Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us through the Sacred Scriptures, in which we began with the accounts from the Book of Kings on the completion and the Dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem built by king Solomon for God. In that account, we heard how the king and the whole people rejoiced as the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Temple of God, and placed at its centre, the Holy of Holies where God Himself would dwell.
The Ark of the Covenant has been the centre of the whole community of Israel since the time of the Exodus from Egypt, as its name was linked to its role as the container of the actual Covenant which God has made with His people and written on the two slabs of stone, which together with the manna gathered from the time when God had fed His people and the staff of Aaron with which God had performed many wonders and miracles before the people of Israel, symbolise the very presence of God among His people.
And that moment when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Temple signified the moment when the Covenant of God was renewed, which king Solomon celebrated with the large offering of sacrifices to God as described in the account of the Book of Kings, numbering in the tens and thousands and more. The whole people of Israel rejoiced because God has willingly dwelled among His people and blessed the Temple that King Solomon has built in Jerusalem.
What we have heard in our first reading on the dedication of the Temple and the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant is a prefigurement of what would then come at the moment when God renewed His Covenant with His people, one final time, and this time with a new Covenant that He would seal with His people with a new sacrifice, and this one is the sacrifice which Our Lord Jesus would make on the Altar of His Cross at Calvary. For Christ is indeed the Mediator and Bearer of God’s New Covenant.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the works of the Lord Jesus and His disciples who were then at Galilee, ministering to the people and caring for many people who came to Jesus seeking to listen to Him and His teachings, or to be healed from their various illnesses, diseases, afflictions and troubles. People kept on bringing their sick ones to Him and many were healed by His touch and works, and the people who had faith in Him were healed by merely touching His cloak.
In the Lord Jesus, we ourselves have seen the Lord coming to dwell among us, and this time, not just in the intangible form of the slabs of stone of the Commandments and the Law, or the manna or the staff of Aaron or the container which is the Ark of the Covenant mentioned earlier. Here is the One Who is the Lord Himself Incarnate in the flesh, the Divine Word and Son of God, Who took upon Himself the nature and appearance of Man, that He is able to dwell in our midst in the flesh, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
He came into our midst and dwell among us as He promised because He loves each and every one of us very dearly. After all, He created us all out of love and He wants nothing less than happiness and joy for us, which has been barred for us because of our sins and disobedience against God. Our sins have made us to be separated from God and His fullness of grace and love, which is precisely why He sent us His own Son, Jesus Christ.
When the Lord Jesus came into our world and touched us His people, and then ultimately fulfilled His mission by taking up His Cross and suffered for our sake, becoming the very sacrificial Lamb on the Altar for our sake, and being sacrificed for us, renewing forever the Eternal Covenant of Love that God has made with us, affirming with this act of supreme love of the desire that God has in being reconciled with us. By the forgiveness of our sins, we can be reunited with God once again.
Today, all of us are therefore reminded of just how fortunate each and every one of us that God has always loved us all despite all of our infidelities and lack of faith, for all of our rebelliousness and our failures to obey His will. God still loves us all and wants to forgive us all, and He has done so by sending us His Son to be Our Lord and Saviour, suffering and dying a most painful death on the Cross for our sake.
How do we then appreciate God’s love and love Him back, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by opening ourselves to His love and allow His grace and forgiveness to touch us and our lives, that we may be healed by His compassionate love. Just as those people who came seeking Him to be healed from their various sickness and diseases, we are all also called to seek Him to heal us from the disease within us, within our heart, mind and soul, that is our sins.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should be inspired by the good examples led by one of our holy predecessor who had lived her life with great faith in God, that we too may know how to live our own lives with faith from now on. St. Scholastica, a renowned saint and holy woman, also the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia, is a great role model for us in faith as she led a devout life and inspired many others to follow her example mirroring what her brother had also done in establishing what would eventually become the Benedictines.
St. Scholastica lived a virtuous and prayerful life, dedicated wholly to God and committed herself to live an upright life of piety and charity, inspiring others in her community to be more dedicated and faithful to God. St. Scholastica showed us all what it truly means for us to be Christians, as those who believe in Christ and in His love, and because of that, we have to really show our love for Him by our action, our commitment to love Him and serve Him each and every days of our lives.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek to renew our faith in God and grow stronger in our love and devotion towards Him. Let us all be more Christian-like in our way of life from now on, and let us seek to glorify God at all times through our words, actions and deeds for His such great love for us that He has done with us everything He has done through His Cross. May God be with us always, and may He bless us all in our every endeavours. Amen.