Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday as we approach the ending of our current liturgical year, we heard from the Scriptures a series of passages talking about the coming of the end times. And one of the key messages today, is about wisdom, that is on whether we understand what it means for us as Christians, about the coming of the Lord our God and Saviour.

For as the Lord Himself had said and promised, He Who once had come into the world, will come again one more time into this world, at the end of time. This time, He will come in glory, unlike that of His first coming, when He was born humbly in a stable. He will come to gather together all of His faithful ones, and by reconciling them perfectly to Him, He will bring them to eternal joy and glory promised to them.

On the other hand, all those whom the Lord does not find worthy of Him, He shall also gather them together, for them to be rejected, judged for their sins, and then thrown into the torment of the eternal suffering in hell, in the lake of fire with Satan and his fellow fallen angels and demons. This is what will happen at the Last Judgement, the time when the righteous will receive glory from God, and the wicked will be humiliated and crushed in hell.

Jesus has forewarned about this a few times throughout His ministry to His disciples, which were then recorded in the Holy Gospels. He told them that the Last Judgment will be when the sheep, or the faithful people of God, will be separated from among the goats, those who have not believed in God. And in that occasion, the ones whom God had chosen, asked the Lord of why they have been chosen, and the same question was asked by those who were rejected, on why they were rejected by God.

And God answered them, saying that those who have been chosen, are righteous because they have listened to God and done His will, by showing love, compassion and concern for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the imprisoned, all those who have been considered as the lowest, least and last among mankind. Yet, these are the ones whom the Lord said as the ones through whom the righteous had become worthy of the Lord, by the love which they showed to these brethren of theirs.

And vice versa, for those who have been rejected by God, God rejects them because they have voluntarily chosen not to love, or show care and concern for the sake of their brethren in need. As a result, just as those people had not shown love for their neighbours and fellow men, therefore, they have neglected their responsibility and obligation, and for they are without love, God will reject them and cast them into hell as their just punishment.

There are a few lessons which all of us ought to take heed of and internalise today, as we continue to reflect on the passages from the Sacred Scriptures. First of all, it is important that all of us should know what we are expected to do as Christians in our respective lives. All of us are called to love our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, just as much as we love ourselves, and also love the Lord our God in a similar way. These two are the most important part of the Law, and they are its true meaning, for God’s law is about love.

Yet, to love others as much as we love ourselves is easier said than done. Similarly, it is not easy to love God wholeheartedly, as we tend to love ourselves more, and concerned more about ourselves, in what is called selfishness. That is part of our human nature, and sometimes our upbringing in our society, and definitely in how our world today operates. According to the wisdom of the world, we ought to take care of ourselves first and satisfy our needs first before that of others.

But, if we realise, even loving ourselves is not something that we mankind have been good at doing. Let us look at how we live in the world today! There are many people out there who are ruining their own lives on drugs, on excessive alcohol consumption, on smoking and the abuse of many other things that leads to the ruin of one’s own body, if not mind, and also corrupt the whole being. Many lives have been ruined because of this.

And many of us surely know how difficult it is for us to satisfy our wants and desires in life. When we have received something, we will end up desiring more and more. We cannot be satisfied with what we have in this world, as we will be tempted to have more and more of our desires. That is why we also end up causing much sorrow in this world, amongst our brethren. There had been many instances when there were oppression, injustice and selfishness in this world, the suffering of many because certain individuals or groups seek to gain more profit and/or power for themselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the second lesson that we need to take note of today, is what the Lord Jesus had told His people through the parable of the five wise women and five foolish women. The five wise women carried enough oil for their lamps as they were waiting for the coming of the bridegroom who was delayed in his coming. They brought extra oil so that their lamps would not run out of the oil.

As the maids of honour attending to the groom and the bride, it would be very humiliating and inappropriate for them not to have oil for their lamp, and their lamp therefore darkened. That was why the five foolish women panicked when the bridegroom was about to come, and their oil was running out. This parable is a kind reminder to all of us that firstly, we cannot expect to know when the Lord will come, He Who is the Bridegroom of the Church.

God will come at the time of His choosing, according to His will. And no one on earth will know when the precise time, be it year, or month, or day, or even minute and second that this will be happening. As a result, many of us will be caught unaware and unprepared for the coming of the Lord. Thus, the second lesson that I want each one of us to take note is, we must always be ever prepared for the Lord’s coming, whenever it may be, and therefore, we cannot bear to wait any longer.

Yet, many of us like to delay and to take our own sweet time. We think that we have all the time in the world, and there is always time for us to repent or to be righteous. But, we will know of our folly on the day when our time is up, and we are caught unaware and unprepared, like the five foolish women who did not prepare well in advance of what is to come, that is the time of our final judgment and the coming of Our Lord.

Therefore, relating to what I have mentioned as the first lesson today, all of us as Christians are called to do what the Lord had commanded us to do, that is to love, and firstly, we must love ourselves, not by excluding the love which we must give to God and to our fellow brethren, but rather, if we can appreciate the gift of love and the blessings which God had given to us, we will be better able to give our love to God and to our brethren.

Thus, the third and last lesson is for us to go forth! Go and do what we must do as Christians in our world today, being active believers and no longer be passive or ignorant of our responsibilities. Let us stretch out our hands and help those who are in need, beginning with those who are around us, and those who we encounter in our daily interactions. Let us show them the love of God through our actions.

If we do all these, even though there will surely be those who oppose us, who ridicule us, let us remember that those depend on the wisdom of worldly and human power, that is foolishness in the sight of God. Let us instead continue to persevere on, that as Christians, we will always be wholeheartedly devoted to love God in everything we do, and share the same love with our brethren as well.

Let us all draw closer to God, our loving Father, and let us continue to strive at all times, to serve the Lord by serving His people, by loving generously without bias or prejudice, and seek to be righteous and just in all of our dealings and actions in life. May the Lord bless us always, and may He continue to guide us in our actions in life, that through His divine wisdom we will find our way to His eternal glory. Amen.

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