Saturday, 8 July 2017 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings, we are all presented with contradictions and discrepancies that exist first of all, between the brothers Esau and Jacob, the sons of Isaac, in which we heard how Esau, the elder one among the brothers were supposed to obtain the blessings from Isaac, his father as the rightful heir, and yet, not only that he sold his right for inheritance to Jacob, his younger brother, in an earlier part of the Book of Genesis, a prelude to today’s passage, but as we have heard, he has also lost his blessings and graces which his father instead bestowed on Jacob, the younger one of the two brothers.

It was told that Esau was a great hunter, mighty in the sight of men and the world alike. For many people, it would indeed be natural for Esau to succeed his father and obtain his inheritance. And yet, he was not the one whom God had chosen to be the one through whom He would pass His favour to, but instead, He gave all these to Jacob, the father of all Israel.

Esau represented the old ways, as it was told that he married local Canaanite women and worshipped their gods, unlike what the Lord had told His servants, that is to serve the Lord alone as their God and Master. Jacob was therefore the representative of the new covenant of God which He renewed with the descendants of His faithful servant Abraham. The passing of blessings and inheritance from Esau to Jacob represents this shift from the old way of paganism and sin, into a new reality and new life blessed by God.

In the Gospel today, we heard a seemingly different story, when Jesus spoke of the parable of the wineskin and the wine, as well as the parable of the cloth to His disciples. In that parable, He spoke of how old wine ought not to be put and stored into new wineskins, and vice versa, for they are incompatible. In the similar manner, old cloth ought not to be sewed into new clothes, and vice versa, or else their contradictions will reject each other.

How is this related to what we have heard in our first reading today? And more importantly, how are they related to our own lives? What we have heard today in fact have called us to discern and think about how we ought to be better disciples and followers of our Lord through our life, our actions and deeds in life. We are all called to a new life in God, one that is transformed and changed by His love.

The old wineskin and the old clothes represents the old ways of our life, what we used to say, do and believe. It represent the sin of our disobedience and the sin of our flesh, all that we have committed in the past. The new wine and the new patch of cloth represents the new way of the Lord, one that is distinct from the old ways of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, when Jesus spoke to His disciples about the new wine causing the old wineskin to tear and burst, and the same thing happens also to the old clothes patched with new piece of cloth, He was indeed saying that with our new life in God, that life is incompatible with our past sinfulness and all of our past wrongdoings.

This means that we cannot profess to be one of the disciples and followers of the Lord, and yet at the same time, continuing to sin and to disobey or be ignorant of His laws and commandments. Otherwise, the consequences for us will be indeed severe, as we will only cause an even greater sin upon ourselves. We must change our ways and turn away from all of the disobedience and ignorance which have brought us into sin, sin against God.

Let us all today reflect on this, and think of what we mankind can do better, as the members of God’s Church, as His servants and disciples, in following Him and obeying His laws and commandments, so that through our every actions, deeds and all that we do, we will always bring glory to Him, not to ourselves, and thus be truly who we have been called to be, to become a new people with a new life blessed by God, our Lord and Master. May God be with us all and bless all of our endeavours. Amen.

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