Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the desire of the Lord our God, our loving Father and Creator, who sent forth His disciples, messengers, Apostles, prophets and even His angels to go to the nations and the many peoples all over the earth to call them to Him, and to reunite all of His scattered loved ones back into His loving embrace.
In the Gospel we heard how Jesus sent His disciples two by two to the many towns and villages, to preach the Good News of His salvation to the people, to heal the sick and to cast out demons from them, and to proclaim the time of repentance, for them to change their ways, the ways of sin, so that they may walk on the path towards grace and salvation in God.
In the second reading from the Epistle or letter of St. Paul to the faithful in Ephesus, he mentioned how God has destined all of us to be in perfect love and unity to Himself, as the very purpose of why He created us in the first place. He created all of us mankind and all the creatures so that He may love us all, and give us the fullness of the love of His heart, and yet, we have rejected Him many, many times.
We who have disobeyed Him have been sundered from that love which should have been part of us. And our portion should therefore have been hell, destruction and eternal damnation, and yet, we are truly fortunate, for just as our Lord despises sin and all forms of our wickedness, He still loves us even more than all that. He is loving, merciful, slow to anger and rich in kindness, and He generously offers to us His mercy which He made completely evident through the sending of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, into this world, that we all may be saved through Him.
But sadly, our attitudes are often like that shown by the king Amaziah of Israel whom we heard in our first reading, rejecting the prophet Amos and telling him to go back to his own country of Judah, and to come no more to disturb his land of the northern kingdom of Israel. He refused to listen to the reminders which the Lord sent to His people to remind them of the bad and wicked deeds that they have committed in His sight.
We mankind are by our nature, we are always prideful and filled with self-serving attitudes. We like to think that we are always in the right and that the others are wrong or mistaken in their ways, because we often fail to look deep into ourselves and discover what actually went wrong with us. Our pride and arrogance, our attitudes and stubbornness are all that actually keep us separated from the love and grace of our Lord.
It was just like the king of Israel, Amaziah, who refused to listen to the truth as preached by the prophet Amos, even though it was the fact, no matter how terrible they might have sounded, but that is exactly because what he and the people of the northern kingdom had done were indeed wicked in the sight of God. And we know that what Amos and the other prophets prophesied about would come true in all their fullness, and the wicked were cast out in the utter darkness and suffering.
And yet God gave them chance after chance, opportunity after opportunity, just as He gave His people chance after they disobeyed Him and rebelled against Him during the Exodus from Egypt, when they abandoned Him for the pagan gods and a god made of gold. He forgave them and continued to love them even though He did punish them, but to those who adamantly refused to change their ways and continued to sin, there was no forgiveness.
In the Gospel, Jesus told His disciples to minister to those who are sick, both physically and spiritually, that is by delivering the truth of God as espoused in the Scriptures and in the testimony of the prophets, and opening the eyes of the people and their senses to the truth, so that they may repent and turn from their sinful ways. Yet, there are always those who would refuse to listen and continue to dwell in their sins.
To this people, the Lord rejected them and would hold their disobedience and stubbornness as testimony against them on the day of judgment. Do we want to share in their fate, brethren? We surely will if we continue to walk in the path of worldliness and sin. There is no future in following that path, for indeed the temporary goodness and pleasure we gain by that path is not worth the eternal suffering due to us.
Shall we therefore on this day, realise and understand how much God has loved us and how great is His everlasting love for us, that His mercy He richly provides for us all, so that all of us who repent our sinful ways may be saved? All of us have a choice, and the opportunity has been given to us to reflect on our own actions and consider it carefully, before what we do in this life bring great repercussions for us in what is to come.
And we also ought to realise that all of us who have been saved, and we who have committed ourselves to the way of the Lord, who believe in the fullness of His truth, also have a mission to carry on. Today happens to be the commemoration of Bible or Scripture Sunday, which should have brought us all to the greater realisation of what we ought to do from now on, if we have not done so.
Let me ask all of us these simple questions, how many of us actually regularly open up the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, and read it? How many of us are actually familiar with what the prophets and messengers of God had said? How many of us know what Jesus taught to His disciples, and what His servants like His Apostles wrote in the many letters preserved in the Holy Scriptures?
If our answers to these are no, that is because we have not understood or read the Holy Scriptures, if at all. We have a mission, brethren, to evangelise and to spread the Good News of our Lord, so that we may extend the mercy and love of God we have just discussed about, to the nations and to the peoples who have yet to hear them and witness them.
But how are they going to believe in us if we ourselves do not have what we ought to know within each one of us? It is important for us to read the Holy Scriptures regularly so that we may have ever growing and greater understanding of what our faith is truly about. And then, it is important that we also have to make it complete by knowing, understanding and obeying the ancient traditions of the Church, the teachings as preserved by the Church from the time of our Lord and His Apostles.
Let us all therefore, from today onwards, renew our commitment to our Lord and God, so that through all the things we do which we commit in faith and hope for our salvation, and the salvation of many around us, we may bring ourselves together as one people closer to salvation and eternal life promised by our Lord to all who has been faithful to Him, and let us all deepen our understanding of the faith, by reading and studying more of the Holy Scriptures, so that our hearts may be opened to the word of God contained in the Bible. God bless us all. Amen.