Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from our first reading, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, about the pleas and our begging for mercy from the Lord, that we hope that God would not hold our sins against us, and that He may be merciful to us and show us His mercy and forgive us our sins. By right, because of our sins, we have deserved death and to be destroyed and yet, by His infinite mercy He had opened for us the way to salvation.
But this does not mean that we should take God’s love for granted, for there is indeed a limit to God’s patience. Forgiveness will also come our way only if we have the commitment and dedication to changing our ways and abandoning all of our pride and ways of sin. God is merciful and kind, and He is willing to forgive our sins, but only if we are able to change and commit ourselves to His ways.
And God has given us so much help, so that we may be saved, firstly by sending reminders one after another, to keep us on His ways and not be lost, with prophets and messengers after another to preach to us the will of God and His message. And last of all, He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Saviour of us all, and by His suffering and death, by which He bore the combined weight and burden of our sins, He had brought us this hope of forgiveness and liberation from our fate that was death.
We have to always remember this fact, that the Lord died for us, so that we may live. In His death we have shared the death to our old selves, and we have abandoned our old ways of sin, and by His resurrection to life, we have also therefore shared in the new life, which is the path to our eternal joy and true happiness with Him in heaven forevermore.
But the path to a life faithful to God, and indeed the journey of our faith will not be easy. In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ had told this fact to His disciples, of the cup of suffering that He was to drink. This cup of suffering was the burden of sin, the whole weight of our disobedience and our punishment, which our Lord Jesus had taken up upon Himself. And we are also going to share in the same cup of suffering, which is the rejection of the world, and the persecution, which our Lord had also encountered, being rejected and cast out by His own people.
It will be difficult to face all the challenges that will come our way, but if we persevere on and never gave up, then we should be rewarded richly by our Lord. Remember that our Lord also said that those who are faithful to Him ought to take up their own crosses in life and follow Him? These crosses in life are part and parcel of our journey as the disciples and followers of our Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we can look up to the example of the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely St. Augustine of Canterbury. St. Augustine of Canterbury was the first to bring the Faith to England, and he was the first Archbishop of the See of Canterbury. Indeed, it is very unfortunate that because of the heresies committed a few hundred years ago, his successors have gone astray into the darkness, but indeed, in the first place, the works of St. Augustine of Canterbury remained evident even until this day, and it helps a lot in the reestablishment of the Faith in England until today.
St. Augustine was once a Roman priest and monk, who served the Pope in various capacities, and who was then summoned and tasked to spread the faith in the land of England beyond the sea. The Faith had once been established in that land by the Roman Empire, but after the fall of the Roman Empire in that region, the pagans have taken over the land, and the Church was in disarray. Therefore, the task and responsibility fell to the hands of St. Augustine, who then established the See of Canterbury, and became its first bishop.
Through his hard and tireless works, St. Augustine of Canterbury had managed to rebuild the Church and brought many people to conversion to the true Faith, and he never looked back on the past. He kept pushing forward and toiled hard to convert the masses of pagans and turn them from their faults and sins, and therefore to approach the throne of God’s mercy.
Therefore, let us all follow his examples and walk righteously in the path of the Lord. Let us no longer be distracted by the many distractions and temptations of this world, but let us all focus all of our attention to the Lord, devote ourselves to change our ways and do things righteously from now on. May Almighty God be with us all and protect us from the forces of evil, and bring us to the everlasting life He had promised to all of us who remain faithful to Him. Amen.