Saturday, 2 December 2017 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today marks the last day of our current liturgical year, and as tomorrow’s Sunday marks the beginning of the season of Advent, through the Old Testament readings this week from the Book of Daniel, we heard the reminders for all of us to be ever vigilant, as the Lord is coming again, just as He has promised us, and we will not know the exact time of His coming.

And as Daniel saw in his vision, there will be trouble awaiting many of those who are faithful to God, because the four beasts seen in that vision represent the kingdoms of the world, those historical powers and rulers that persecuted and oppressed the Church and the faithful people of God. These are the domains of Satan, our great enemy and adversary, through which he was planning to bring about our downfall.

If we read on in the Book of Revelations written by St. John the Evangelist about the visions which he received at the island of Patmos, he also received the same vision about the coming of persecution and difficult times for the faithful ones, as those who adhere to Satan’s ways have rallied up against them, and they rejoiced even as the faithful suffer in agony, refusing to give up their faith in God.

Those people are going to do exactly what the Lord Jesus mentioned in the Gospel passage today, living their lives hedonistically, enjoying all the pleasures that the world can give, and doing all that are wicked in the eyes of the Lord. But they do not realise that the retribution of the Lord will come at a time they least expect of all. Many will be caught unprepared and unworthy, and their lot will be to share the fate of the evil one.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Lord is a loving God, Who wants each and every one of us to be with Him, to be reconciled from our disobedience to Him, and therefore to be reunited with us in love. However, at the same time, He also gives us the free will to choose between obedience and disobedience, whether we want to be with God and walk in His ways, or whether we want to choose Satan’s side instead.

There will be great pressures and temptations for us to fall into those temptations the Lord mentioned, the temptations of pleasure and worldliness, which will lure us into the trap of sin. Are we able to resist the devil then in this manner? Are we able to stand up for our faith despite all the challenges and difficulties that we may encounter along the way?

Let us all see the examples of our holy predecessors, those who have been declared as saints and martyrs by the Church. They have done their best to resist and to remain truly devoted to God, and they led holy lives filled with piety, love and compassion for one another. They loved God first and foremost, and show the same love to each other, just as God has commanded them.

In our world today, it is not easy to remain faithful as a Christian. There will be obstacles, challenges, difficulties in our path. And there may even be opposition from those who are close to us, dear to us, and this will be our crosses for us to bear in this life. Are we willing to pick up those crosses and walk together with God, by remaining faithful despite the challenges we may encounter day after day?

Let us devote ourselves, our time and effort to serve the Lord, by our actions, through which we show our love for Him, and also loving one another just as He has commanded us. Let us do our very best to be prepared for the time of His coming, so that we will not be caught unprepared and by surprise. Instead, let us strive to be worthy of Him, that we may partake in the glorious inheritance that He has prepared for all of His faithful ones. May the Lord bless us always and be with us, till the end of time and beyond. Amen.

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