Monday 3 November 2014

Christmas Eve - Midnight Mass

Fear is an unpleasant emotion or thought that you have when you are frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen. People are fearful for so many reasons: some are fearful of the dark; some are fearful of creepy-crawlies like certain insects, certain lizards (such as the "cicak" or house gecko), snakes or spiders; some are fearful of the unknown or the future; some are fearful of the consequences of past events, especially if they had directly or indirectly been involved in such events; some are even fearful of death. When we are fearful, how would we respond? Some respond by trying to run away and hide, thinking that the fear would eventually go away, but more often than not, the fear remains and may be triggered due to some situation or circumstances. Some may try to substitute fear with substances or other forms of distractions, but this may lead to addiction or abuse of such substitutions. Some may even despair and may give up on themselves. As Christians, how do we respond to fear?

In the first reading, Isaiah tells us: "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone." In the Gospel, the angel of the Lord appeared and said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you." Who is this great light that Isaiah spoke of? Who is this saviour which the angels appeared and proclaimed? He is Christ the Lord! Do not be afraid, "for there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace."

We who had walked in the darkness of our fears, our insecurities, our sins, our worries, have now seen Jesus, our great light. St. Paul in today's second reading reminds us: "He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good." With Jesus our great light, there is no reason for us to fear any longer. So what should we do? What must we do? St. Paul in the second reading gives us the answer. He tells us: "God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions; we must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world."

This is what Christmas is all about to us Christians. It is not about the gifts or food or merry-making. It is about being prepared as best we can and living the values of the Gospel, "while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus." Let us be afraid no longer, but put our confidence and trust in Jesus our great light, knowing that He is our saviour and He will lead us to our true home.

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