Greetings in the Lord Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself to join us in our humanity!
Throughout history, humankind has asked itself: What is a meaningful life?
In Singapore, many people answer this question in terms of possessing biological health and material wealth. We pour our greatest energy into securing a sizeable income, and we seem to derive great satisfaction when we are engaged in the act of buying or selling something. We also invest a great deal into preserving our bodily wellness.
There is practical wisdom in having these priorities, and making a living is one of the primary ways Catholics strive for holiness.
However it would be short-sighted to build our lives only around these things. Our bodies are mortal, and our earthly wealth is but temporary. Moreover, the material world cannot and will not supply a vision beyond itself, a vision that we need in order to attain the full meaning of what it is to be a human being.
Technological knowledge tells us how things work, but not why we are here. Science can unravel the mysteries of the physical realm, but does not know what to say about the spiritual dimension.
So it is no wonder that there are those who have reached the highest levels of wealth, health, and learning, but look within themselves and see a vast emptiness inside.
The Lord spoke of this truth when He asked, “What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life?” (Matthew 16:26)
Out of infinite love and compassion, God sent Jesus Christ into our midst (John 3:16) who made us realise that this emptiness can only be filled when we begin restoring ourselves through Him to the Father.
It is Christ who gives humanity a new horizon – a new purpose to strive for – that is eternal life with the One who made us.
Understanding this true destiny helps us to see why even our best efforts keep falling short; that despite our most diligent application of our intelligence to achieve a better life, we, our loved ones, and even our environment continues to suffer.
During this Advent season, let us entrust ourselves to Christ, who, at the risk of rejection, put aside His divinity to entrust Himself to our humanity.
Learn what it means to be a human being from Christ, who is the fullness of humanity Himself, even if it means saying no to our own selfishness and re-prioritising our lives. Contemplate the teachings of Christ, especially the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), to find out how to live a “blessed” existence.
The challenge of being faithful to Christ and the Gospel can never be underestimated, especially in the places where we live and work.
So let your lamps be lit, as the parable of the wise virgins advise (Matthew 25:1-13), that when the Master returns we will be found joyful and ready.
May the grace of the child Jesus be with you and your loved ones this Advent and Christmastide.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia