Sunday, 7 August 2016 : 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Sixtus II, Pope and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Cajetan, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the message of the Holy Scriptures is very clear and vivid, telling us all about faith, the true faith which all of us ought to have for the Lord our God, just as our father in faith, Abraham, had that great faith and commitment for the Lord. Faith is not just about saying that we believe in the Lord or making empty promises and dedications, but instead, is a living and active commitment.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of Wisdom, the Lord made it clear to His people that He has established that covenant with their ancestors, and He will stand by it, so long as they themselves also show the same faith and commitment to the same covenant. Otherwise, if they are unfaithful, then they shall have no part in the inheritance and in the greatness that God had promised those who keep their part of the covenant.

In the Gospel today, Jesus our Lord spoke to His disciples about the parable of the five wise women and five unwise women, as well as the parable of the faithful steward and the unfaithful and wicked steward. In both these occasions, we clearly see that there is a choice for us to pick from, either for us to be faithful to the Lord in His ways, and be ever prepared and be ready to welcome the Lord when He comes and prove our faith to Him, or for us to ignore Him and not doing what He has asked us all to do.

Indeed, it is much easier for us to follow the second path, that is not to do what the Lord had asked us to do, ignore His missions and ways, and continue on with what we and the world think is right. But such a path may lead us into the wilderness of the darkness of the world, and thus we may be lost, and forever lost indeed from the guidance and the light of God.

The devil and all of his allies are not willing to see us prosper and be happy in our saved state in the Lord. They would not stay silent and do nothing while we go on towards our salvation and eternal life in God. Instead, they will do all that they can in order to disrupt us, distract us and pull us away from the way to God, and bringing upon us many temptations and lies, they hope to lure us into our downfall, that we may fall together into oblivion with them.

But we are far better than that, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we look at the examples of Abraham, our father in faith as told by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, whose life was wholly and completely dedicated to the Lord our God. He was a rich and influential man who lived in the region far away from the land now known as Israel, but God called him one day and he heeded the call, leaving behind everything he knew of and abandoned his past life, and with all of his belongings, travelled to where God had led him to.

And in times of difficulty and uncertainty, God stayed with him, and he also stayed faithful to God. When it was asked by God that he should sacrifice to Him his own beloved son, Isaac, who was none other the son whom God had promised him, Abraham did not hesitate, and he went up the mountain to sacrifice his own son, only to be stopped by God, Who had seen his great and undying faith, and thus blessed him all the more.

The example of Abraham, our father in faith served us in the sense that through him we see and we have a witness of how God rewarded His faithful servants. God blessed His servants, from Abraham to Isaac, from Isaac to Jacob, and then to Moses and the judges, and king David and Solomon the faithful ones, and many other good servants, prophets and all those who kept their faith in the Lord.

But those who had rejected Him or ignored His warnings, had nothing other than contempt and condemnation. Those wicked ones refused to obey the Lord and they had had their fill. They will face the final judgment and receive eternal damnation as their share, since while God had given them many opportunities and even blessed them profusely, they still refused to acknowledge His love and instead betrayed Him for the pagan idols and their sinful ways.

Then how is this relevant to us? Let us ask ourselves then, are we following the examples of Abraham, our father in faith, or do we follow instead the examples of the wickedness of the people of Israel over the ages? Do we follow their rebelliousness and refusal to obey the Law of the Lord instead of the faithfulness of the prophets and the servants of our Lord?

All of us have a choice, and this choice is a very important one indeed, for what is at stake is none other than the fate of our very own souls. Do we choose to be like the wise women and the faithful steward who did all they can in order to prepare themselves to welcome the Lord and His coming? Or do we rather choose to be like the unwise women and the wicked and lazy steward who were lazy and were rather distracted with merrymaking rather than obeying their Master?

Let us all understand the importance of this matter, especially with regards to the time and opportunities that we have in this life. If we think that we can delay and wait for the time when we will finally change our ways, then know that God is our Master and He is the Master over all of our lives. He alone knows when our earthly life will come to an end, not us.

There are many things that we can control in our life, however we have no control over our life. We cannot extend our lives longer than it has been decreed by the Lord. If we wait until this time is up, then we have no more chance for ourselves. Let us ask ourselves, would we rather live in the eternal glory of God while at the moment suffering temporarily the persecution and the challenges by the world? Or would we rather live for the moment, but then forsaking the chance at eternal glory?

May God help us to discern our path well, that we may eventually be able to find our way to Him, and not to be distracted and be lost in the darkness. May the Lord help us to find our way to Him, and may He bless us in this forevermore. Amen.

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