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Publish Date: 30 November 2018
 

Archbishop Paul Kwong's Pastoral Letter for Advent 2018


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ :

May the peace of the Lord be with you

Advent represents the beginning of another liturgical year of the Church. 2018-2019 is Year C in the lectionary table.

Advent is the period of “waiting” and “expecting” in the Church’s calendar. For many, this is a puzzling season because Christians are neither expecting the coming of Christmas nor celebrating the mystery of the Incarnation, but they are expecting Jesus Christ’s glorious second coming to judge the living and the dead.

The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied that God would deliver his judgment on the world in “days [that] are surely coming” and that He would “cause a righteous branch” (Jeremiah 33:15) from the line of King David to carry out His will. But Jeremiah also told God’s people that they did not have to fear the days of judgment that would surely come, because the Lord said He would “fulfill his promise” (Jeremiah 33:14), and therefore would judge the world in righteousness.

Since God’s people are not without flaws, therefore if we are not punished on Judgment Day, it is not because we have any particular strength, or have made any particular contribution, but it is because the “branch”, that is Jesus Christ, is the source of our justice. Our responsibilities are to repent and to entrust ourselves to the “branch” of resurrection (Acts 17:30-31), because He “became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

St Paul wrote a beautiful prayer in his letters to the Thessalonians teaching Christians how to prepare themselves for Judgment Day. St Paul prayed that all followers of Christ could “strengthen their hearts in holiness that they may be blameless”, and to achieve this, they must “increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” (1 Thessalonian 3:12-13).

The gospel of Luke pointed out Jesus Christ Himself had helped us prepare our hearts and spirits for His glorious return. The Gospel describes the second coming of Christ as earth-shattering, “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth, distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.” (Luke 21:25). In his second coming, we will see Jesus Christ “coming in a cloud”, similar to the day he ascended. However, this time he will come with power and great glory. As the people of the Lord, we need not be afraid, because this signals the coming of our salvation. With a firm belief in His promise, we will be able to receive His blessing.

We do not know the time of His coming. In fact, we do not need to know because no matter when, we who are vigilant and prepared through reading the Bible, praying, worshipping, relying on the “branch”, and caring and serving those in need, will always be ready to account for ourselves.

Brothers and sisters, may the blessing of the Lord be with you, and may your spirit grow in each passing day.

+ Paul Kwong

 

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