Friday, 18 August 2017 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Lord reminds us through the Scripture passages we heard, of the love that God had shown to His people throughout the time when He showed forth His might to care for them and their ancestors, freeing them from the Egyptians, and in how He led them through the desert towards the lands promised to them, destroying their enemies before them and guarding them with love.

Through Joshua, His servant, God reminded His people of His love, and all that He had done for them. He reminded them of the Covenant which He had created with them and their ancestors. Yet, as we know throughout the time of the Exodus people of God had not always been faithful to Him, and have been wayward in multiple occasions, worshipping pagan gods and idols, and disobedient against God. They have indulged in worldly pleasures and forgotten His laws and commandments.

They have hardened their hearts against Him, and refused to listen to Him, preferring to follow their own paths rather than to walk in the path shown to them by God, including in the matter of marriage and family. Ever since the beginning of time, when God first created man, He had created them man and woman, and decreed that man should join with woman, and become therefore united and blessed in a union blessed by God.

But the Israelites could not resist the temptations of worldly pleasures and the flesh, and they succumbed to their desires. That was why they committed acts of adultery and wickedness, of sexual impropriety and aberrations, disregarding the sanctity of the holy marriage in which their families have been bound in and blessed by God. As a result, they have sinned against God, and God wanted to remind them through Joshua what He had done for them, and thus want them to live in accordance with His will, to be righteous and upright in their actions and deeds.

How is this relevant to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? In our world today we are inundated with the temptations of pleasures and worldly allures through which we are swayed and pressured to abandon our faith in God, and instead indulging in the desires of our flesh and bodies. We live at a time when the sanctity of marriage is no longer respected or preserved. And many among us Christians have lost our faith in God and fell into the corruption of sin and worldliness.

All of us are called as Christians to stand up for our faith, and for all that we believe in, including the need to live righteously in accordance with the laws of God. When the world demands that we conform to its ways and customs, we must be ready and willing to be different, to be beacons of light to those who are living in the darkness, so that by our actions and deeds, we will be able to lead others onto the path towards God’s salvation.

And today, we have also heard in the Gospel, that God called some among us to be chosen by Him, to be His servants, abandoning the prospects of marriage, as they chose to follow the Lord and become His priests, the members of the holy order of priests and bishops, all those who have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to serve the Lord and His people. Their challenges are even greater than ours, the trials and temptations are even more difficult to endure than ours.

Yet, they are the ones whom God had called to be the ones through whom He would work His wonders among His people. They are the ones who have been called and chosen, and while the pains, sorrows and difficulties are aplenty, but their works and labours lay the foundation for the salvation of many souls. Without the hard work and the sacrifices made by our priests, by all those who have dedicated themselves to service to God, there would have been many more souls lost to the damnation in hell.

Let us all therefore pray for our priests, that the Lord will keep them holy and devoted to their missions, and then for we ourselves, we also have the need to live an upright and righteous life, committed to obey the Lord and His will. It is by our working together and commitment to help the good works together as one Church of God, that we will be drawing closer to the Lord, and therefore be worthy of the grace and the blessings which He will bestow on all those who are faithful to Him.

May God bless us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to live in accordance with His will, reminding all of us of the time when He has blessed us generously in this life, and how He has loved us and showed us His mercy and compassion whenever we have fallen into sin and disgrace, that by His persistence, He has endeavoured to make us to turn away from our sins, and to repent from our wickedness, that we may eventually be reunited with Him, to enjoy forever the eternal joy in His presence. Amen.

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