Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this holy day of the Lord, all of us are gathered together to hear about the Lord our God, His love for us, and His resolve to gather us all who have been estranged from Him and from His love, that all of us may find salvation in Him and through Him. For it is the love of God which had been made manifest through Jesus Christ, His Son, which had become the source of our salvation and grace.
Since the days of the prophet Isaiah, in our first reading today, God had promised His people His upcoming salvation, when He would gather them back into His embrace, and reunite them with Himself, after they had been scattered among the nations because of their sins. This has to be understood in the context of the era, as during the time of the prophet Isaiah, the long sundered northern kingdom of Israel had finally been destroyed by the Assyrians, and many of the northern ten tribes of the Israelites were forced to go into exile in the foreign lands.
It was the rebellion and disobedience of the people of God that led to such a fate, as they worshipped the pagan gods and idols, turning away from the Lord their God. They committed all forms of wicked acts and sins, fornicating themselves in adultery and in acts unworthy of those whom God had chosen to be His own people, to be His own children. They made others and their own descendants to sin against God.
The people of the kingdom of Judah, the southern kingdom, would themselves be brought into exile by the Babylonians, as they were also disobedient, refusing to turn away from sin, and even though God had sent prophets after prophets, messengers after messengers, they refused to believe in His message, and rejected His offer of mercy and forgiveness. They and their kings continued to trust on themselves and in the comforts of worldliness.
Through this we can see that, those who do not put their trust in God, and prefer instead to walk on their own will be scattered, and they will lose their way. They will not be able to stand against the forces of this world. And the only result out of sin and disobedience will be sorrow, pain and suffering, for it is only in God that we shall find true and everlasting peace, as well as rest and succour from all of our worldly troubles.
But ultimately, we have to remember the simple fact that while we are often unfaithful, wayward and defiant in our ways, God is always faithful to us, to the covenant which He had made with our forefathers, and which He had renewed with them many times, and last of all, which He renewed with all of us through none other than Jesus Christ, His only Son. For Jesus is the Mediator of the New and everlasting Covenant, through which God wants to make all of us as the recipients of His love and grace.
God is always willing and ready to forgive us, but are we willing to be forgiven by God? Rather, are we willing to approach Him and to ask Him for His generous mercy? Or are we instead too proud and arrogant, to think that we have been mistaken and are in need of forgiveness? If God has allowed Himself to become Man and to suffer for our sake, so that He may forgive us our sins and heal us from our afflictions, then should we not make the effort to allow His grace and forgiveness to enter our lives and transform us?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all as Christians be role model for all of our brethren. We should be the ones to show others the way to the Lord, through our humble supplication and submission before God, through our devotion and commitment to Him and to His ways. We should show others how we ought to follow the Lord, and obey His laws, by practicing them through our own actions and deeds.
After all, no one will believe in us if we ask them to believe in God, and yet in our actions we are no different from all those who have disobeyed the Lord and abandoned Him those years ago, the people of Israel and Judah. We must lead by example, and show to each other the living proof of the love of Christ our Lord. We are the bearers of His love, and the witnesses of His truth, so it is imperative that each and every one of us must walk the talk, as Christians, to commit ourselves to acts of love fitting for those who call themselves children of our Lord, Whose great love for us enabled Him to forgive us our many sins.
May the Lord continue to love us and bless us, and may He, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be the Light of our lives, showing us the way forward, that we will always remain in the path towards righteousness and justice. May He bless us and keep us all in His grace, that we will be found ever worthy and good when He comes again as He has promised, and He will then bless us with the gift of everlasting life and glory in His presence. Amen.