Sunday, 2 July 2017 : Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, all of us heard from the Sacred Scriptures an unmistakeable message with which the Church wants us to know just how much God loves us all His people, and how He, Who is ever faithful and ever loving, will bless us and reward us for the faith and dedication that we show to Him in our daily lives, in our actions, deeds and works.

In the first reading today, taken from the Second Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah, we heard how the prophet Elisha of Israel was well taken care of by the rich woman of the city of Shunem, who provided for him all that he needed, in all of his food and drink needs, in all of his lodging and supplies, providing him with the place to sleep and caring for all of his other needs.

The prophet Elisha noticed all that the woman and her husband had done for his sake, respecting his position as the prophet of God, and providing for all of his needs. Thus, Elisha granted the woman a special privilege, a blessing and reward for all that she had done for the sake of God’s servants. The woman was granted a child in her old age even though she had been barren her whole life.

Another servant of God had been faithful his whole life, and was thoroughly committed to God, that he was righteous and just in all of his actions. He was Abraham, the father of many nations and our father in faith. Abraham is one of God’s great servants, whom the Lord was pleased with, as he had been true in his faith and genuine in his love for Him. As a result, God established His Covenant with Abraham, blessing him and all of his descendants.

There are many other examples throughout the entire Scripture, as we saw the faith of David, the other good servant of God, whose steadfast faith and commitment to the Lord, his righteousness and justice, both as a person and later on as the king of all Israel, brought upon him great blessings and graces from God, and God made a Covenant with David, blessing him and all of his descendants, promising that his heir will be on the throne of Israel forever, a promise fulfilled to perfection in Jesus Christ, Son and Heir of David.

All of these are the proof that what Jesus our Lord had said to His disciples in today’s Gospel passage is indeed true. All those who have welcomed the Lord and His servants, obeyed Him and His laws, walked righteously in His path and did what He had commanded us all to do, will not be disappointed, for the Lord will remember us and graciously grant us His favour and blessings.

And He also said that whoever loves father or mother, daughter or son, or any other things more than they love Him, He will reject them and cast them out from His presence. We must be careful lest we misunderstood the true intention of the Lord as He said those words. He did not mean that we ought to leave behind our loved ones and reject them in exchange for the Lord. What He meant was instead that we must indeed love everyone, our family, friends, and even strangers, based on an even greater love which we have for the Lord our God.

That is how Abraham, our father in faith, and the rich woman of Shunem were blessed because of their great love for the Lord which far surpassed their love for money and possessions, both of which Abraham and the rich woman of Shunem possessed in abundance. They did not hesitate to make use of them to glorify the Lord and to serve Him to the best of their abilities.

Indeed, if we were to read on more, Abraham as we all should know, even brought his son Isaac, his most beloved son, to be sacrificed when the Lord set out to test his faith, without hesitation. And the king David, when he welcomed the Lord’s Ark of the Covenant into the city of Jerusalem, did not hesitate to dance before the Lord’s Ark, in the sight of all his people, even though he was by then king of all Israel.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now let us all ask ourselves, whether we are capable of showing such faith in the Lord? Are we able to walk in the footsteps of our holy and devout predecessors, Abraham, David, the rich woman of Shunem and many others, all those who have given much for the sake of the Lord? This is what we need to reflect on and indeed ask ourselves, if we have not been truly faithful in our way of life, in how we live our daily lives.

How many of us often find excuses, trying to keep the Lord at a distance from us? How many of us are always using the excuses that we are busy, and we have no time for Him, preferring instead to deal and take care of our worldly business and occupations, rather than serving the Lord and loving Him with all of our heart, mind, body and soul?

This is what many of us mankind had done in our lives, as we are distracted by many temptations in life, which caused us to drift further and further away from the Lord. And this is where all of us really need to remember that the Lord had warned in the Gospel today, that all who put the Lord as a lower priority than other worldly matters and things, will be rejected and cast out into oblivion.

We do not have to do magnificent and grand actions to do what the Lord wants us to do. Rather, we should begin from ourselves, with small and little steps, rediscovering that love and devotion which we should have for our Lord, Who loves us all and Who created us all out of His great love. Let us all take a step back in our lives, taking some time to be spent with God despite our busy schedules and commitments in life.

Are we able to give the Lord our love, much as He has loved us all first? God did not hold anything back when He loved us, even to the point of sending us His own Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to suffer and die on the cross for us, so that through His great suffering and death, all of us may share in His death, and together rise with Him in glory of the resurrection into new life blessed by God.

Let us henceforth renew our commitment to the Lord, to love Him and to serve Him to the best of our abilities, starting by us devoting our time and effort for Him, instead of ignoring and walking away from Him, and therefore, as we draw closer to Him, we may better appreciate just how much God has blessed us and loved us from the very beginning.

Let us then also show the same love to our brethren, that is to our families, to our friends and all others, even strangers who are in need of our love. Let us all not be distracted any longer by all the temptations and worldly concerns that had so far held us back from being able to be true disciples of our Lord. May the Lord help us with all our endeavours, so that we may become more and more like His faithful disciples and servants, that we may be worthy to receive the fruits of eternal life and joy with God. May God bless us all. Amen.

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