Thursday, 9 February 2017 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us ought to reflect on what we heard from the Sacred Scriptures, which are none other than the proof that God, throughout all of history, had loved each and every one of us, caring for us and providing for us out of His love. He has created us all man and woman, so that we may procreate with each other and be merry, filling up this world with our own kind.

He has blessed us all with many things, with all sorts of animals and plants to accompany us, all kinds of living things to enrich the beautiful and wonderful world that He had created. He has given all of these in the world to us, so that we become the stewards of creation, and become the one in charge over all that God had created, because all of us are special to Him.

He has also shown mercy and love for His people, by sending none other than His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour and Liberator, the One with the power to rescue us from the suffering and damnation of hell. He gives His blessings upon those who have walked in His ways and obeyed Him, as shown in how He healed the daughter of the Syro-Phoenician woman, by the faith which she had shown all before the Lord.

At that time, there was a great prejudice which the people of Israel had against the people of pagan and Gentile origins. This means that the Israelites often saw themselves as the special people who alone among all the other races and peoples in this world, was chosen by God to be His own beloved people. But in time, this became a great pride among them, and they became stubborn and exclusive, looking down on all those who supposedly did not belong to the community of Israel.

But God created each and every man and woman equal, equal in love and stature before God. If God does not love anyone except the people of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, then He would have had no reason to create all the other races of men. God would not have created other people, if not because of His love for each and every one of His creations, especially in particular all of us mankind.

He has given so much to us, and blessed us all with many good things, and yet, it was many of us who have not been faithful to Him, being distracted by the temptations of this world, and all the things that had separated us from Him. We have wandered off on our journey towards God, and as a result, we became lost from the Lord, and we were unable to find our way back to Him.

We ended up becoming proud and arrogant, and we closed our hearts to the Lord and to our fellow brethren, and we became like those who refused to listen to the truth because they thought that they could not be wrong, and that they were always right no matter what. This was what had brought down many people, the sin of pride, the refusal to accept the fact that we have erred and made mistakes, and that there was a need for conversion and change in one’s attitude so that we may be forgiven our sins.

The people of Israel might have looked down on their neighbours, but it was indeed ironic that while they refused to listen to the truth of God passed on to them through Jesus, their promised Lord and Saviour, it was a humble and simple Syro-Phoenician woman, a pagan and a Gentile, who have shown them a faith that greatly surpassed their own.

She has humbled herself greatly before the Lord, knowing that she was a sinner and an unworthy servant of God. And she endured even when the Lord apparently mocked her, by saying that one should not take the bread and pass it on to the dogs to eat. We might think that Jesus was doing something not appropriate by mocking a poor woman who asked Him for help, but in fact, Jesus knew her faith and the steadfastness of her belief, and wanted to show to all of His disciples, that great faith could be found even among the people not counted among the sons and daughters of Israel.

For ultimately, God had made us all to be His own sons and daughters through His Son, by bringing all of us together all who believe in Him and His salvation, as Christians, all those whom He had chosen from the world to be His own. And therefore it is important for all of us to take note of the examples and the action of the Syro-Phoenician woman, and reflect on what she had done. She is an inspiration to all of us.

As Christians, all of us must open our hearts to the Lord, be humble and be cognisant of the sins that we have committed in our lives, that these are stumbling blocks and obstacles that prevented us from reaching out to God and attaining His salvation. We must be like the woman who showed her faith even amidst challenges and difficulties, and even when others seemed to reject her, she pushed on nonetheless.

In our faith, we must be sincere and be strong as she had shown, and be filled with the desire to be forgiven and to be healed by God, because all of us are sinners, and by the grace of God, we can be healed and made whole again. May the Lord bless us all and our works, and may He forgive us our sins, and bring us all into His glory and grant us eternal life. Amen.

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