Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded by the readings of the Scripture on the need for each and every one of us to be forgiving, to be compassionate and to be merciful and loving as our Lord and God has been kind, compassionate and merciful towards us. We are all called as Christians to be the examples of love, to follow in the love that God Himself has shown us, and which He reminded us again today through the Scriptures.
In our first reading we heard of the story of the king of Israel, Ahab, and his wicked deed in killing Naboth the vineyard owner for his own selfish desires, while in our Psalm today we heard of the famous Psalm of King David, Psalm 50, the Psalm that he himself composed in great sorrow and repentance over his sins, and lastly, in the Gospel today we heard of the exhortation by the Lord Jesus for His disciples and followers to love everyone sincerely and with great tenderness and compassion.
In the account of king Ahab’s sin in killing Naboth, we heard how Ahab’s wickedness would have earned him great tragedy and punishment, as the prophet Elijah came to confront the wicked king and put forth God’s pronouncement of the coming judgment for the king and his whole family. Judgment was also due for his even more wicked wife, queen Jezebel, a pagan whose deeds were even more wicked than the king, and whose persuasions had led to the king deciding to kill Naboth by wicked means.
Yet, we then heard how when king Ahab tore his clothes, humbled himself before God and Elijah, His prophet, and showed great remorse over his actions, God showed His kindness and mercy, His compassion and love, revealing that in truth, He is a loving and compassionate God, Who is ever filled with genuine and tender care for each and every one of us, without exception, even to the worst and most wicked of sinners. The mercy that God had shown to king Ahab was just one of the many examples of this.
God is ever merciful, just as He shows justice to the wicked and the evil ones. To those who are willing to accept and embrace His mercy, God shall extend His loving care and providence, and He will gather them again in His presence. For king Ahab, He was not completely forgiven, likely because his sins were indeed many and too great, and while he humbled himself and was sorrowful, but there was still wickedness in his heart and the unwillingness to repent fully and turn towards the Lord.
This is where then another king of Israel, namely the one who composed our Psalm today, came into the picture. King David was then punished for his immoral behaviour and sin, in plotting for the death of the husband of Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite. King David desired Bathsheba and eventually made her his wife after Uriah died, much like just how king Ahab plotted and successfully had Naboth killed so that he could own his vineyard. But then, hereafter we can see the difference between the two.
King David was wholeheartedly and completely repentant of his wicked actions, his selfishness and temptation by sin. Psalm 50 which we have used today as our Psalm is the expression of this great regret and desire to be forgiven by God. And as David’s love and faith for God was genuine and great, that was what brought Him to God’s forgiveness and grace once again. That was why, while David and his house remain firm, the house of Ahab crumbled.
In our Gospel passage today, the Lord also reminded all of us that we have to love and love sincerely, not just to those who love us, but even to our enemies and those who hated us. And why is this so? That is because the Lord Himself had done so, when He forgave all those who have sinned against Him, those who have betrayed Him by their wicked actions and deeds like king Ahab, by their failure to restrain themselves like king David, among many others.
And each and every one of us have sinned against Him too, whether it be great or small sin, all of us have sinned regardless. Yet, the Lord did not mind at all and chose willingly to pick up His Cross, heavily laden with the mighty burdens of our sins. He bore all of these, and suffered all the worst sufferings, for our sake, because of His enduring and great love for us. And if God has been willing to forgive us and love us again, despite all of our sins and shortcomings, then why don’t we love one another and forgive one another our faults?
Let us all imitate the Lord’s own examples and rediscover once again the strong and genuine love which we ought to have for Him. Let us all seek His forgiveness and mercy for our many sins and faults, and be forgiving and loving ourselves to one another. May the Lord give us the heart to love, the courage to forgive and the faith to always be obedient to Him and to trust in Him all the time, from now on. Amen.