Saturday, 7 July 2018 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s first reading from the Book of the prophet Amos, in continuation to what we have heard from the earlier days this week, while we heard about the punishment which God had warned for all those who have sinned against Him, because of the wickedness and the disobedience shown by the people of Israel, today, we heard of the love and mercy which God had for His people.

In this, we see how the Lord is truly filled with love for each and every one of us, despite the anger that He has shown at our sins and wickedness. Ultimately, each and every one of us are beloved by God, and it is our sins and wickedness which He has despised. And it is exactly these sins and wickedness that have become obstacles in our journey of faith towards the Lord.

Now, should we continue to let these obstacles to be burdens and obstacles to us, preventing us from finding our way to the Lord Who loves us? Certainly we should not have allowed this to happen right? And yet, many of us, even though we know that what we have done in our lives are sinful and wicked, and we have drifted away from God, but we continue to walk in this path, because we have not been able to resist the many temptations of life.

And this is where we should perhaps heed what the Lord Jesus had mentioned in today’s Gospel passage through a parable, by which He wanted to teach us the importance of internal conversion and transformation of our lives from one that was wicked and sinful, into one that is filled with faith, commitment and devotion to God. And the Lord Jesus used a parable to show this.

He taught the people using the parable of the new cloth and the old cloth, as well as the new and old wineskins and the new and old wine. What does these parables mean? What are their intentions? It was in fact, to show how incompatible our old ways of life are, as compared to the way which Our Lord has shown us. The old cloth and the old wineskins represent our past, filled with sin and wickedness, while the new cloth and the new wineskins represent the way that the Lord want us to walk in.

And as the Lord related how new wine will end up bursting and destroying the old wineskin if it is stored in the old wineskin, and vice versa, as well as when new cloth is patched to close up the tear in an old piece of cloth, this shows how our old, sinful way of life is incompatible to our current status, as Christians, as those whom God has taken away from this world, and called to be His disciples, and His children.

Yet, many of us Christians still live in disobedience against God’s will and His laws and commandments. We do not live a virtuous life and carry out a graceful and and devout attitude in life. This is what it means by us being new wineskins and new cloths, but inside us, we are still filled with old wine and patched with old pieces of cloth. And as the Lord showed what happened to the wineskins and the cloths, we will eventually end up in danger, should we continue to live in this kind of double standard life.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all from now on renew our commitment to live faithfully, truly as Christians in everything we say and do. We should no longer adopt this double standard of being Christians and yet, disobedient and sinful in our attitudes and actions in life. Rather, let us all turn our hearts, minds and all of our being to be devoted to God, from this moment onwards. May the Lord be with us in this journey of faith, and bless us all in our endeavours. Amen.

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