Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the messages from the Sacred Scriptures speaking to us about being accepted and being rejected for bringing the word of God and the message of truth to the people. We see the contrast between the first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Zechariah and the Gospel passage taken from the Gospel of St. Luke.
In the first reading, we heard about many people, coming from many nations, states and countries, all coming towards God and following Him. God had called all of His people to Him, regardless of nationalities, background, racial profiles and whatever differences that exist between us. And people listened to God’s call and come towards Him.
And then, in the Gospel passage today, we heard how Jesus and His disciples were on their way from Galilee towards Jerusalem, and on their way, they passed through the region of Samaria, where the Samaritan people lived. The Samaritan village that Jesus and His disciples passed through refused to admit them, and rejected them because they were on their way to Jerusalem.
We may be wondering why the Samaritans did what they have done. After all, many Samaritans readily welcomed Jesus and His teachings, listening intently to Him, and many also became His followers and disciples. Yet, if we are to understand this matter fully, we should understand the history between the Samaritans and the Jewish people.
The Samaritans were the descendants of the people who lived in what was once the northern kingdom of Israel after the division of the kingdom of David and Solomon. Meanwhile, the Jews were mainly the descendants of those who once lived in the southern kingdom of Judah. And ever since then, the animosity between the two people have arisen.
While many of the Israelites in the north were exiled when their kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrian Empire, and the region repopulated with pagan peoples, but the animosities remained. The Samaritans believed that worshipping in the mountains of Samaria, where once a rival religious centre was established by the kings of the northern kingdom, while the Jews believed that the House of God is at the Temple in Jerusalem.
Those differences resulted in the animosity between the two peoples, to the point that they adamantly refused to receive Jesus and His disciples just because they were going to Jerusalem. On the other hand, the Jews themselves also often looked down on the Samaritans, considering them as pagans and loathsome. These prejudices caused them to harden their hearts and closed their ears, hearts and minds against God Who tried to speak to them and make them understand the truth.
Therefore, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, on our very actions and deeds in life. Have we sometimes or even often closed our hearts and minds to the words of God, just because of our prejudices and our refusal to admit that it is God’s ways and not our ways, that is right? It is too often that we are too proud to admit that we may be in the wrong, and we are in need of correction.
If we are to reach out to many more people, as what the Lord had commanded all of us Christians to do, then we must not walk down the path of stubbornness and ego. Instead, we should open ourselves to the Lord, our hearts and minds, that God may speak in the silence of our hearts and minds, and hence, knowing what it is that He wants us to do, we may find our way in this life to Him.
May the Lord bless us all, and may He give us all the grace to be able to listen to His will, and the grace of accepting one another, recognising that each and every one of us who believe in God, are truly brothers and sisters, all sharing the same one God, Who loves each and every one of us. May God be with us all, now and always. Amen.