Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about God and His revelation, that His ways are not like that of the ways of the world. What is acceptable to the world may not be acceptable to God, and vice versa. In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, God mentioned how had the people obeyed Him and listened to Him, they would have prospered and had joy with them.
This was in context of the history of the time, because at the time of the prophet Isaiah, the kingdom of Israel has been divided into two parts, the northern kingdom also known as Israel, as well as the southern kingdom of Judah. And both kingdoms warred against each other many times, and more importantly, they were beset by many enemies surrounding them.
Many people suffered from the repeated invasions and raids, and in just a few years after, the northern kingdom would be conquered by the Assyrians, and its people carried off into exile. This sets up therefore, the context in which the Lord’s words truly rang true, because most of the kings of the northern kingdom and many of the kings of the southern kingdom have disobeyed the Lord and led the people into sin.
That was why the Lord was not pleased with them, because they constantly disobeyed Him and chose to walk down their own paths. They would not listen to His prophets and messengers, and preferred to remain in sin and rebellion against Him. They trusted more in the powers of the world and in worldly matters rather than to put their trust and faith in God.
That is why they also hardened their hearts against the Lord when He came to them, and sent His herald, St. John the Baptist, to prepare them to receive His truth and message. That is because they were not thinking in the same way as the Lord does, and they thought in the way that the world thought. To them, the Lord’s message is weird and unacceptable, as they were unwilling to let go of their worldly ways and affairs, and as a result, they rejected the truth of God, and even persecuted Him and His disciples.
For all of us Christians living today in this world, all of these historical examples and precedents from the time of the prophet Isaiah and from the time of Our Lord Jesus Himself, should be clear reminders for each one of us, that as Christians, we should seek to be faithful to the Lord and follow His ways, even when the conventions and wisdom of the world say otherwise. And there may even be moments when we may be ridiculed and rejected by the world, and even by those known to us when we are faithful to God and do His will.
But we should not be afraid, or be hesitant to be faithful because of all these. If we see the Scripture passages today, we will realise just how much ridicule, rejection and difficulties that the prophets had to encounter, because the people refused to listen to them or to believe in their message. And not least, Our Lord Jesus Himself experienced ridicule, rejection and persecution because of His works among His own people.
This should inspire us to persevere more fervently in living our faith more faithfully in each and every days of our lives. We should spend more time and effort trying to listen to the Lord, and to align ourselves ever more closely to Him. Let us do our best from now on, that we may be able to draw closer to God, and drawing our strength from Him, may we all remain true to our faith despite the challenges and difficulties we may face in this world. May God be with us always, now and forever. Amen.