Prepare your heart
“Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. (Isaiah 40:1)” – The time and place of this proclamation was near the end of the long captivity of the Judean exiles in Babylon. The exhortation to comfort the people was directed to the priests and prophets; they are to console the people with an assurance that better times were ahead. This proclamation of good news gave the exiles renewed hope to start over and rebuild their lives.
That proclamation also serves as the prologue of Isaiah chapters 40-55, also known as Deutero-Isaiah or Second Isaiah, which many scripture scholars believe was written by an anonymous prophet during the end of the Babylonian exile. Knowing this information lends to a deeper understanding and appreciation of what was said and written whenever we read the bible.
Why would a message that was given over 2,500 years ago have any relevance in this day and age? Isaiah chapter 40 not only foretells the coming of the Messiah, but it also gives us clues on who He is, and what kind of a Messiah He will be.
The message in Isaiah chapter 40 foretold of a voice in the wilderness proclaiming “Prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! (Isaiah 40:3)” These same words were used in Mark 1:13 to describe John the Baptist – he was the voice crying out in the desert, calling the people to repentance so that they can prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah.
The message in Isaiah chapter 40 also foretold that the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and He shall be like a shepherd (Isaiah 40:5): He will feed His flock, He will gather His people and carry them in His bosom, and He will lead them with care (Isaiah 40:11). That prophecy has been fulfilled in Jesus Christ; He is the Good Shepherd who gathers His people, He cares for them and He leads them.
In this Advent season, the Word of God exhorts us once again to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Plans and preparations for gift-giving, as well as family and social gatherings have already begun for many people. They have good intentions to celebrate the holidays with merriment and cheer, but will those activities take away the time and attention needed to prepare one’s heart for the coming of the Lord?
Let us make this Advent season a time to reflect and to meditate on God’s word; let us make it a time for spiritual renewal and inner conversion. Like the exiles in Babylon who heard the good news that their captivity would soon be over, may the Word of God give us renewed hope for a fresh start in our spiritual life. The message in Isaiah chapter 40 is still very relevant to us in this day and age. Let us make our holiday celebrations simple and holy.
December 8 (Tuesday) is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 12:00 pm Mass in Chinese. This is a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Christmas Midnight Mass will be on Thursday, December 24, 2020 at 11:30pm. The Mass on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020 (Friday) will be at 10:30am. Both Masses will be celebrated in Chinese. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not have a Christmas Party in our church this year.
For our parishioners who have health concerns regarding attending Mass inside the church, we will have an additional Mass in Chinese for the 3rd Sunday of Advent at our church parking lot. This is your chance to attend Mass in the safety of your own car. We now have audio equipment so that you can tune in your car radio to hear the Mass. If the weather permits, we will have our first Mass in the parking lot on Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 4:00pm. The altar will be set up outdoors. Don’t miss this special opportunity!