Wednesday, 30 August 2017 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continued to hear the discourse from the Scriptures, telling us of the importance of living and adopting the way of the Lord, as St. Paul reminded to the Church and the faithful people of God in Corinth. He thanked God that they have lived righteously in obedience of the Lord, to remember His laws and to seek holiness in life.

This is contrasted with what we heard in the Gospel today, when Jesus continued to rebuke the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were hypocrites in how they lived their lives, and they were rightfully called so, because of how they observed their faith and lived their lives. They claimed to be faithful to God in their ways and claimed to be pious and good, yet they did not do what they had done to serve the Lord or His people, but rather to serve their own interests.

They have imposed tough and difficult laws and rules, all the ordinances and obligations upon the people, which they themselves were not able to fulfil, and at the same time, which they also used as tools through which they could seek for more personal glories and achievements, for fame and renown, that through all they have done, they would be praised by the people and retain the prestige and honour which they had received.

That was why they were opposed to Jesus, because, just as the prophets of old came to the people, bearing the message of God’s truth, Jesus Himself, as the Lord and Master of all truths came bearing the fullness of His truth, through which He exposed the falsehoods and the lies of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. And for that same reason, the prophets were harassed, made to suffer, persecuted, tortured and even murdered for having irritated the people, who refused to turn away from their sinful ways.

And that was exactly what the Lord Jesus had to suffer at the hands of those who persecuted Him and His disciples, those who sought for His arrest and death, and those who have condemned Him before the governor Pontius Pilate, calling for Him to be crucified. And yet, despite all of these, Jesus forgave them all from the cross and prayed, that God His Father would not put their sins against them, for having condemned Him to death.

In the end, the Lord was so loving and merciful, that He was willing to even forgive all those who have slighted Him and wronged Him. But ultimately, it was up to the acceptance of those individuals of God’s mercy and forgiveness that will lead them to righteousness and reconciliation with Him. And this is what the Lord had revealed to us, and which He wanted us to know, that He loved each and everyone of us, that He wants us to be reconciled with Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what is it that we as Christians must take note of from what we heard in the Scriptures today? First of all, we must not follow the path of those who are hypocrites and those who did not truly serve God in their hearts. Instead, all of us should be genuine in our faith, by living our lives filled with actions and deeds showing that we are truly Christians, those who believe in God with all of our hearts, and placing God at the centre of our lives.

Then secondly, as foretold in the Scriptures, there will be persecutions and challenges for all of us who remain faithful in the Lord. Just as those people had persecuted the prophets and even our Lord Jesus, Whom they persecuted and condemned to die on the cross. The temptations and the pressure for us to give in to the demands of the world would be great, but if we remain faithful to the Lord, we can be assured of His grace and love. He will grant us the gift of life eternal.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all look forward to the fulfilment of God’s promises, by remaining faithful to Him and staying devoted at all times, that we will not be swayed by the falsehoods and lies of the devil. Let us live our lives full of faith, now and always. Amen.

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