Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scripture reminding us to be aware of what being a Christian is for each and every one of us. That is because to be a true Christian is not just sufficient, for us to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and going through catechism, attending the regular Sunday Masses as obliged to us by the Church.
What is needed for us is to truly embody our faith in all of our actions. We must believe in the way that even when challenges and difficulties come our way, we will not easily give up our faith, but will persevere on despite the difficulties and challenges. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Philippi mentioned this in the light of the situation at the time, when Christians lived in a relatively hostile environment.
At that time, Christians were looked upon with suspicion by the community, both by the Greeks and the Romans who might find their belief in one God to be anything from a curiosity to something that was an affront and sacrilege towards the official Greco-Roman pantheon of gods and also in opposition to the official worship of the Roman Emperors, and then also from the Jewish diaspora that existed in many cities throughout the Mediterranean.
Some of the Jews followed the teachings and the actions of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, and also the Sadducees, who were all mostly opposed the teachings of Christ and the works of His Apostles. The Jews in some other places had rioted when St. Paul came into their midst and evangelise among both the Jews and the Gentiles alike. They disagreed with the teachings of the Apostles and how they reached out to the Gentiles.
That was why the Lord Jesus Himself had revealed in our Gospel passage today, when He said to His disciples and followers, that no one could really be His true followers and disciples, unless they were willing to carry their cross with Him, and follow Him in His journey. What He really meant was that, to be a Christian, we must be ready to face opposition and suffering just as He Himself has suffered.
However, there are many of us who did not realise this truth, and we live our faith looking for satisfaction and happiness through our faith. There are many of us coming to believe in God just because we seek something to make us happy and joyful, or to feel spiritually high and fulfilled. But this false expectation and understanding of our faith is not what we ought to have, brothers and sisters in Christ.
On this day, we are called to reflect on this reality of our faith and what the Lord is calling us to. We cannot remain complacent and idle in living our faith. We are called to be active and living Christians, to be exemplary in how we live our lives in accordance with the faith that we believe in. And at times, we must realise that not everyone will agree with us, or will accept our faith easily.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, there will be times when life will be difficult for us, and when everything will seem to be up against us. But we must not give up hope and faith, for we must realise that the Lord is carrying His cross with us, just as we are carrying our own respective crosses in life. We will always have the Lord on our side, even when everything else in this world fail us. This is what we must hold firm, our faith in the loving God, our Father Who will always love us till the very end.
And if we remain faithful, the Lord will bless us and reward us with nothing less than eternity of glory and life with Him. Let us all turn our hearts and minds towards Him and devote ourselves anew with a new love and commitment to God. May the Lord always be with us and may He give us the courage to continue living faithfully in our daily lives despite the challenges and difficulties we may face. May God bless us all. Amen.