My fellow People of God,
When our first parents departed from the paradise of Eden (Genesis 3), the human race came to know sin, suffering, and death. But God did not leave the human race to that fate.
Through the gift that is Christ Jesus, fully divine and fully human, God saves the human condition so that through humanity the whole of Creation may be restored to the Creator.
Advent is the time to glorify God for wanting to share togetherness with the human family – and for coming into our history by the birth of our Lord Jesus. This is what God does out of love for us! (John 3:16)
During this time, I ask you to join me in reflecting on the mystery of God Incarnate, the mystery of a God that goes to His people. How do we imitate this God and go to others in the love of Christ?
To begin with, each of us needs to follow God’s will within our own situation in life. All baptised Catholics must ask God how to care for others in their prayer by asking: “What then should we do?” (Luke 3:10)
For those in the ministry of the Word of God; catechists, preachers and teachers of the Gospel as well as the Catholic tradition – “go to” others by making the teachings of Christ and his Good News accessible to people of all ages and social backgrounds. Parents, “go to” your children by taking primary responsibility for their religious upbringing.
For those in the ministry of nurturing communities; ordained, religious, and lay community leaders – “go to” others by spending your efforts to build up your communities, and do not neglect to forge relationships with people outside your own group.
Foster the spirituality of communion that strengthens our Church and offers a witness against individualism and the isolation that it brings.
Busy Catholics, who have little time for parish involvement, “go to” others in the way of getting acquainted with your Christian neighbours. At least know some of the members of your faith-family living around you.
For those in the ministry of worship; liturgists, presiders of the Eucharist, prayer leaders of song and meditation – “go to” others by enriching the participation of those in prayer, so that all can rejoice and praise God’s presence that is with us always, especially in the celebration of the Holy Mass.
For those in the ministry of service; social workers, counsellors, caregivers to the disabled, infirm, and elderly – “go to” others by bringing the care of Christ to people who are helpless or in distress. The challenges of modern living bring about its own anxieties, producing a new kind of poverty besides the material sort.
Ordinary Catholics can “go to” others by offering help and consolation to anyone in need.
Young people especially need to channel their energy and enthusiasm to these four works of building up the Church.
We will never exhaust the riches that we draw from the mystery of the Incarnation. Let our prayers this Advent remind us that, like our Saviour who came to us, we need to go to others.
Invite Christ into your homes, parishes, schools, and workplaces, so that your words and actions give testimony to the Church that does not exist for itself, but for the transformation of the world with the love of God.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia