Liturgical Colour : Green
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s most important message and lesson from the Scriptures to us is the nature of our faith and how important it is to our salvation and to the salvation of our souls. Few would be saved indeed, just as Christ had mentioned it, but not because they are not faithful in the Lord. Many indeed among the people did not have faith in God and even despise His offer of salvation, however there are equally many of those who do have the faith in them, and yet this faith is dead or not living.
Why is this so? That is because faith cannot be just mere statement or creed. It cannot be limited to just reciting the Creed as we always do during the Sunday or major celebrations of the Holy Mass, as mere recitation and saying of the words that we believe in God and in His laws and commandments without being accompanied by true and complete devotion to that faith through our concrete action in life, is meaningless and empty. And an empty faith does not lead to salvation, but instead to condemnation.
That is because the faith that is empty, is no better and in fact is the same as the faith of hypocrites, namely like the faith of the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the teachers and scribes of the Law, who promoted external and superficial devotions to the Law and the ways of the Lord, but without fully understanding the purpose and meaning, as well as the potential use for the Law, and therefore their faith remained just as that, empty and superficial.
This is the same as what Jesus said to the people, in His parable of the master of the house and the guests, when He said that the door is narrow and that it will be difficult for many if not most people to pass through it to enter into the promised kingdom of heaven and everlasting life. That is because we are unable to enter the door because of the desire and the pride that made us all bloated, filled with self-righteousness and self-praise, our desire and greed, our jealousy and all the negativities that prevent us from truly reaching out to the Lord our God.
This is also similar to the story and parable which Jesus had told the people as well, on how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God compared to that of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Somewhere in Jerusalem there was actually this gate where the gate is so low that whoever pass through it, humans and camels alike have to lower their heads or else they would knock their heads over the gate and would not be able to enter the gate.
The rich and proud man was unable to enter because for him it was humiliating and demeaning that he should lower and bow his head while he enter through the low gate, and meanwhile, the camel had no problem passing through it, because what it did is simply that it lowered its head and body, so that it was able to pass through the gate readily, even though it was larger in size than the rich and proud man.
The same therefore applies to the case of why it was so difficult for many people to pass through the narrow gate into the house. That is because the narrow gate represents the challenges that we need to face in life in order for us to follow the Lord and to obtain salvation in Him. We do not like it difficult or when challenges come our way, and we prefer to have the path to be smoothened for us, and yet there is no such thing when we decide to follow the Lord.
Many people professed to have the faith, just like the people who professed that they have seen the works of the Lord and even ate and drank with Him, but when we asked again, on whether they truly have faith in the Lord, can we say with confidence that they have such love for God? Most of us stay on with something or someone only when things are favourable for us, but when things start to go downhill, it is our human nature to abandon the things and go to seek greener pastures.
Thus, it is the same with most of the people, who cared only to be satisfied in body and to have it easy, and to avoid all sorts of difficulties and problems. Once difficulty and challenges come their way, they would evacuate and go to pick other things. Thus their faith in God is likely to be superficial and not real. Their faith and devotion will quickly evaporate once they are faced with challenges in life, the temptations of the flesh and the world, and the opposition of Satan. Thus it is imperative that we reject Satan and have control over our own desires.
So what should we do brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we then pass through that narrow door and into salvation in God? It is by being vigilant at all times against the temptations and the works of Satan, and then in addition by following what St. Paul had suggested in the letter he wrote to the Church and to the faithful in Ephesus.
St. Paul suggested obedience and sincere love for God through the good understanding and observation of the Law, as the way for us to seek God and His salvation. Obeying God as His servant, we cannot be divided in our hearts. We cannot be half-hearted, or even worse if our faith is superficial only. We have to be committed to the Lord and remain true to His path to the end of days.
If we do all these, the Master of the House of God, that is Jesus, will welcome us with His great love, forgiving us from our sins and iniquities and replacing from within us the selfishness and reluctance and doubt that prevented us from truly seeking and reaching out to the Lord. The Lord who sees all these will know that we truly understand His laws and commandments, and thus will justify us in faith.
May the Almighty God bring us into new life and salvation in Him, and give us strength and understanding so that we may always walk in His path, not tempted and not to fall from the path which leads us directly to God. Let us cast away all forms of wickedness and evil, as well as all all doubt from our hearts. This is so that we may believe and love the Lord with all of our strength, with all of our soul and with all of our beings.
May more and more souls come to the Lord to seek His forgiveness and mercy, and to attain salvation and eternal life in God. Let us not end up like those who refused to listen to the Lord and follow His ways, gaining temporary satisfaction at the price of the corruption and sin of their souls, hearts and body. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.