"Our salvation is nearer than it was when we first came to believe."
The Church invites us to spend four short weeks preparing for the coming of Christ, remembering that in the lives of each one of us he will come as our judge most certainly on a day and at a time we do not expect. We have to be vigilant in looking for Christ, in following holiness, and courageous in launching out into the deep.
Joseph Tran Thanh Giang comes forward in our presence tonight to receive the Order of Deacon. On this First Sunday of Advent the Gospel, which is the Deacon's special prerogative, emphasises that one who is chosen to be a Deacon and a Priest has to be alert to the call of God and through his Holy Word points out that message of life to God's people.
I am delighted to be with Father Joe Tien and all of you in the community for the consecration of this altar and sanctuary in St John's Church. It is highly significant because the ancient Fathers of the Church said as they meditated on the word of God, "Christ is the victim, priest and altar of his own sacrifice."
It is by people that God is worshipped. This holy place and the work given to the preparation and consecration of this altar is a reminder that we are a holy people set apart for God.
Today we celebrate the feast of Christ the King. With a cross for a throne and thorns for a crown Jesus redeems us and invites us to set our feet within the kingdom of heaven, which begins from our baptism, continuing with our life of striving and merit, to the moment when we will hear his call.