Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about first the Lord who sent His Saviour in the first reading, in a prophecy which the prophet Isaiah gave to the people as a sign of hope, at a time when the fortunes of Israel was really going down, where wickedness and sin were rampant, and where the society were no longer putting the Lord as the heart of their society.
The people of Israel were scattered and the northern kingdom, which had seceded since the days of the son of Solomon, had just been destroyed and conquered by the mighty Assyrians. They were carried off from their homes and ancestral lands, and they were brought to slavery in foreign and distant lands. They were separated and treated as nobody, and yet, the Lord promised His people that He never forget about them.
And that was where He sent His deliverer into the world, to be the One who would save all of His scattered people, not just because of the acts of the Assyrians, but also because of the consequences of sin, the disobedience which had separated us from our Lord’s love and care. The salvation which God had shown us through Jesus is the concrete example and clear manifestation of His mercy and love, which He showers upon all those who are devoted to Him.
Yet, as the Gospel today showed us, that we mankind are often filled with so much negativities and the temptations of the world so that we are unable to appreciate the love that the Lord had shown us, and just like Judas Iscariot, we often betray the Lord for other things we deem to be more important. And just like Peter, we often falter in our faith simply because of the fear that is within us, the fear of being rejected and refused by the world.
All of these stemmed from the fact that we value the things of this world very, very much, and we often cannot part ourselves from those things, and that is the reason why we did not do as what we are supposed to do, and why we disobeyed the Lord and His commandments. And in our disobedience we sinned before the Lord and was cast away from His presence, scattered in this darkened world.
Judas was always tempted by money, and that temptation further fueled his wickedness, which eventually led to his betrayal of his own Lord and Master. Only when it was already too late, after his betrayal of Jesus caused Him to be condemned to death, then Judas repented his mistakes, and to no avail. The Lord had given him many chances, but he refused to take them into account and change his ways.
How about Peter then? Peter was faithful to the Lord, but his faith was not solid, and he was sorely tempted when he was in the garden, sleeping because he was too tired to stand vigil with the Lord. Indeed, as Jesus said, that the flesh is weak even though the spirit is willing. Thus it is also the same with us, as we are often weak in the flesh and tempted by the many things in the world, affected by fear and uncertainty.
But God saw Peter’s faith in him, even as wavering as it was. Peter’s faith was true and sincere faith for the Lord. And ever since that moment of weakness and denial, Peter had been ever faithful, and God entrusted him with the care of all His flock on earth, and he became the first of the Popes, the Lord’s Vicar on this world. To those who are faithful, God will not be far from them, and He will show them His love and grace.
Thus today, all of us should be challenged to start anew and begin a new life, a life no longer bound by sins and evil, but instead challenge ourselves to walk in the path of the Lord. It will be difficult and opposition from the world will become part of our lives, but what are we going to lose? If we fear of losing world’s approval, fame and human praise, then I say that all these are not worth it, and indeed they are useless, if our souls are to be condemned to eternal damnation.
May Almighty God guide us and help us to walk on a righteous path, and may His blessings be with us always, that we may remain ever faithful and ever strong in our lives dedicated to Him. Amen.