Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to heed the words of the Lord which He spoke to His disciples in our Gospel today. He spoke of the hypocrisy of those who judged others and yet failed to realise that the same faults and mistakes could be found in them too. He warned against such hypocrisy in the faith, where one preaches one thing and yet act in a different way.
Unfortunately, that is in fact what the reality is among us Christians in our world today. Many of us call ourselves as Christians, and yet we do not do as what the Lord had taught us to do in our lives. For example, there are many of us Christians who hold grudges against one another, getting angry against each other, sometimes just because of minor disagreements and disputes over trivial things.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, did the Lord ask us to be angry one against the other? Did He ask us to hold grudges or hate those who have caused us to suffer and hated us? No, what He asked us to do, is for us to love one another with genuine intention from our hearts. He called us to love each other and to forgive those who have slighted us and caused us discomfort or suffering.
How many of us are capable of forgiving our brethren? How many of us are able to let go of all the anger and the negative emotions that are in our hearts? And how many of us are able to follow the Lord sincerely through all of our actions, by the total giving and commitment of ourselves? Are we able to obey the Lord with our hearts, minds and indeed with our whole bodies? Or are we only able to provide Him with lip service and false promises?
These are the important questions that we need to ask ourselves and which we need to reflect on. We have to internalise all of the experiences of our life, and make sure that we really live according to our faith, to what we believe in. Otherwise, we really are hypocrites, who do not act according to what we believe in, and we are no better therefore than the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law whom Jesus criticised severely for their hypocrisy in faith.
How then, should we live our lives? We should heed the example presented in our first reading today, from the story of how Abraham, then known as Abram, obeyed the Lord and all of His will and words, that he was willing to follow the Lord to wherever that He led him to, and listened to His every will, in one occasion which, as we know, he did not even hesitate to give the Lord his own beloved son Isaac, when the Lord tested Abraham for his faith.
Abraham, then known as Abram, had no reason to listen to the Lord and follow Him, for he had a comfortable and good life in the land of his ancestors, having all the wealth and worldly goods he needed, for he was a truly rich man with all sorts of properties and possessions. He had nothing lacking in his life, save for the presence of a son, which he and Sarai, his wife, had not been able to conceive.
But Abram listened to God when He called him, and he left his countrymen and land of birth behind, choosing to follow the Lord to the land which He promised that He would give to Abram and all of his descendants. He placed his complete trust in the Lord and obeyed His will wholeheartedly without reservations. As a result, God gave Abram, whom He named Abraham, great blessings and graces, and promised that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens and the grains of sand on the shores.
This is, brothers and sisters in Christ, how we ought to live our lives as Christians, by following the examples and the life of our father in faith, Abraham, who had placed His complete trust in God, and gave his whole being to the service of God. He did not shirk his duties or walk away from his responsibilities and need to obey the will of God, even despite temptations and challenges he faced.
Let us all look at our own lives, brethren, and ask ourselves, how often was it that we have abandoned the Lord, or disobeyed Him, or refusing to do what He had asked us and told us to do in our lives, just because we have been tempted to do otherwise? Or because we have been pressured and bore such challenges that we gave up or pretend that we do not know what is our obligation as Christians, to live in accordance with the will of God?
May the Lord help us to remain true and faithful to Him, and may He guide us through this life, so that by our actions, words and deeds we will grow ever closer to the Lord and to His salvation. May He bless us all, now and always. Amen.