Monday, 23 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings, we heard about the Lord’s saving work which He had done through Christ, by Whom all have been made whole and worthy, as He is the Mediator of the new Covenant between mankind and God. And yet, we heard in the last part of the Gospel today, where Jesus rebuked the teachers of the Law, mentioning that the sin of the Holy Spirit, will not be forgiven.

We may be confused, as what we may know of the Lord, is He not all merciful and forgiving? Had He not in fact sent His Son into this world, so that He may save all of us? That no one ought to be left behind and forgotten? But this is a misunderstanding of the truth of God, that He is indeed merciful, but only so far as we mankind accept the offer of His mercy.

Forgiveness is given to all those who are willing to accept the mercy of God, and not to those who refuse it. That is exactly what is meant by sinning against the Holy Spirit, that is the refusal to be forgiven, even though one knows fully that forgiveness has been offered. And that was what happened to the teachers of the Law, who knew what Jesus had done, witnessed what He had done, and yet they attributed His works to the works of Satan and his allies. They slandered against the Lord by doing so.

The mercy of God has been freely offered and freely given, but we Christians must not misunderstand and mislead others that God offers all unconditional forgiveness and mercy. Indeed, as long as we breathe, God will always try to give us a chance, and forgiveness will come upon us should we seek for it and genuinely trying to reform ourselves and our ways.

Those who doubt the Lord’s mercy and good works, and worse still, openly mocking the good works of God, and slander it such as what the teachers of the Law had done against Jesus, will have the door of mercy shut before them. That is not because God is not merciful or has practiced double standards in His mercy, but instead, because they themselves had rejected and shut the doors of their heart off to the Lord, Who wanted to come and heal them.

For this, our Lord Who loves each and every one of us resolved to become one like us, and to walk among us in this world, and taking up our own sins and their consequences upon Himself, He bore the cross of sins and wickedness on His way to Calvary, where He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice, as an ultimate and loving sacrifice for the reparation and forgiveness of our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord had done so much for our sake, and He has loved us so tenderly that He was willing to go through those immense sufferings during His Passion, just so that all of us mankind may be saved, and therefore do not need to suffer the consequences of our sins. Such was the love of our God, and are we able to reciprocate the same kind of love to Him? We have been given the opportunity, but are we ready to accept that opportunity?

Let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, and let us all commit ourselves to a life renewed by the grace of God. Let us no longer persist in our pride and in our refusal to obey the will of God, as well as His offers of mercy and forgiveness. Let us all hope in the Lord, and help one another to reach out to the Lord’s mercy. Let us not act stubbornly in the same manner as the teachers of the Law, who not only refused God’s mercy, but also slandered His good works and lied about Him.

May the Lord strengthen our faith, awaken in our hearts a warm love which we ought to have for Him, just as He had loved us. May He bless us all and give us all the opportunity to renew ourselves, accepting fully that we have been made whole again by the good works of Christ, the Lamb of God, by Whose Blood, we have been washed away from our sins. Amen.

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