2015 Advent Season Half Day Recollection
Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 20, 2015
By Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.
The world in which we live seems to be filled with more negative things than with positive ones. Mass media are flooded with more bad news than with good ones. Science and technology do provide us comforts and assistance necessary for a better life but do not necessarily bring us a happier one.
First, one gets increasingly exhausted in the race between greater supply and greater demand. Work turns to be less human with countless life-threatening conditions and violations of human rights.
Harmful consequences could be seen in all around the world. More time for career than for family or more urgent need for survival than for human growth leads to unwilling separation of spouses; to younger generations without the love and care of either parent; and to broken relationship between individuals and communities.
Second, imbalance between insatiable exploitation of natural resources and sustainable development keeps worsening the living environment beyond repair.
Without a sense of common good, a high responsibility for future generations, a profound gratefulness to God the Creator for gift of life, people act as though there were no human beings and civilized society at all but only wild beasts and primitive jungle life where reason should give up to muscle.
Third, a feeling of physical, psychological and spiritual fatigue prevents even once committed people from effectively dealing with the problems.
This happens because of two reasons: one, the forces of evil seem to overwhelmingly dominate the world and perpetuate their reign in the minds and hearts of people; two, those who persistently fight against the evil painfully find themselves more and more lonely, if not isolated by the rest of their fellow men and women.
Pessimistic view of present time world, for the abovementioned evidences, is not baseless because of two reasons: one, the “mystery of evil” does exist and is now at work more infuriatingly than ever.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. 
Two, we as humans have to confront forces which are much stronger, smarter and deadlier than we could imagine.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
So we have to turn to Christ our Lord and Savior for the salvation of our life not only here on earth but also in heaven.
We need to see the world and people with the gaze of Christ Whom the Gospel according to Matthew describes:
A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory.
Christ’s gaze on the creation of God His Father is so pure and so innocent as that of a little child that He with eyes wide-open would always ask endless questions on the primitive beauty of creation and the greatness of the human person created in His Father’s image:
Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you the not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will He not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
Christ also teaches us not to fear anybody or anything but God:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both the soul and the body in Gehenna.
He strengthens our faith by confirming the truth that he has conquered the world:
In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.
Assignments for group discussion
1/ Group 1: Monitor: Ms. Thảo Linh; Miss Trâm Em: Reporter
2/ Group 2: Monitor: Miss Ánh Hồng; Reporter: Miss Mộng Huyền
3/ Group 3: Monitor: Mr. Bình: Reporter: Miss Ngọc Linh
7/ Group 4: Monitor: Mr. Lộc; Reporter: Miss Hạnh
- 11:30-12:00: Lunch
- 12:00-12:45: Homily
- 12:45-13:45: Group Discussion—Spiritual Counseling and Confessions
- 13:45-14:15: Open Forum
- 14:30: Closing