Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard in the first reading, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, how they were divided against each other there, with factions arising among the members of the Church, some professing to believe in what St. Paul taught them, and some others professing to believe in what another famous preacher, St. Apollos, preached to them.
These factionalism hurt the Church and the faithful as a whole, because the bitterness and ill-feeling that arose between them caused difficulties not just in the works of evangelisation, but also in the efforts to keep the faithful united against matters which they should be standing up against instead of falling against each other’s throats just because they disagreed on certain matters.
That was likely because they were really not feuding about the Lord, but instead, they feud because of their own human needs, of their own human rivalries and emotions, desires and greed. Ultimately, as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle, all of them were serving the same Lord their God, and regardless of the methods each of them employed, each and every one of them were serving the greater glory of God.
In the Gospel today, Jesus worked hard among the people, healing them from sickness and casting out demons from them, and even the evil spirits themselves recognised Jesus as Who He is, that is the Messiah and the Son of God. They feared Him for rightly, even though they have rebelled against Him together with Satan, their master, but they, together with Satan, are still bound to Him nonetheless.
Yet, it was often that the people themselves, even those among whom Jesus had performed His miracles, that refused to believe in Jesus, in His teachings and His words. They rejected Him, cast Him aside and even handed Him to His tortures and enemies, calling for Him to be crucified. And all these, which we have also heard in yesterday’s Scripture passages, reflect the nature of mankind.
Yes, we are often too busy with ourselves, settling our businesses and activities that we tend to forget entirely about God, about our faith and about why we live this life in this world. And that is where we begin to lose our focus and our way, and we end up like those who bicker among themselves even for simple matters, rather than serving the Lord and His Church.
Let us all ask ourselves, and let us all reflect on ourselves, our actions, as well as look through the Church and all of its long history. Then we should realise how often indeed it was that many bitterness and divisions were caused by similar selfish desires of men, which contradicted what the Lord had commanded them to do. They were unable to hold their ego and desire in check, and as a result, division that harm the Church and the salvation of souls were created.
Shall we then prevent the same thing from happening again? Let us not be so taken in by our differences and by our worldly concerns and desires so as to divide us and the Church into many factions that hamper and hinder the works of God among His people. Rather, let us all help one another, working together as one people, realising that the mission which He had granted us is greater than each and every one of us, as we are all called together as His Church that through us the grace and work of salvation may be made a reality.
May God help us in our works and endeavours. May He bless us and our efforts to guide lost souls to Him, that all may find their way to the eternal life and salvation God has promised to all those who keep their faith in Him. May God be with us all and be with His Church, now and forevermore. Amen.