Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Abbots)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Lord Who spoke to His disciples on the matter of how they ought to deal with one another, particularly should anyone cause any harm or pain, be it physical or mental, on them. He was saying how it was under the old laws of Moses, that those who inflicted suffering upon others must also suffer themselves equally in the same manner.
This was called the law of vengeance, where justice was meted upon the condemned by the same degree of punishment as what the sufferer or victim has suffered. Should one cause another to lose an arm, then he or she must also lose an arm. If he or she caused another person to lose an eye, then he or she must also lose an eye. It is a law of proportional justice, which the people of Israel followed strictly and enforced by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not what we all as Christians believe, as the Lord Himself made it clear that we must not do what the Israelites had done. It was not however that He was overturning or replacing the old Law, but instead revealing the true nature of the Law that is Love. The old laws given to Moses and which was expanded throughout the history of the Israelites was modified because of the rebelliousness of the people of Israel.
Why is that so? That is because the Israelites constantly rebelled and complained against God, and they hardened their hearts against Him. They did not truly love Him despite all that He had done for them, by delivering them from their oppressors in Egypt, and by lovingly providing for all that they needed throughout their journey. Therefore, like a father who disciplines his children whenever they are not doing things in the right manner and yet still loving them, God also wanted to discipline them in the same manner.
But they misunderstood His intentions, and thought that God was being a very fearsome God, Who did not want to see any mistake from His people, and Who would punish any forms of misconduct with harsh punishments. They ended up fearing Him and distancing themselves from Him. That was why He came to dispel the falsehood and reveal to them the real truth about His everlasting love for them.
God wants to show us that love is what He wants from each and every one of us, just as He has loved us all so tenderly from the very beginning. And it is because of His love that all of us have existed, solely because of His love for us. If He had not loved us, He would have exterminated us by the might of His will alone, if He had not loved us and seen that we have been unfaithful to Him by our sins.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is His intention that all of us Christians ought to learn how to love each other. We must realise that much of the sorrows and troubles in this world were caused by our inability to love each other, and our refusal to love the Lord our God, as much as we love ourselves. It is in our human nature and habit for us to think of ourselves first, and others as secondary.
But when our desires and interests clashed with each other’s, that is the moment when division and strive came about, and that is when we end up squabbling and conflicting with one another, trying to protect our own interests in the act of self-preservation. In the end, everyone suffered, and everyone felt angry and dissatisfied, due to all the bitterness, pains and all the struggles.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should model ourselves after the examples of the holy saints, all the righteous men and women who had preceded us in their just and holy life, with the example of St. Romuald, who was once apparently in his youth, a renegade and a sinner, who indulged in all forms of earthly pleasures and vices, as much as he could commit himself to. However, eventually, St. Romuald came to his senses and sought to exonerate himself by pious deeds.
He devoted his whole life from then on in asceticism and fervent prayer, becoming a monk who dedicated his life to the service of God, calling and inspiring many others who also had the desire to serve the Lord, by committing themselves to a life of prayer and devotion. He founded the Camaldolese order in that manner, and many more people came to be saved by their dedication to the Lord, abandoning their past and sinful lives behind them.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps that is what all of us should do as well? Perhaps we should reevaluate how we have lived our lives thus far? Let us ask ourselves, what is our real purpose and intention in life? What is it that we seek in our daily living? Do we have any objective in living this earthly life? Or are we merely enjoying all the pleasures that this world offers us?
It is time for us all as Christians to renew our commitment to the Lord, in order for us to live faithfully according to His laws and commandments. It is time for us to be His true disciples and followers, in body, heart, mind and soul, indeed in our whole and entire being. May the Lord bless us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path, so that in everything we say and do, we will always glorify Him and become ever closer to Him. Amen.