Sunday, 29 October 2017 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, the holy day of the Lord, all of us through the Scripture readings and passages we received have been reminded of the importance of obeying and adhering to the Law of God, as what all of us as Christians must do in our lives. And the Lord Jesus summed up the entirety of the Law of God into two very important commandments, that is the essence of the entire Law.

Why did the Lord Jesus do this? Why did He explain to the people at His time on this matter? That is because the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Him about the question, “Which is the most important commandment in the Law?” And the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were well known for their strict adherence and interpretation of the Law, focusing on even minute details in the laws according to Moses.

And they wanted to test Him and to challenge Him, by making Him to be on the spot, when they asked that question. Should He try to give an answer by pointing out any particular laws and rules within the customs, laws and traditions upheld by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law at that time, then they would strike at Him using their in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations, bringing even more questions and troubles for the Lord.

However, the Lord Jesus knew their thoughts and intentions. Those people had been so focused on the applications of the Law with regards to worldly concerns and other corruptions of the Law as it evolved throughout history, that they have forgotten the true intentions of the Law. And Jesus pointed out those intentions and purposes of God’s Law to them, in a way that they could not deny, because by denying, they would admit that they have not done what the Lord had commanded them to do.

Jesus made it very clear that the Law of God has in its primary intention, for the people of God to learn how to love, and indeed practice that love, which they have to give first and foremost to God their Lord and Master. The first three commandments of the Ten Commandments in fact is about this love which we must have for God, that we worship Him alone above any other things, above any other worldly matters and idols.

The other seven commandments of the Law, exhorting us to love our parents, not to kill, not to steal and all of that refer to the love that we must have for our fellow brethren, our fellow men and women. But do we know what it truly means for us to love our fellow brothers and sisters? It is by listening and remembering what we have heard in today’s first reading taken from the Book of Exodus, when the Lord exhorted the people through Moses to be loving and to be generous in compassion to one another.

Yet, the people had forgotten all these by the time of Jesus, when the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law oppressed the poor and the lowly, those whom they deemed to be inferior to them, and they levied great obligations and rules for them to follow. They cared only for their own desires and plans, and despised even those whom they should have cared for, as the leaders and guides of the people of Israel.

In our own lives, let us spend some time to think about how we have acted in these lives we have lived thus far. Have we been so focused on our own concerns and desires, like those of the Pharisees, that we have failed to give our love to those to whom we are commanded to love? First of all, the Lord our God, and then to our fellow men and women, those who are around us, strangers and acquaintances alike.

But in our own lives, as we can witness it ourselves among our relatives, friends, peers, colleagues and all those whom we interact with day by day, there is not much love among the peoples, but instead anger, disputes, jealousy, wrath, and all sorts of negative and wicked behaviours, that befits more that of those who follow Satan rather than those who follow the path of the Lord.

How many of us put so much great importance in our careers and in finding more money and worldly possessions, that we end up spending so much time trying to advance ourselves in our career, gathering more fame for ourselves, filling and satisfying ourselves with all sorts of worldly pleasures and more? In the end, what does all these earn us, brothers and sisters in Christ? All these things do not avail us when the end comes for us, when we have to give an account of our lives before God.

We may think that we do not worship the idols of false and pagan gods as the people in the past did, and that we are Christians because we believe in God. Yet, through our actions, in prioritising all the worldly pursuits ahead of God and others, we have made those to be our modern day idols, all the things that became great distractions and obstacles on our path to God’s salvation and grace.

And similarly, let us ask ourselves, how many of us have caused grievances and suffering for others, because of our selfish actions, and due to our desires to gain good things for ourselves, indulging in the ‘idols’ of our worldly lives? We cannot be true disciples of the Lord, as long as we put God and His people, our brothers and sisters in Christ aside, and not prioritising God as the centre and focus of our very lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today embark on a new course and path of life, no longer being corrupted by our greed and worldly desires, by all the corruptions of our sins and all the temptations of life. Let us all devote ourselves wholeheartedly to God from now on, giving our very best to help those who are around us to do the same. Let us fill our hearts with the desire to love God, not just with words alone, but through our real and genuine actions as well.

Let us all fulfil our calling as Christians, to love our brethren unconditionally just as the Lord has loved each and every one of us, sinners and delinquents, and yet He was willing to forgive us from our sins. Let us reach out to those who are less fortunate than us, that if we see anyone who is struggling to make ends meet in life, then we should care for them and do whatever we can to aid them.

Let us also reach out to those who have been ostracised by others and are unloved, that they do not slide further into a world devoid of love. Let us bring them to experience the love of God through our own hands, and through the love which we now share with them. May God continue to guide us to Him, and make us ever more faithful servants of His with each passing day. May God bless us always, and guide us in all of our endeavours. Amen.

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