Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we heard a very important reminder for each one of us, that as Christians we must be ever vigilant in our lives, that in our actions and every deeds we will be able to stay faithful to the Lord, regardless the temptations to do otherwise. We cannot be lukewarm or be hypocrites in our faith.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the first reading today, all of us heard how St. Paul in his Epistle and exhortation to the Church and the faithful in the city of Rome spoke of how the people of God must be vigilant against the temptation of their flesh, as their bodies are vulnerable to corruption by sin, by the wickedness of the darkness of Satan, who sowed the seeds of sin in our hearts and minds.
Indeed, we may have experience it ourselves, on how even though deep in our hearts we want to be righteous and good, faithful and committed to the Lord, yet our flesh is unwilling, and the pressures of our flesh cause us to stumble and falter in our journey of faith, as Jesus Himself said to His Apostles, Peter, James and John, whom He called to accompany Him at the Garden of Gethsemane just before His Passion.
In that occasion, the Apostles were supposed to stay awake and keep the Lord company, throughout the time when Jesus was praying, and yet they fell asleep because their eyelids were heavy, and the effects of the full meal they ate at the Last Supper bore down upon them. And the Lord woke them up a few times, as He went back to them to check on them, and said to them, “While the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
This is something that perhaps all of us should keep in mind, as we reflect on our own lives and actions today. Perhaps we should begin with very simple comparison with what we have just discussed about the Apostles. How many of us feel very drowsy and lethargic after eating a heavy meal, because all the blood in our system goes down to our digestive system, and our brains not getting enough blood.
And that made us very reluctant to do anything, as our bodies feel very tired and we just want to lay down and rest. Similarly, I am sure that there were many occasions when we were moved in our hearts and minds, wanting to reach out to those others around us when we see them being wronged, persecuted or unjustly treated. Yet, our flesh, our limbs and bodies deterred us from going forth to help, because of this inertia, this laziness, this unwillingness of the flesh, corrupted by sins and the temptations to sin.
This is why many Christians have not led a very Christian life. Instead, in fact, some have been very un-Christian in nature, because of the things that we failed to do, for the sake of our brethren, and also in what we have done. There were Christians who claimed that they were the followers of Christ, and yet have acted in a manner that showed just how selfish they were, caring for their own needs, and also committed acts that were contrary to the teachings of the Lord, and instead, indulging in all sorts of the pleasures of the flesh and the body.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, all of us must strengthen our relationship with God. And how do we do that? It is by drawing ourselves closer to God through fervent and genuine prayer life, and also through active participation in the faith. We have to realise that the devil is always active, prowling about trying to snatch us from God’s salvation. And therefore, the less involved we are in the Church and in living our faith, the more likely that he will be able to strike at us.
Let us all therefore help one another in our journey of faith, so that we may do our best to resist the temptations of Satan which he had made through sin, and through the temptations of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. Let us all resist these wicked abominations, and seek to purify ourselves from all that are unworthy, and which had separated us from the fullness of God’s love and grace.
May the Lord be with us always, and may He give us the courage to live faithfully day after day, doing our best to live according to His will, and following the message and the teachings of His Word in the Gospels and according to the teachings passed down through the Church. Amen.