Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the words of the Scriptures speaking to us about the importance for us to remain focused on our path as we progress in this life with faith. The first reading taken from the Book of the prophet Sirach mentioned what we must do in our service towards God, in remaining humble and committed to the Lord’s will, and in enduring the difficulties and challenges that we may encounter on our way to Him.
In the Gospel passage today, we also heard the same message, as the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples yet again of the impending moment of His suffering and death. The disciples who heard Him speaking of such things for a few times were surprised and confused, even as they themselves continued to debate and argue among themselves, on who was the greatest among them all. In essence, the disciples did not yet fully understand what following the Lord truly means for them.
At that time, the people of God thought that the Messiah or the Saviour that would come into their midst, would be the One to liberate them all from their earthly oppressors, and that the Messiah would restore the Kingdom of Israel, and gathered back the whole separated nations and tribes of the Israelites. He would become their King, and the whole nation of Israel would be glorious and beloved by the Lord once again, as it was in the days of David and Solomon.
Therefore, many expected the Lord Jesus to become the liberator and Saviour for the whole nation of Israel, hoping that He would be the liberator that they have long awaited for, to free them from the power and the tyranny of their Roman overlords and masters. They resented the fact that they had to work for the sake of their overlords, paying heavy taxes and giving part of their hard-earned income to the Romans.
They expected the Lord Jesus to become their King, and they hoped that those who followed Him closely would gain the advantage and influence, power and glory with Christ, their Lord and King, much in the same way as how the worldly rulers were often surrounded by greedy and power-hungry courtiers and nobles, all seeking to gain more influence and power, wealth and fame for themselves. The disciples therefore acted in this manner as we heard in our Gospel passage today.
But little did they know that in reality, for us to be true disciples and followers of the Lord, it requires our commitment and readiness to surrender everything to God, and to humble ourselves even to the point of being ready to be humiliated, and to die to our ego and pride, for indeed, following the Lord and becoming His disciples do not provide us with any forms of earthly glory, fame and power, but rather, the promise of true and everlasting glory with God in the world that is to come.
When the disciples bickered for power and for influence, for position and fame, they failed to understand that the path that the Lord has called them to, would be filled with opposition and difficulties, with challenges and obstacles, that as the disciples proceeded in following Jesus and His path, they gradually came to understand and know. Many of them would suffer themselves for the Lord’s sake, suffer martyrdom and painful death, defending their faith in Christ their Lord and Saviour.
And the perfect example of obedience was shown by none other than Christ Himself, Who as the Son perfectly obeyed the will of His heavenly Father, fulfilling the long promised salvation which God has willed and promised His people. Christ showed His perfect obedience, taking up His cross and walking up the painful path of suffering to the hill of Calvary. And in dying on the cross, Christ redeemed all of us from the tyranny of sin, and bring us all to the new hope of eternal life He brought to us all.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to imitate the examples of Christ, His obedience to the will of His Father, His perfect humility in assuming the position of a slave, and to suffer in the way that totally and completely humiliated Himself, and yet, all of that He did for the sake of our salvation. And He Himself said that all those who follow Him must share in His cross, pick up their crosses and follow Him.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing and are we able to dedicate ourselves to the Lord, obeying His will and commandments, as the Apostles themselves had done? Are we able to love God wholeheartedly and dedicate ourselves thoroughly to Him just as Jesus, our Lord has loved His heavenly Father so perfectly? Let us all reflect on this today, and think deep in our hearts and minds, what are the things that we can do in order to grow ever more faithful to God.
May the Lord continue to bless us all and may He continue to love us, just as we ourselves also grow more in our love and devotion to Him. May God bless all of our endeavours and good works, now and always. Amen.