Friday, 1 December 2017 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we approach the coming of the end of this liturgical year, we heard first of all the vision of Daniel the prophet in Babylon, who saw the vision of the future ages to come, at the time of the end, when the devil and all the enemies of the Lord and His people would rise up one last time to destroy the faithful and the people of God, at the end of time. This is the same vision which St. John the Evangelist also witnessed at the island of Patmos in Greece, which he wrote for us in the Book of the Revelations.

The four great and wicked beasts which Daniel saw in the vision were similar to what St. John also saw in his Book of Revelation vision, representing Satan, the chief enemy of all the faithful, the great devil, as well as his allies, his forces and all those whom he had assembled in order to wage war against the faithful and the Church. These are the premonitions of what is to come for all the faithful, and indeed, the devil is never stop at work, trying to undermine the good works of God among His people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout the history of the Church, we have seen there were so many difficulties and challenges that the faithful had to face and encounter, from the time of the earliest days of the Church, when the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord were hunted down and arrested because of their faith, when many went to their martyrdom in the arena, thrown into the beasts and beheaded, as well as many other sufferings that they had to endure for the sake of the Lord.

Yet, those faithful servants of God did not give up and remained strong in their faith despite the opposition against them and the challenges they had to face. They persevered through the difficult times even though some did fall to temptation and chose to abandon their faith in exchange for safety and reconciliation with the worldly ways of the devil.

How does this then relate to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? We live at a time when the Church and many of its teachings have been ignored and abandoned not just by those outside the Church, but even those who are within the Church. There are many lukewarm Christians who no longer truly believe in their faith, and they do not even practice their faith regularly in their own lives.

There are many of those who would rather conform with the world and its ways rather than to walk faithfully in the Lord’s way. It is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to be Christians these days, because more and more people judge all those who still adhere to the Lord and His ways, and label all of us just because we believe in Him. There are sadly many of us who have fallen to the same temptations and allures which the devil is using to trap us and bring us to our downfall.

If we think that the Church today is no longer persecuted, then we should look at the various parts of the world, where being Christians equal being mocked, being persecuted, being ostracised, being laughed at, being rejected by the community, and where even the faithful have to practice their faith in secret, as being Christians may equal death sentence and suffering for them.

Therefore, today, as we reflect on all these, let us all think about what we can do to help all those who are suffering, by praying for them and asking the Lord to show His mercy to our brethren. And at the same time, we should also live our lives faithfully and resist the temptations to sin and abandon our faith in God. That is because as we see from the passages today, the Lord will ultimately triumph, and Satan as well as his beasts and allies will be defeated in the end.

Should we abandon our faith in God in exchange for a brief respite and temporary joy in this world, indeed our lives in this world will be pleasant and good, but if we are then numbered together with the devil and his allies, and judged to be thrown into the eternal suffering and fire, is that what we want with ourselves?

Therefore, let us be examples and role models in faith to one another, encouraging everyone to be faithful to God at all times. Let us all seek to be ever more devoted through our actions, loving God above all other things and showing the same love for our brethren as well. May the Lord be with us always and bless us forevermore. Amen.

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