Saturday, 23 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture, beginning with the Second Book of Chronicles, detailing what happened during the reign of king Joash of Judah, the son of king Ahaziah of Judah and his queen Athaliah. In yesterday’s reading, we heard how Athaliah seized power after her husband Ahaziah died, and she tried to eradicate the entirety of the house of David, to secure the rulership and the kingdom for herself.

But by the grace of God, one of the scions of David survived, namely Joash, saved by his own nurse, who helped to hide him away in the Temple of God under the tutelage and protection of the High Priest Jehoiada. High Priest Jehoiada was an upright man, and was a devout person, who committed himself to God, unlike the kings and rulers, and many of the people of Judah.

Jehoiada himself had a son, Zechariah, who was mentioned in today’s first reading as well. When Joash was young, it was likely that he and Zechariah would have grown up together, and were probably good friends to each other. Then, when Joash was of age, and ready to take up the rightful kingship belonging to him, Jehoiada arranged with the military leaders and the people to overthrow the usurper, Athaliah.

That was how Joash rose to power as king, and it was told that as long as the High Priest Jehoiada was alive, the king and the people followed the Lord and turned towards Him with faith, repenting from the sins of their ancestors and predecessors. However, the moment the High Priest Jehoiada passed away, the king began to turn the people back to their old, sinful ways.

That was the background of how the situation came to the condition described in the first reading passage today. The king and his people had turned to pagan idols and worshipped those idols which the High Priest Jehoiada and the righteous faithful had thrown away and put aside, and the people began to sin once again to God through their disobedience of His laws and commandments.

Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada protested against the king, to remind him of the sins he had committed, and chastised Joash for turning away from the righteous path that his father Jehoiada had guided him into. But the king would not listen to reason, and instead, he continued doing what was wicked in God’s sight, and even, in the end, killed Zechariah who kept on criticising him.

And we heard how king Joash met his end at the hands of the Arameans, as God handed him over to his enemies, for his sins and lack of repentance. That was the fate that awaited all those who have not been faithful to God and His ways, and instead succumb to the temptations of the world, as the Lord Jesus mentioned in today’s Gospel Reading passage.

In that Gospel passage, the Lord chastised all those who worry about material goods, about food and about all things of the world which they desire and want in life. They worry and think a lot about all these things every day and every moment, and they forget that all of them are merely transient and temporary. God will surely, in His own way, and through those who are around us, provide for all that we need.

But we mankind are often easily tempted, tempted by the many temptations of worldly pleasures, of power, of wealth, of fame, of influence, of worldly glory and all other things that prevent us from being truly faithful to the Lord. We fall into those temptations just as king Joash also fell into his temptations. When the High Priest Jehoiada was still alive, there was a strong authority that kept the king’s mind and actions in check, but the moment he was gone, the king became uncontrollable and fell into sin.

Especially those who were entrusted with power, authority, wealth and influence are most vulnerable to the temptations that always come our way. But that does not necessarily mean that all those with power, authority, wealth and influence are wicked and evil. Rather, it means that the greater the blessings we receive, the greater indeed is the responsibility that we have in order to keep faithfully in us, the faith we have in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend some time to think about our own lives. Have we been faithful to the Lord all these days? Or have we instead been so preoccupied with our own busy dealings and all the tempting things, that we worry about all those things, and forget that our primary objective in life is to serve God and to do our best through our actions to glorify Him?

Let us all turn towards the Lord wholeheartedly from now on, and devote ourselves, our time, effort and attention to serve Him and to love all of His people, by being true Christians, truly faithful in all of our actions, words and deeds. May the Lord bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

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