Sunday, 26 February 2017 : Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday all of us heard the words of the Scriptures telling us about the need for all of us to have our priorities in life right, that we do not get distracted by the many temptations of life, and that we will be able to discover the true peace and harmony in God. The readings today give us the assurance that God loves all of us His people, and He will not abandon us in our time of need.

In those readings, we are presented with the realities of our world today, that we mankind are often distracted by our many worldly concerns, the concern of our needs and wants, the concerns of our desires, and we often get troubled and focused on our human and worldly concerns, worrying about ourselves and trying to preserve and care for our own needs.

In all these, we have forgotten that above all these things, we have been given the great gift beyond all of the other gifts from God, namely our very own lives. God had graced us with life-giving spirit, and we have received this life we have thanks to Him Who granted them to all of us. God had also provided each and every one with what they need in life, and no one has any need to have any wants or desires, for God had given each and every one enough for themselves.

But we mankind are not easy to be satisfied and pleased, as since the very beginning, we have been tempted by many things, and Satan himself took advantage of this fact. God had created us all mankind with all the things that we need, and we have been placed in the blessed Eden to enjoy forever the rich blessings of God, but we were not content. Instead, we desired for more.

And that was what led Eve to be bought over by the temptations and the sweet lies of Satan, who lied to her telling her that if she would just eat from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, she then would become like God, by knowing what is good and evil. She and her husband Adam succumbed to the temptation, and we know of what happened after that. Not only that they have not received what they wanted, but they have been deprived of their original blessings because of their disobedience.

Throughout the Scriptures and in our daily lives, we witnessed to the many times when humanity, the people of God erred in their ways. We witnessed how a person would fight with another person debating and disputing over material wealth, over food, over money, over all sorts of worldly goods. We see just how wicked we mankind can be, in our desire to seek for more things for ourselves.

And this would never end, if we ourselves do not restrain our desires. We have seen in many occasions how mankind will always demand for more, seeking for more, wanting for more. That is also how corporate and business world usually operates, by seeking profit and revenue over anything else. And when a certain profit, revenue and good thing are attained, then it is natural for the demand for even more profits to appear.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we live in a world that is saturated with materialism, and often unbridled capitalism and mercantilism. It is a world also filled with selfishness, individualism and also human greed. That is why we see so many people being exploited by those who are in power, by those who are with influence and wealth. That is why we see so much injustice in our world today.

We see so many people being deprived from their daily needs, just so that the necessary resources could be given over to the mighty and the influential, to serve their own purposes. We live in a world today where in the hearts of many people, God had no place at all. Many of the people have abandoned God, seeking instead the pursuit of money, of material possessions, and other forms of worldly satisfaction.

This is where all of us as Christians have been challenged by the Lord Jesus, Who calls all of us to be His witnesses before the world, to be those who would carry on His message and truth, and to be examples for many others to follow through our own actions, words and deeds. We as Christians are supposed to be the role models for others, be exemplary in how we carry out our daily lives, that others may come to realise their mistakes and come to repentance.

First of all, as Christians, we are challenged to put God at the centre of our lives. God must be at the most prominent part of our lives, and in fact everything we say and do, must have their origins in God. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that all of us must be obedient to God, and we must be filled with righteousness and justice in accordance with God’s ways.

We should not proclaim ourselves as Christians if we do not act in the same manner as a Christian should have done. Otherwise, we will create a scandal for our faith, for the Church and for the Lord, and it is a great sin before God and men alike. Many called themselves Christians, and yet they were greedy, filled with jealousy, anger, wrath, arrogance, selfishness and all other things that are unbecoming of our Christian identity.

Secondly, all of us are called to put our trust in the Lord, which means giving our complete and full trust to Him, knowing that He will take good care of us and bless us with everything that we need. We may think that this can be easily done, but often we are mistaken about this. It is actually not easy for us to put our trust in God, when we mankind often doubted the Lord, doubting and refusing to believe in His love and grace.

Many of us failed to see God’s love and faithfulness because we are too busy worrying about ourselves, about various things that we should really not be worried about. All these stemmed once again from what we have just discussed earlier on, about our inability to restrain our human desires and greed, which led to our fall into sins and darkness. As Christians, we are all called to overcome our worries and fears, and learn to put God ahead of everything else.

Lastly, all of us as Christians are challenged to take action, and to look beyond ourselves and our needs and wants. We must not be overcome and be distracted by our desires, by the temptations of this world. We must be selfless and think about others before ourselves. That is what is being a true Christian is like, that is to be more like Christ. Remember that Jesus Himself had placed Himself completely in the hands of His Father, and obeyed Him completely, and through that, all of us have been saved.

We must be those who would stand up and speak up against injustice and wickedness, against all sorts and forms of evil, and all the greed and desires of man. As Christians we must be daring and be willing to commit ourselves wholeheartedly for the betterment of our brethren, especially to all those who are downtrodden, who have been abandoned and without hope. We have to be a light of hope for others, reflecting the Lord Who is the true Light of the world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today let us all pray together, that each and every one of us will be strengthened in our faith, so that in all the things we say and do, we will always proclaim the glory of God, and place God at the centre of our lives, and in the centre of everything we have. Let us not allow our selfishness and the obstacles that Satan placed in our path to prevent us from doing what we ought to be doing as Christians, that is to give ourselves out of complete love for one another, just as our Lord Himself had done.

May the Lord help us all to overcome the weaknesses of our flesh, and help us to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to Him. May He empower us all to become His children, that we may prove to all others who see us, that we are Christians, as people who believe in the Lord, not just in name only, but also through real and true commitment. Let us all be examples for others to follow, that many more people may be saved, and let us be champions against injustice and wickedness in this world. May the Lord be with us all, and bless us all forevermore. Amen.

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