Sunday, 23 June 2019 : Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we listened to the words of the Scriptures and we heard of God’s providence and salvation, which He has fulfilled perfectly and completely through Christ, His own beloved Son, by which He saved the whole world through the suffering and through the sacrifice which He had done on the Cross.

In our first reading today we heard the passage from the Book of the prophet Zechariah which recounted to us the prophecy made about the coming of the day of salvation for the people of God, who had long suffered from their sundering from the love and grace of God, the moment when God would restore to them the glory and the kingdom of David, but not through rejoicing and merrymaking, instead through sorrow and weeping and tears.

This was a prophecy that foretold the coming of the Crucifixion of the Messiah, which was also foretold by the other prophets of God. The Messiah of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, would suffer and be pierced for us on the Cross, bearing our sins and wickedness, bearing and enduring the pains and the burdens of our disobedience and waywardness. He showed His enduring and great love for each and every one of us.

And in our second reading, in the Epistle that St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, we heard of this salvation which God has freely and generously offered to everyone, not withstanding whether they were Greek or Jews, as salvation was previously thought of being exclusive only for the Jewish people, and neither is salvation reserved for the free people only, as slaves will also have a share, and everyone truly will be free, no longer under any bonds or slavery in the Lord’s day.

God has been so generous with His love, which He reiterated and revealed yet again Himself to His disciples, telling them directly about how He would suffer as the prophet Zechariah and the many other prophets of the Old Testament had made the prophecies about His suffering and death, at the hands of those who rejected Him. And yet, it was through this same suffering and the pain of the Cross that salvation came into our midst.

I want us then now to focus on what the Lord Jesus Himself had said in the end of our Gospel passage today, about being His followers and disciples which requires us to deny ourselves and to carry our crosses with Him. What does this actually mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? What is the significance of what the Lord had said to our own lives in this world?

It means that for us as Christians, meaning as those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, in what He has done for us and acknowledging that He is truly our Lord and Saviour, all of us must be ready to suffer and to endure whatever things that Our Lord Himself had to suffer Himself for our sake at that time. If He has been ridiculed, rejected, oppressed and made to endure all sorts of humiliations, then we too must be ready to suffer the same.

Being Christians is not something that can be easily done without sacrifices and challenges. The Apostles and the disciples of the Lord themselves have experienced all those sufferings and challenges, when they were persecuted for their faith and for their works among the people, their courageous witnessing for the Lord. They have been rejected, cast aside, tortured, imprisoned and had to endure martyrdom for the sake of their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now are all of us able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles? Are we able to endure sufferings, persecutions and rejections for the sake of the Lord? We are all called to carry our crosses in life, and these crosses are the daily struggles that we may have to face as those who profess to have faith in God and trying to remain faithful to Him.

Let us all heed the Lord’s call then for us to follow Him wholeheartedly, living our lives righteously and with commitment, regardless of the trials and challenges that we may face along the way. Let us not be disheartened by those troubles and difficulties, knowing that God is always with us along the way. When He asked us to carry our crosses, He did not ask us to carry our crosses on our own. Instead, He is carrying His Cross together with us.

May the Lord continue to guide us and may He bless us all always, giving us the strength that we will need to persevere through the trials and challenges we may encounter in our lives. May He be with us always, and may He lead us all through these difficult moments that we may always remain faithful to Him till the end of days. Amen.

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