Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings, we heard of the time when God saved the righteous among His people from among the wicked and those who refused to repent their sins, when He cleansed the whole earth from the wickedness of the descendants of Cain, those who involved themselves in all sorts of debauchery and wickedness.
He saved Noah and his family with the Ark, rescuing them from the great flood that came to engulf all the wicked people of the world, bringing with them all sorts of animals and plants. This is a story which all of us are surely quite familiar with. But at the centre of it all is how God loves all of mankind, all those whom He had created with love, those who live in this world.
That is what Jesus had also done to the people whom He loved, in the Gospel today when we heard about how Jesus had fed the multitudes of the five thousand men, not counting the women and children, which led to even more people whom God had fed and cared for, out of the love and pity which He had for His people who are suffering.
Then one might ask, why then God sent a great flood to destroy all the wicked and erase their existence from the earth? Should He not be loving and kind, merciful and graceful to us? Should He not show His love to all, even to great sinners and disobedient people? But why did He then destroy His people? Surely this is what bothered many of us, something that we cannot comprehend, that the God of love should destroy His people?
That is because while God loves all of us mankind, each and every one of us without exception, and He also extends His mercy freely and gracefully, but His love and mercy only come to its fullness when we mankind are receptive to that love, and open our hearts to welcome the love which God gave us. The love of God then can enter our hearts, and transform us with love, and make us into a people filled with love, grace, righteousness and justice.
But when mankind refused to open their hearts to welcome God’s love, and stubbornly closed the doors of their heart before the Lord, rejecting the offer of God’s mercy and love, then God’s mercy and love will not take effect with us. And that is why while the sins of sinners who repent and commit themselves to change will be forgiven their sins, but sinners who refuse to repent will remain in the state of sin.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is a time of reflection, a time for us to take a step back and look into our lives, whether we have been faithful to God, and whether we have been receptive to God’s love and mercy. If we have been faithful thus far, then it is good with us, and we need to continue the good works that we have started. Meanwhile, if we have not been faithful, then we really need to do something in order to change our lives for the better.
Perhaps we should look up the examples of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the saints whose feast we are celebrating on this day. St. Cyril and St. Methodius were brothers who devoted themselves and their lives into the service of God, and were known as Patron Saints of Europe because of what they had contributed massively in the field of evangelisation to many people, particularly to the pagans who lived in what is now central and eastern parts of Europe.
St. Cyril and St. Methodius helped to translate the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church into the versions readable and understandable by the pagans, particularly among the Slavic peoples. It was their evangelising work that laid the foundation of the faith among the Slavs, most of whom now call themselves as Christians, all of which were rooted from the work of these two saints.
They have allowed God to work His great and wonderful works through them, committing themselves to a life of service to Him, spreading and preaching the word of God to peoples in faraway lands, those who have not yet had the chance to listen to the word of God, and still lived in the darkness of sin. This is what all of us Christians ought to do, that we become God’s intermediate, that through us the conversions of many can be done.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and inspired by the examples of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, and also from the righteous Noah and his family, let us all commit ourselves to a life of virtue and grace, filled with God’s love and light, and share this faith we have with one another, helping each other to find our way to the Lord.
May the Lord bless us all and strengthen us, that our faith will be ever stronger, so that we may commit ourselves and empower one another to be righteous and be worthy of God’s love, that we will not find our due among those who perished in the great flood. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.