Tuesday, 26 July 2016 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Joachim and St. Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard about the lamentation about the kingdom of Judah, how that kingdom has been overrun and has been abandoned by the favour of God, awaiting its final days and downfall. It was far from what it was like during the glorious days of kings David and Solomon.

And all of that was caused by the disobedience of the people of God, who have grown to trust their wealth and power more than they trust in God. And as a result, they have also wandered off away from the path that God had set for them. They have disobeyed His precepts, tortured and rejected His prophets and messengers, and they have lived in debauchery and wicked life, led by many of their kings who were unfaithful.

And thus God has abandoned His people to their enemies, allowing them to tear at them and made them suffer, as the just punishment and consequences for their lack of faith in Him. But it does not mean that He entirely despised them or did not care for them, as we have to understand that what God despises is the sins that we have committed, the wicked things that tainted us all in the body, heart and soul.

God loves all of us His children. We are the most beloved and precious of His creations. Yet, it pained Him to see that His beloved children abandoned Him and chose rather to be with the false gods and idols which they deemed to be their gods instead of their only one and only true God. He loves us all in person, and He cares for each and every one of us, but it is the sins that we have committed which separated us from Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, that is why in the Gospel passage today, we heard about the Lord Jesus Who spoke to His disciples about the parable of the wheat and the weed. The Lord is the sower, Who sowed good seeds in our hearts, as we are all the fertile lands and grounds upon which God had given His grace and blessings. But the devil sowed the seeds of division and confusion, hoping that these would strangle the faith inside of us and trap us with the snares of sin.

If we allow these seeds to grow and develop, then I am afraid that over time it will grow to ensnare us and make it difficult for us to be faithful and loyal disciple of our Lord and God. Temptations and falsehoods of the devil are plentiful, and these are the things that will help those wicked seeds to grow, while preventing the growth or suffocating the growth of the seeds of faith inside each and every one of us.

And thus, perhaps it is good for us to take note of the examples of the two great and venerable saints whose feast we are celebrating today. They are none other than the parents of the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, making them to be the grandparents of our Lord and Saviour. St. Joachim and St. Anne were the parents of Mary, the Mother of our Lord, and through their devout and good life as well as their good care of Mary, they have played a great part in the Lord’s plan of salvation.

Indeed, Mary had been conceived without sin, as the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, a centre tenet of our faith has told us, but it is equally important that she was brought up in a good family with a devout and faithful upbringing, which certainly St. Joachim and St. Anne had done for their daughter. This then highlights to us the importance of our own Christian families in the strengthening of the faith in each and every one of us.

Many of us do not realise it, but the family is a very important part of the Church, one of the strong pillars that helped to hold it all together. Without a stable and good family structure, and without a family that devote itself to the Lord and actively promote devotions and commitment towards God, then I am afraid that was the very reason why so many Christians had erred and been led into the falsehoods and the temptations of the devil.

Instead, as Christians, especially those of us in the families of Christ, each and every one of us, be it as a father, or as a mother, as a brother or a sister, as sons and daughters, all of us have a role to play in our Christian families. We are the foundations of the Church, as the saying goes that a family who prays together, stays together. If our families are run and kept as how Mary’s family was, and later on, as how the Holy Family was like, then surely there will be no problem.

The confusion and the wickedness spread by the devil can only grow when the situation and condition is ripe for such a growth, namely in situations where parental care is lacking, and where the Christian values that are supposed to be inculcated since young through the family are absent. Certainly, we do not want this to happen.

Therefore, let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord by strengthening our families, filled with faith, and devote ourselves anew. May God bless us all and keep us all in His grace, and may His blessings and graces be upon us always, now and forever. Amen.

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