Tuesday, 11 September 2018 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Lord reminds each and every one of us as Christians, that we ought to be living a true and charitable Christian lifestyle in our respective lives as members of His Church. We cannot profess to have faith in Him and yet act in ways that are scandalous as how we mankind have often done in our lives.

In the first reading today, taken from the Epistle that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we heard of the division among the members of the Church and the faithful, where they bickered among themselves, and were judgemental towards each other. They complained against each other and even went behind each others’ back to the civil and pagan courts instead of settling the matter amicably in the Church.

St. Paul took issue with the fact that the people of God bickering with one another and instead of trusting in the Church, they went instead to the civil court, with the intention to punish the party in the wrong, or to blackmail, or to pressurise the other party to give in to their demands. They could have settled the matter amicably by consulting with one another in the spirit of Christian charity and understanding.

He was saying this with the intention to let the people know that, if they have embraced the Christian faith, then they should not behave in the manner of the pagans and those who have not yet believed in God. While it might be normal for those in the secular society at the time to do what they have done towards each other, but as Christians, they were called to a much higher calling and standards than that of the world’s.

All of us are called to be true followers of Christ, in our actions and deeds, and in all of our dealings with one another. We should not practice double standard in any case, that we appear outwardly pious and faithful, and yet, behind the scene, we plot against each other and cause suffering and pain to those whom we are not pleased with. This rivalries and unbecoming attitudes unfortunately are quite common even within the Church.

It is indeed a sad reality for us Christians, in how many of us treat one another, even as part of our Church ministries. There had been many instances when Church politicking and power-jockeying led to us, fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord turning against one another and causing much pain, sorrow and suffering through our irresponsible and unbecoming actions as Christians.

How many of us often like to gossip about our fellow parishioners, or even against the priests and the religious themselves? While indeed, for us to be tempted to gossip and to badmouth or be jealous of one another is part of our human nature, but as Christians, we are expected to be better than all of these. We must resist these temptations that will definitely always come to tempt us and to pull us away from God’s saving grace.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, in the Gospel passage we heard the Lord Jesus calling and choosing His Apostles from among those who followed Him. These were ordinary people, from ordinary origins, called and chosen by God. And even though initially they also struggled in faith, and one of them even betrayed the Lord but eventually, except for the betrayer, Judas Iscariot, all the Apostles grew stronger in their faith, and dedicated the rest of their lives to the service of God.

Now, all of us as Christians are called to follow the examples of the Apostles and all the other dedicated holy servants of God, who have shown us by their own life examples, on how we should live our lives in accordance with God’s will. Are we then willing enough and committed enough to take up our crosses just as the Apostles had done, and follow the Lord with all of our hearts?

There will indeed be many challenges in our path, should we decide to commit ourselves, but this is the cause which St. Paul had advocated for us all, the noble path of true Christian discipleship, where we stand above the temptations and ways of this world, and strive to do our best to be faithful in all of our actions, words, deeds and interaction with each other, that in all things, we will always show true Christian love.

May the Lord continue to watch over us and guide us, that we may grow ever more like Him in love, both towards Him and towards our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men. Let us all love each other and learn to forgive one another our mistakes and faults. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

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