Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Gospel speaking to us about doing the will of God in our lives, and that those who obey the Lord and do His will shall be considered as the brothers and sisters of our Lord, meaning as those whom God had chosen to be His own people. And consequently, we are expected, as Christians, to do God’s will in our lives.
In the first reading today, we continue with the discourse from the Book of the prophet Ezra which began yesterday, speaking of the time when the people of Israel were freed from their Babylonian exile and slavery, and they were allowed to return to the land of their ancestors. They were also allowed to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and today we heard of the preparations which were in place to reestablish fully the worship of God.
The priests and the relevant people were appointed just as the Temple of God was rebuilt in Jerusalem. The sacrifices and celebrations which had not been celebrated anymore ever since the days of the kingdom of Israel and Judah were celebrated once again, and the worship of God therefore continued once again in its proper order, and the people flocked to return to God.
The people of Israel and Judah had once been sinful and wicked in their actions, and they have not been faithful to God, and instead they worshipped the pagan gods and idols, which resulted in their estrangement from the Lord and their exile, the destruction of their kingdoms and livelihoods, until the time when they have repented from their sins, and therefore were allowed to return to the promised land, as we have heard in the passages from the Book of Ezra.
What God wanted from all of them was their dedication, love and commitment, not their empty gestures and sacrifices. He wanted them to love Him with all of their hearts and not merely just paying lip service in faith. That is why He constantly reminded us His people, that our faith in Him can neither be lukewarm or superficial. We should have genuine love for God, the strong desire in our hearts to be with God and to commit ourselves to His ways.
Today we should learn from the examples of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, the holy and dedicated servants of God, whose commitments to God have been exemplary, and whose faith in the Lord are truly inspirations for all of us. St. Cosmas and St. Damian were told to be twin brothers who were renowned physicians in the Roman province of Syria, who were martyred during the time of the great persecution under the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
They were very renowned physicians who were remembered fondly by many because of their sincere and generous devotion to the people, by not charging a single cent for their services. They did their services out of pure love for God and men alike. Their selflessness turned many towards the Christian faith, who were stirred by the faith which the twin saints practiced in their lives and in how they healed many from their afflictions.
Yet, the two saints were arrested during the great persecution of Christians, and were put to death in martyrdom, defending their faith to the very end. Nonetheless, the memory of their great faith, and the great love and compassion they have shown to their brethren were not forgotten, and still inspired many people to this very day. This is what all of us Christians should aspire to achieve in our lives.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all, inspired by the holy lives of the saints, particularly that of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, be true disciples of our Lord in deeds and actions, that in our every works, and in our every actions, we will always show forth that we truly belong to the Lord, by loving one another, and by caring for the least fortunate among us, practicing our faith in our every deeds in life. May God be with us all, and may He bless all of our good works. Amen.