Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Scriptures in which we are reminded of the frailty and the weakness of our flesh and our human existence because of sin, the cause of our downfall and our troubles. Through sin as St. Paul mentioned in our first reading today within his Epistle to the Romans, we have been made unclean and unworthy before God, and because of this we have been sundered from God’s loving grace.
As a result, we had to suffer the consequence of sin, which is death, and death leads into separation from God. Unless we get rid of these sins from ourselves, we will face eternal separation from God which is hell for us. Hell is the state of rejection of God’s love and grace in which there can be no recourse or way out, because even though God had generously offered His loving and tender mercy, but we consciously rejected Him and His mercy.
But what St. Paul also mentioned in the same reading passage today, is that no matter how terrible and powerful sin may seem to be, and how difficult it may seem to be for us to overcome sin, but God’s grace is even all the more powerful and bountiful. We must not lose hope or despair just because we think that our sins are too great to be forgiven, for this is exactly what the devil wants, that we feel so unworthy that we reject God even involuntarily.
God has made available for us His salvation and loving grace through none other than Jesus Christ, His begotten Son, Who entered into this world as the New Adam in contrary to the old Adam in a figurative way. While the old Adam sinned by disobeying God and by listening to the temptations of evil and his own desires instead of listening to God, Christ as the New Adam became the archetype and progenitor of a new existence of humankind in faith.
By His commitment and dedication to the mission that His Father has entrusted to Him, and by the total obedience to the will of God His Father, the Lord Jesus showed us all what it means to be a true disciple and follower of God, being faithful and obedient in all things. It is through obedience and adherence to the will of God that we show our love for God and our faith in Him, as opposed to the sins which we have committed against Him.
But we must also realise that such a path would not be easy because there will be plenty of challenges, opposition and difficulty in our journey. Yet, if we choose to delay and wait, it will not turn out good for us, because the longer we delay and wait, thinking that we still have the time, the even more difficult it will be for us to turn away from sin, because sin is powerful and addictive, and it will make us to want to sin and disobey even more.
In our Gospel passage today, the Lord warned His disciples to be ever prepared, for no one but He alone knows when the exact moment of reckoning for all of us will be. None of us know when exactly our earthly existence will end and when we will be called back to the Lord to give an account of our respective lives, on all the actions we have taken in our lives and even what we have failed to do in those same lives.
God has called us all to be faithful to Him, to do what He has taught us to do, to follow His will and to be righteous, good and just in everything that we say, act and do. And today, all of us can be inspired by the examples shown by one of His holy ones, and in particular because many of us are familiar with this figure, who is none other than one of our recent Popes, Pope St. John Paul II, who was the Bishop of Rome and Leader of the Church for over twenty-seven years.
Pope St. John Paul II, born Karol Jozef Wojtyla in Krakow, Poland was a holy man in piety and action, having also suffered greatly in his early years, losing all of his closest family members by the time he reached his twenties due to sickness and other occurrences, and also suffering directly the terrible effects of the Second World War when he had to face the bitterness of the world and the terrible realities of war and human greed.
And through the many years of the Communism in Poland that followed, Pope St. John Paul II had a difficult ministry as a young priest at first, and then as the Auxiliary Bishop and then Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow. He had to deal with the difficult opposition and even persecution of the faithful and the Church from the government authorities. Yet, the then Archbishop Wojtyla remained committed to serving the people of God, his flock, devoting his time, effort and attention on them.
As Pope, during the long twenty-seven years of reign and pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II contributed greatly to the Church and the faith, in the field of evangelisation and in maintaining the orthodoxy and relevance of the Catholic faith in the midst of the ever changing world. He was also instrumental in bringing down the Communist regimes throughout Central and Eastern Europe and was also known for his peacemaking efforts.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we know and are well aware of, Pope St. John Paul II is truly a great role model for all of us on how we should live our lives faithfully in God from now on. Let us follow his good examples and therefore becoming good and faithful disciples of Christ from now on. May God continue to bless us and guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.