Happy New Year! As we had just celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King in the very last week of the liturgical year; this week, we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, which is also the beginning of the new liturgical year. Have you ever thought of the reason why our Mother Church has put the Solemnity of Christ the King as the last Sunday of the liturgical year? Since the readings of these two Sundays are focusing on the second coming of Christ and how we should prepare ourselves for His coming, I will use “today”, “now” and “this moment” as the theme of reflection.

Every good company, university or organization do at least one appraisal every year to evaluate the work performance of the previous year, for the sake of improving the future work quality and the well-being of the employees. To be a better Christian, shouldn't we also reflect on our daily life more regularly like those organizations? The Solemnity of Christ the King is a good time for us to check on our spiritual progress, as if an appraisal or annual evaluation for our spiritual life. Have we improved ourselves on faith, hope and love? Are we better Catholics who can resemble Jesus more?

As members of the Kingdom of Christ, shouldn't we ask about ourselves: "How can we make the Kingdom of Christ more peaceful, just, joyful, harmonious and united"? Is our community becoming more like the Trinitarian God, Who is so loving that the three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one?

Christ the king has already done everything that He could: He was incarnated and became man; He lived and died for our salvation; He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and continued to intercede for us; and He has also sent the Holy Spirit to lead the Church. Christ has brought the Kingdom of God to earth but we are still waiting for the complete fulfillment of it. As baptized Catholics, we share the kingship, the priesthood and the prophetic mission of Christ. What can we do for building the Kingdom of God in order to fulfill what is still lacking in the body of Christ? How can we, by God’s grace, help to bring the Kingdom of God to its fulfillment and completion?

In the gospel of Luke, there are many incidences that indicate the significance of “today”, or "the moment".

In the Gospel reading of the Solemnity of Christ the King, Year C, the main focus of the narration is what Jesus said to the repentant thief, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) By the grace and mercy of God, this good thief had well-used the "now moment" to reflect upon his life on the cross, confessed his sins to Christ and asked for forgiveness. He had certainly made the good use of "now" or "today".

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house. ” (Luke 19:5) What if Zacchaeus did not climb up the sycamore tree at that moment? Nothing would happen and Luke would not include this testimony of mercy in the gospel. If Zacchaeus did not say, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over. ” (Luke 19:8) Then, Jesus would not say to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.” (Luke 19:9)

We often pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Hail Mary without much thoughts because we can recite them so well. Have we realized that, every time when we say the prayer to the blessed Mother of Christ, we are inviting her to keep us company at the hour of our death, as well as accompanying us “now” and “today”? When we say the Lord’s Prayer and ask God to “give us this day our daily bread”, will it move you to consider going to Mass and receive this bread of life, the body and blood of Christ, so that your “today” would become a great, blessed day? Once you have received the Eucharist, you are in Christ's hand and become the Body of Christ. He will bless you, “break” you and send you out to serve the poor needy ones. We must understand that “tomorrow” does not really exist because when tomorrow comes, it is already “today”.

Years ago, a priest whom I know well used to go to the street every night and bring the drunkards back home and take care of them. He had definitely offered his help to those who were in immediate need because they might have been dead the day after in the severe cold winter. Like him, we can offer our help when we see people in need. Shall we be more responsive to them so that we would not miss the opportunity to meet Jesus and serve Him through them? How should we spend our “todays”?

May today be the first day of our new life through Christ, with Christ and in Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we also make every day in the rest of our lives, perfect in the eyes of God our Father.