Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we heard the readings from the Sacred Scriptures we are reminded of the need for each and every one of us as Christians to devote ourselves to God, to turn away from sin and to repent from all those sinfulness and wickedness we have committed in our lives. We are reminded to be active in leading a life free from the corruption of sin and from the temptation to sin.
In our first reading today, we heard the account from the First Book of Kings on the prophet Elijah and how he went to the Mountain of God, likely in the area of Sinai, where the Israelites once made a Covenant with God and received the Ten Commandments through Moses. The prophet Elijah reached the mountain and God came to him, and Elijah recognised the Lord coming in gentle wind, and listened to His words, through which God reminded His people of the Covenant that He had made with them and yet which the people had forsaken.
In the same occasion, the Lord also told the prophet Elijah what He would do to restore the Covenant to the people, by His instruction to Elijah to anoint Elisha to be his own successor as prophet to the Israelites, Hazael to be the new king of the Arameans in present day Syria, and Jehu as the new king over Israel, replacing their wicked predecessors. Through the subsequent events, the Lord’s plans and designs came into motion, and the Covenant of God was partly restored to the people, as the descendants of the wicked king Ahab were replaced and pushed out of power.
In our Gospel today, then we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples with regards to the matter of obeying the Law and the commandments of God. The essence and key point of what the Lord told His disciples is that first of all, of course we have to follow the Law and obey the will of God, but then we must also understand the true meaning and importance of the Law. And this means that all of us must not merely pay lip service to the Lord and His laws, outwardly obeying the laws and tenets of our faith and yet, within our hearts, we are still wicked and sinful.
The Lord mentioned that as long as one already had the intention to commit sin with someone, be it adultery or other forms of disobedience against God, then they had already sinned against Him. And in what many people would have misunderstood of the Lord’s intentions, as He said to them, ‘If your hands caused you to fall into sin, cut them off! And if your eyes caused you to sin, then pluck them off!’ The Lord was not actually meaning that we must literally do such an action. Rather, what He wanted to convey to us is that sin is so serious that we must remove them from our hearts, from our minds and from our whole beings.
This was somewhat alluded to in the first reading we had today, as we heard of the Lord’s instructions to the prophet Elijah, in appointing the successors of the kings of Israel and Aram, those who were more in accordance to the will of God. For king Jehu of Israel, the successor who destroyed the descendants and the house of the wicked king Ahab, also ended the worship of Baal and destroyed the pagan temples and idols. Those that had led the people to sin and refused to repent, were removed.
That is why through all these, we are all reminded to keep ourselves away from sin and corruption, to embrace fully the love of God and His merciful compassion, and we are also reminded to stay true and faithful to the Covenant which God has established with each and every one of us through His Son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. And in this world and time when there are often so many challenges and temptations surrounding us, we are called to commit ourselves to a renewed Christian life and zeal in the Lord.
Let us all be sincere in our desire to follow God and rediscover the love which we ought to have for God. Let us strive to walk from now on with great courage and faith so that we may be good examples and inspirations for each other in being faithful disciples of the Lord. May the Lord be with us always, guide us and help us in our journey towards Him, that all of us may be saved through Him and be glorified in Him. Amen.