation thus requires us to first encounter Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, before we can be “Bearers of the Good News”.
Like Mary who pondered the will of God, we too are invited to contemplate on the Word of God and pray for wisdom and guidance to continue the mission of Jesus. Unless we conceive Jesus in our minds and hearts, we cannot give birth to Him in our lives, nor can we bring Him to the world.
Like Mary, we need to make time for quiet prayer and meditation, in preparation to receive the Lord well. The discipline of prayer is important, for without prayer, we cannot grow in holiness.
Like a muscle which grows stronger with exercise to support our every move and action, so, too, prayer builds strong spiritual muscles that help us in the work of evangelisation. Prayer, to be efficacious, must be strengthened by works of charity, penance, fasting and mortification.
We therefore look to Mary, who was first to receive Jesus both in her heart and in her womb, to teach us how to prepare for a rebirth of Christ in our lives. This applies especially to those who have lost their faith or have become complacent in their Christian life.
Finally, let this Advent season be a gestation period for the Good News to take shape in our lives, so that at Christmas, we can be like Mary and give birth to the “Good News”, in going forth and proclaiming with joy and love, that God is truly in our midst.
This is the hope which we must bring to the world. May this Advent be a fruitful time for you to grow in faith and love, in order to be Bearers of the Good News.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
Archbishop William Goh