Tuesday, 29 January 2019 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the essence of today’s Scripture passages is very clear, that is a reminder for each one of us of what we need to do as Christians in our own lives, to be committed and dedicated to God in all things, to listen to Him and to know His will, and then to do His will each and every single moment of our existence in this world. We are reminded of this important obligation, so that we may grow ever deeper in faith in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our first reading today taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews mentioned the reality of what the practices and customs of the Jewish people had become, in the observation of the Law of God as revealed through Moses and the prophets. The people and especially their priests, all those who preserved the traditions and the laws followed what their ancestors had practiced, in offering animal sacrifices, of fats and blood, on the altar of the Temple of God.

But all of that are just temporary measures, as no blood or fats of animals will be able to wipe out all the sins and disobedience of men, in all of its vast multitudes and variety, throughout all time. Nothing in this world is worthy enough to do so, and that is why the priests had to continuously offer the sacrifices daily from time to time, for the sake of all those who have fallen into sin again and again. And the priests themselves also need to offer those sacrifices for themselves, as they were sinners too.

Yet, God revealed that this would not last forever, as He would send the One through Whom all of us would be brought to our eternal joy and redeemed from the snares of sin. The Divine Word Incarnate, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, also the Lamb of God and Eternal High Priest of all creation, has come into this world, to take up the role as our High Priest, as the One Who offered the sacrificial offering, and not many times, but once and for all, for the forgiveness of mankind’s sins, past, present and future till the end of time.

By linking what the Lord Jesus would do with the actions of the priests in accordance with the old laws of Moses, the Lord highlighted the redemptive nature of His mission, that is to bring all of mankind back to His loving embrace, to forgive them from their sins, that they may not perish because of those sins, but instead, become worthy to be present in His kingdom, and to receive the fullness of the graces and blessings that He has promised to them.

But Christ did all of these through painful suffering, by bearing the heavy cross that is burdened not so by the physical weight of the wood, but by the vast mountain of our sins, accumulated from every single human beings that has ever lived, living and will live, to the end of time. All the wounds that were inflicted on Him, were actually our sins and our disobedience, which Christ, as our High Priest, bore upon Himself, even as He offered the most worthy and precious offering of all, the slain Lamb of God on the altar, His Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood.

God has loved us so much, that He was willing to go through and endure all the sufferings, no matter how painful it was, in order to save us from the destructions due because of our sins. And most importantly, He showed us all the perfect obedience, the Lord Jesus obeying the will of His heavenly Father. At the Gardens of Gethsemane, Jesus agonised over this great burden He was to bear, all the painful wounds and sufferings He had to go through, but He submitted so completely that His prayers were heard and sacrifices were accepted, and our salvation came forth.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to look once again deep into our own lives, asking ourselves if we have loved the Lord our God just as He has loved us so much and so dearly that He was willing to endure so much pain and suffering for our sake. Have we spent the time to be with Him and to listen to Him speaking in the depth of our hearts and minds? If we have not done all these, then I am afraid that our faith is no better than those Pharisees and teachers of the Law whom the Lord criticised for their hypocrisy and superficial faith, as they demanded very strict obedience to the Law and yet failed to understand it and had no place for God in their hearts and minds.

We are called today to turn once again towards the Lord in faith, committing ourselves anew and renewing the zeal that each and every one of us should have, in loving God and in walking in the path that He has shown to all of us. Are we ready to commit ourselves to the Lord in this manner? Or are we too distracted by the many temptations in life to be able to take note of the Lord’s presence and love in our midst?

Let us all be strengthened in faith and grow deep in our love for the Lord, from this day onwards. May God be with us always, and may His presence continue to inspire us each and every days of our life to love and serve Him with zeal, at all times. Amen.

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