Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Dear brothers and sisters, as we listened to the words of the Scriptures today, we are given several reminders on what we as Christians are supposed to do in our daily lives, so that we will truly live out our lives as faithful and living Christians, and not just as Christians on paper only or as nominal Christians. We are all called to be good and devoted servants of our God, and as we reflect on the word of God we have just heard, let us think about all these.
First of all, in the Book of the Revelations of St. John the Apostle, we heard the Lord calling His people to repentance and to change their ways. We are all sinners, brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of us have committed more sins than others and some have committed less, but regardless, we have made mistakes and imperfections on our paths towards God. But this is what the reality of our lives is. And we need to change this direction of our lives.
If we do not spend time to think about this, and reflect on what direction our lives are taking us, then just like a ship with a captain who does not carefully decide the navigation path beforehand, then the ship will end up having a high chance of hitting rocks and obstacles on its journey that will cause it to run aground, capsize and sink. And the same applies to our own lives.
In this journey of life, it is important for us to always spend time to think about our actions and deeds, words and all things we have committed in this life. Have we been faithful to the Lord? Have our actions represent us as those who are worthy of being the children and followers of the Lord? Or have our actions instead bring about contradiction and divisions, scandal for our Lord, for our faith, for our Church and for our fellow brethren? If our answer for these are the latter ones, then we really need to change.
And this then comes to the second point brought up in the Scriptures today. In the same passage from the Book of Revelations, God spoke to us about not being lukewarm in our faith, as if we are neither hot or cold, it is disgusting to Him and He will reject us. What this means is that we cannot be a Christian and profess to be one, and yet doing nothing in order to fulfil that life as a Christian.
A thorough conversion and change of our lives require us to also take an active role in living our lives with faith, through real and genuine actions based on our faith, on what we believe in God. This is real and living faith, the faith of those who are not lukewarm in our faith. We cannot and indeed must not think that faith in God alone can save us, for what is faith without true and genuine devotion? A lukewarm faith is no faith at all, as it is dead.
And in this, we should follow therefore the example of Zaccheus, the tax collector who in the Gospel today, which many of us should be familiar with, where he tried his best, climbing up a tree just so that he could see Jesus due to his short height. He made that conscious effort to seek the Lord, and he found Him. And God, recognising his faith, his genuine effort and devotion, called him, welcomed him, forgave him and made him to be one of His children.
Contrast this to the attitude of the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the chief priests, most of whom rejected Jesus and refused to believe in Him and His teachings. Instead, they even made life and work difficult for Jesus and His disciples, hounding and disrupting them in almost all known opportunities available to them.
All of us are sinners, but if we harden our hearts as the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and the chief priests had done, then there will be no way forward for us, as our stubbornness and our refusal to recognise our sins and our wickedness become our undoing. It was Zaccheus, whom in his sincere desire to be forgiven, in his effort to seek the Lord, was forgiven and reconciled with God.
Let us all take these into our minds and spend time to reflect on this, and let us also reflect on the examples of St. Albert the Great, the holy saint whose feast we celebrate today. St. Albert the Great was a renowned Dominican preacher and bishop, whose actions and works still inspire many people up to this day. He was a humble person, devoting his whole life to the Lord, and he often acted as mediator between conflicting parties, bringing peace and harmony where there were conflicts and divisions.
He always showed with good example, of how a Christian should live his or her faith life, carrying out his responsibilities dutifully as the bishop of his diocese, caring for his flock with gentle and tender love, and with the strong desire to seek their salvation through proper education and instruction in the faith, and by his examples, many followed in his footsteps and were set on the path towards God’s salvation.
Looking at the examples of this holy and devoted saint, we should also follow in his footsteps in living a genuine life filled with strong and living faith. We should spend time with one another, caring for those who have not been cared, forgiving one another our trespasses and faults to each other. We should be role models for one another, living to the best of our abilities to be faithful in all the things we say, do and act.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us renew our commitment to the Lord our God, and be true in our faith and be genuine in our actions. May the Lord help us and guide us on our way to Him, that we may be able to reach out to Him, and by the intercession of St. Albert the Great, may we follow in his footsteps and may God have mercy on us, as He had mercy on that blind man. Amen.