HAVING consulted the College of Consultors, His Grace Most Reverend…
KENINGAU(CS).- Advent time which begins on 1st December gives us another opportunity to remember two important comings of Jesus into the world. His first coming took place when He became flesh and blood upon the approval of Mother Mary (Luke1:38; John1:14). His second coming will take place at the end of time where He will come in glory, to judge the living and the dead.
The first coming of Jesus brings us hope “in which the Rising Sun gives light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death” (Luke 1:78-79). “The Word made flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). But how would his followers be at his second coming? “But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). This is a challenge and reminder for us as followers of Jesus.
I believe the Year of Faith which we have reflected together for one year (2012 – 2013) have helped us to realize how much we should give thanks for our Christian faith, a gift from God himself and assured by the person of Jesus who is the “Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). The Year of Faith has also become an occasion for us to give thanks and to remember the Bishops, Priests, Catechists and Lay Leaders who have helped us in knowing the Good News and prepared us in the foundations of Faith needed so as to live in communion with Jesus as members of His Church.
But we also realize in today’s world our Christian Faith faces a multitude of challenges from the influence of materialism, pluralism, extremism and others that lead people to ignore God and the rights of the human person. The many conflicts happening in the world today such as political crises, persecution of religion, erosion of moral values and others are very worrying and could weaken one’s Faith.
Advent season this year is an occasion of grace for us to work towards focusing back to the foundation of faith that is in the person of Jesus for he is the assurance of love and company with God that will last (Matt.28:20). As followers of Jesus facing the realities of life today, we must always remember his words, “Whoever wants to follow me must renounce himself, take up his cross every day and follow me” (Luke 23). We will always encounter various challenges in our life and faith journey. Jesus himself reminded us, “You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13).
Let us reflect more deeply in this season of Advent that we will be firm and proud of our Faith in the person of Jesus. He comes into the world as Light, so that all who believe in him will not live in darkness (John 12:46). However, we must also realize and be on our guard throughout this season of Advent not to be swayed by the way the world prepares for Christmas which is very consumeristic in nature.
May this Advent time help us to recognize Jesus and to receive him who is Light that will shine in our life’s journey (John 1:9-11).
Blessed ADVENT journey!
Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong