Thursday, 3 August 2017 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded of God's love for us, beginning from what we have heard in the first reading, taken from the Book of Exodus, in which we heard about how Moses commissioned and dedicated the Holy Tent of Meeting, which would become the centre and focus of the community of Israel as they journeyed through the desert for forty years, and also later on once they were in the Promised Land.

For the Holy Tent of Meeting was the house of God Himself, Who have willingly come down to dwell among His people, through the Covenant He had established with them, and through the Law which He had passed onto them through Moses. He had become their God, and they had become His people. It was God's love for them which allowed this to happen, and therefore, all of us who have received such a great honour and grace should be happy and be joyful.

And yet, at the same time, we are also reminded through the Gospel passage today, that God's love for us also require us to love Him in the same manner. He has unconditionally given us all His love, by reaching out to us even when we are still sinners and unworthy of Him. He gave us the opportunities in order to redeem ourselves, and to turn away from our wickedness and rebellious ways. But, if we ourselves refuse to turn away from those sins, and close our hearts against Him, then what the Lord Jesus spoke of in the Gospel passage today will come true.

The Lord spoke of the kingdom of heaven in a parable, comparing it to a huge fishing net, gathering many fishes of all types and kinds, of all sizes and shapes. This corresponds to how the Lord wants to gather all the people, of all races and from all the nations, to come to Him and to be reconciled with Him. This is why He sent forth His Apostles and disciples with the command, 'Go and make disciples of all the nations, and baptise them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!'.

However, many of us do not remain true and faithful to our faith, and we often failed to obey the commandments of God. We put the priority to our own selfish desires and succumbing to our greed, and thus ignoring what we should have done in life, that is to be committed and dedicated to God in all of our words, actions and deeds. Instead, we let our desires to take control over us, dictating our actions, causing conflict, pain and suffering on others at times just so that we may satisfy our own needs.

As a result, we have become the bad fishes, which in accordance to the Gospel passage, will be disposed of at the time when the Lord came to judge all of us. The Angels of God would be the ones to sort out the good from the bad, and while the good ones will end up being chosen as they are considered worthy, the bad ones will be discarded and destroyed.

In the same way therefore, unless we change our way of life, that we obey the Lord and His laws, we will end up leading ourselves down the way towards eternal damnation and suffering in hell, where there will be no escape or hope for salvation. The Lord might have indeed shown us all His love and mercy, unconditional and generous, but if we have closed the doors of our hearts to these, then the Lord Himself will also reject us at the time of reckoning.

What is it then, that we all as Christians need to do? All of us must be faithful to the Covenant which God had made with us all. Just as He made the Covenant with Israel with the help of Moses, He had made another, everlasting and true Covenant through none other than the loving sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. And a Covenant is a pact made between two parties, that requires both of them to be faithful to the Covenant.

Therefore, as the Lord our God is always faithful to His Covenant with us, for He cannot possibly lie or be untruthful about what He has promised us all, now it falls unto us His people, that we should do our part to fulfil the part we have in our Covenant with God. And how do we do that, brothers and sisters? It is by our showing of love to one another, by being merciful to our fellow men, forgiving one another our faults, and by showing tender care and compassion to the poor and to the sick.

Let us all not be deterred by the amount of hard work that we need to put in, in order for us to be worthy of God. For it is indeed going to be quite challenging for us to lead a life that is dedicated to God, and is considered righteous before God. Yet, if we make the effort to do so, and consciously begin to do what the Lord had taught us to do, even in small and simple things, slowly all of us will put ourselves firmly on the path towards God's salvation and grace.

May the Lord be with us always and may He continue to guide us through this journey we have in life, that we may always strive to be faithful to the Covenant which He had established with us, and so that we will be found worthy of the kingdom of heaven, and the eternal life and glory God had prepared for all those who are faithful to Him. Let us all be truly faithful, not just in mere words, but also through all of our deeds and actions in life. Amen.

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