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Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

“Spiritual Talk” – The Fourth Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading comes from Luke 1:26-38. Before the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel appeared to announce the birth of John the Baptist to Zechariah while he was conducting his priestly duties at the Temple. Meanwhile, Mary--humble and unknown--received the angel at the small village of Nazareth. Mary's circumstances may have been humbler but the foretold reality was far greater. God often chooses the humble to carry out His will in order to show that truly great deeds are only done through His grace. By responding to God's will with obedience, Mary saved us from the disobedience of Eve. A Church Father once taught that while death came through Eve, life came through Mary. God entered humanity through the free choice of Mary, showing how much He values our free choice. Meanwhile, Mary freely accepted the consequences of being the Mother of God, including suffering at the foot of the Cross with her Son. Mary's humility is the good foundation of the spiritual life and we can pray the Angelus and the Hail Mary to imitate her in listening to God's will.
Publish date: 2020 - 12 - 19

A Shelter Fit for a King

In truth, our loving God does not need a “cedar house”; rather, we need to dwell in God and at the same time, humbly allowing God to dwell in us.
Publish date: 2020 - 12 - 20

“Spiritual Talk” – The Third Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Third Sunday of Advent and some churches are using rose-coloured vestments to represent the joy of Christmas, since the first half of Advent is already over. Today's Gospel reading comes from John 1 and although John the Baptist was suspected by many to be the Messiah, he did not claim to be so in order to increase his followers. Instead, he openly told people to follow Jesus. Oftentimes, we are tempted to seek the praise of others, perhaps through wealth, appearance, or position in order to affirm ourselves. And people often misunderstand their relationship with Jesus as only with a friend, teacher, or worker of miracles. But John the Baptist proclaimed Him as Lord and did not seek to control Him. If we are to establish an authentic relationship with Christ, every corner of our lives will be transformed, especially our interactions with our coworkers, our friends, family, and even strangers. If we use our possessions, work, position, and friends to measure our self-worth, we are worshipping idols. We can only use our relationship with God to measure our self-worth. Only in understanding our own frailty can we cultivate the humble heart of St. John the Baptist.
Publish date: 2020 - 12 - 12

Begin Again: Go Out of Yourself

In 1965 Archbishop Sheen quoted Carl Jung, the famous psychiatrist, that about a third of people who saw him didn’t have a “clinically definable neurosis,” but were suffering from “senselessness and aimlessness” in their lives ! It’s an existential crisis, a lack of meaning and purpose, an anxiety, and a problem of living. This reminds me of our culture, which is spiritually empty: We don’t seriously reflect on why we exist, the meaning of life, and what comes after death. Our emptiness has deepened now that we’re more anxious about our physical health and are more isolated.
Publish date: 2020 - 12 - 13

“Spiritual Talk” – The Second Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the Second Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading comes from Mark 1:1-8. Mark's Gospel begins with the words "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ". In those days, a "Gospel" typically referred to celebrating the victory or birth of an emperor, who claimed to be a son of god. In saying this, Mark pointed out that true peace and victory come not from worldly princes, but from the true Son of God. In today's Gospel, John the Baptist prepares the way for Jesus by teaching through words and actions. He was so humble that he said he was not worthy to untie the sandals of the Messiah, a job deemed too demeaning for even a Jewish slave to perform. When we are baptized, our original sin, personal sin, and the temporal punishment of sin are all erased; we also receive an indelible mark which allows us to receive the other Sacraments. Although John's baptism had no actual authority to forgive sins, he used a liturgy to prepare people's hearts to receive Jesus. The Sacrament of Reconciliation has much greater spiritual graces than John's confessions, and form the pillars of salvation with Baptism. We ought to sincerely repent this Advent, in order to welcome Jesus' coming.
Publish date: 2020 - 12 - 5

「Spiritual Talk」The First Sunday of Advent – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the First Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading comes from Mark 13:33-37. Advent is the season to anticipate the coming of Christ and commemorates both His first coming on Christmas Day and His second coming at the Final Judgment. Jesus tells us today to be vigilant and awake because no one knows when He will return nor when they will die. Hence, God does not want us to calculate the time but for us to be constantly vigilant. A saint once said that those who constantly meditate on death find it easy to overcome disorderly thoughts, but those who think they will live long lives will be enslaved by worldly pleasures. For us who await Christ's coming, we ought to fulfill our responsibilities, respond to God's will, and dutifully keep the faith.
Publish date: 2020 - 11 - 28

【Spiritual Talk】Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year A)

This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading is from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25, which talks about Mary's betrothal to Joseph. To the Jews, betrothal was different from our modern-day engagement: the betrothed were already considered husband and wife, but the wife would continue living with her parents for another year before fulfilling the marital oath and moving in with her husband. When Mary was found to be pregnant, she had not yet lived with Joseph. Under the Mosaic law, married persons discovered to have committed adultery were to be stoned to death but the Jews were under Roman rule, so they were unable to execute death sentences and oftentimes just enacted divorces instead. There are two ways to explain Joseph's motivations for wanting to divorce Mary: (1) he knew that he was not the child's father and suspected that Mary was unfaithful yet he did not want to expose Mary to shame, so he decided to divorce her quietly; (2) he had always known that the Messiah would be born of a virgin and never suspected Mary of infidelity but felt himself unworthy to be adoptive father of the Messiah and hence wanted to divorce her. Regardless, an angel appeared to Joseph and told him that he was a descendant of David and that the child came from God, so he ought not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. The angel also told Joseph to name the child Jesus, indicating that the child would inherit the line of David. Since the name Jesus means "God saves" and Jesus would save men from sin, it also indicated that Jesus was God. At the time, many Jews expected a political Messiah to free them from Roman rule, unlike Jesus, who came to free people from sin.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 21

Food for Thought Christmas Special: Burgundy Beef Aspic

The Third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday”. On this day churches will light a pink candle on the Advent Wreath, and priests will wear pink vestments when celebrating Mass. We add to the joy of this day with a French dish “Burgundy Beef Aspic.”
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 14

【Spiritual Talk】Third Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

This weekend, the Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent; the liturgical colour is the colour of joy, rose pink, unlike the colour of penance, purple. Advent has already passed the midway point and Christmas is fast approaching. Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 11:2-11; St. John the Baptist needs more evidence to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, so he asks Him directly and Jesus responds that the blind can see, the crippled can walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf can hear, the dead are risen, and men have received the good news. He also says blessed is the one who does not stumble because of me. St. John was familiar with Scripture, so he understood that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Jesus then illustrated the Baptist's role and asked the crowds why they had come: was it to see a prophet? Jesus explained that John was the greatest of all men born to women, but even the smallest in the Kingdom of Heaven was greater than him. Through baptism, we become children of God and temples of the Holy Spirit.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 14

“Rejoice in the Lord always; … the Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5)

Let us take a moment from our busy Christmas preparations to contemplate on what “the Lord is near” means for us (Philippians 4:5)
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 15

Food for Thought Christmas Special: Fabulous Four from Sabah

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, preached repentance in the wilderness. He ate locusts and wild honey. Some Bible scholars think that “locusts” could also refer to some kind of bean. Adapting from a famous Malaysian dish, our version of the “Fabulous Four from Sabah” includes sweet peas as well as fried dried fish mixed with honey to imitate the feel of eating locusts.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 7

【Spiritual Talk】Second Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

Apart from Jesus and Mary, Advent has a third important character: St. John the Baptist. In this Sunday's Gospel reading, the Gospel of Matthew 3:1-12, the Baptist proclaims the Kingdom of God is near and calls the people to repent. The term "Kingdom of God" is very important in Matthew's Gospel and appears 51 times. The Baptist wears a shirt of camel's hair and a leather belt, just like the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Apart from their similarity in clothing, the two men also opposed an evil king and were persecuted for it. They also prepared the way for another prophet: Elijah for Elisha, the Baptist for Jesus. And both Elisha and Jesus would heal lepers and raise the dead. Also, both men transmitted their missions at the Jordan River: Elijah was received into Heaven and passed his mission to Elisha; St. John baptized Jesus and made way for His greater mission. The baptism of John prepared the way for the baptism of Christ, which remits sins and makes people into temples of God and members of the Church.
Publish date: 2019 - 12 - 7

Food for Thought Christmas Special: Golden Spoon Stickers

Advent is the beginning of the Catholic Church's liturgical season. During Advent, not only do we prepare for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we should also be awake all the time, to wait for the second coming of Christ. Our "Food for Thought Christmas Special" starts with the delectable Golden Spoon Stickers.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 30

【Spiritual Talk】First Sunday of Advent (Year A) – Fr. Anthony Ho

The season of Advent is just before Christmas and reminds us of Jesus's Second Coming in glory. Today's Sunday reading is from Matthew 24:36-44. In the days of Noah, the people did not know God was about to punish them with a flood, so they continued conducting business, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. But when the rains came, all but Noah's family perished in the flood. Noah was not resigned to his fate, but was obedient to God and avoided the floods. The coming of the Son of God will also be sudden and many will be frightened, just as a thief comes in the night. And when the master of the house awakens the next morning to find his treasured possessions stolen, how pitiful will that scene be! So we must be vigilant and prepare instead of wasting our time trying to predict when Jesus will come.
Publish date: 2019 - 11 - 30


As a Christian, what symbolic meanings does Advent give them and how this season changes their lives.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 22

“The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:5)

Rejoice, be glad; be gentle and humble
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 16

The End or the Beginning

Advent is indeed, a time of remembering, reflection, and transformation.
Publish date: 2018 - 12 - 2

The Jitters of the Last Day

Fear Not! Wherever the Head goes, His Body follows.
Publish date: 2017 - 12 - 3

Pope Francis: The world desperately needs hope, and we are the messengers

(CNA/EWTN News) Pope Francis Wednesday spoke about the hope that Child Jesus brings at Christmas time, saying it is our duty to be the messengers who bring his message to the world – a world that is thirsting for goodness. “The message of the Good News entrusted to us is urgent,” he said December 14. […]
Publish date: 2016 - 12 - 15

Advent and Handel’s Messiah

The author relates the Mass readings of the 3rd Sunday of Advent to the powerful experience of attending a TSO concert on Handel's Messiah.
Publish date: 2016 - 12 - 11

The Flooding Image of Noah

Our Gospel reading for this first Sunday of Advent might strike us as a bit odd. It does not mention about the coming of Christmas, nor the arrival of the child Jesus. Rather, it appears the Gospel reading for the first week of the church year is about a somewhat dark picture of the coming of the Son of Man.
Publish date: 2016 - 11 - 27

Spiritual Talk – Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C)

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C), Fr. Anthony Ho explains for us the story of Mary's Visitation to Elizabeth. Mary is our mother, and devotion to her can help us to receive great graces from God and allow us to escape from the clutches of sin and evil. Fr. Ho describes several stories of Mary's protection of the faithful, as well as the benefits of praying the Rosary.
Publish date: 2015 - 12 - 19

Spiritual Talk – Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)

On the Third Sunday of Advent (Year C), also known as Gaudete Sunday, Fr. Anthony Ho reminds us to be joyful in anticipation of Jesus' coming and the origin of the Sacrament of Baptism, bringing us eternal salvation. However, this does not mean that suffering will end on Earth, as only the Kingdom of Heaven will have perfect joy and peace. Lastly, Fr. Ho also speaks about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the events surrounding her apparition, as well as the fruits of faith that appeared as a result.
Publish date: 2015 - 12 - 12

Spiritual Talk – Second Sunday of Advent(Year C)

On the Second Sunday of Advent(Year C), Fr. Anthony Ho explains for us the story of St. Jon the Baptist's prophecy of the saviour's coming. He reminds us to find time for silence, to pray and reflect, to create room as we receive God into our hearts. Fr. Ho also speaks on the life of St. Nicholas and the stories surrounding his aid of the poor.
Publish date: 2015 - 12 - 5