Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture that spoke to us about the need for us to follow the Lord with genuine faith and commitment, and doing everything in our everyday lives with the focus on God and not on our own ego and desire. We live our lives to serve God and to give ourselves to His cause, and in the end, the Lord shall glorify us with eternal life and true joy He has promised us.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to us about how His followers should pray and practice their faith. In their almsgiving, charity and works, they ought not to show off their actions, to give with genuine intention and compassion, and to pray and fast with the focus centred on God, not for appearances and fame, but rather out of the sincere desire to return to God, to be reconciled with Him and to follow Him.
These comments and words were made in particular in opposition and as criticism against the actions and attitudes of many among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who often paraded their piety, made a show of their prayers, fasting and rituals, but the Lord Who knew all things saw right through them and their facade of piety, and inside, what He found was not faith and love for God, but rather, ego, pride, desire and the greed for worldly glory, fame and honours.
The Lord therefore reminded all of us not to be swayed and tempted by the temptations and corrupting nature of power, worldly glory and fame, the allure of ambition and the greed for wealth and possessions. Instead, all of us as Christians should seek not for the glory and greatness of the world, but instead, look forward for the eternal and true glory in the life that is to come, as what the Lord has promised us, and which the prophet Elijah showed us all in our first reading today.
In our first reading today, we heard of the account of the moment when the prophet Elijah was taken up into heaven in a great flaming chariot, as witnessed by his successor, the prophet Elisha. For many years, the prophet Elijah had laboured very hard to spread God’s words to the people and called them to repent them from their many sins. He had laboured hard, often suffering from the persecutions and oppressions at the hands of the king and his enemies.
In doing all of his thankless works and labours, risking his life and his own safety for the sake of the Lord, the prophet Elijah had shown us the true meaning of what being Christians and the disciples of the Lord is all about. To follow the Lord, we ought to give of ourselves to the Lord and focus ourselves and our attention on Him. We should not seek personal glory and satisfaction, and neither should we let those things guide our lives’ paths and actions.
We are all called to have deeper faith in God, and that we do not need to worry about things in life that often concern us. Instead, let us all do our best to serve the Lord and be good examples of faithful Christian living in our various respective communities. We ought to do what we can, through our daily living and actions in life to contribute to the greater works of the Church and to glorify God.
In turn, we can be sure that God will know of our faith in Him, and as long as we firmly hold on to this faith, we shall never be disappointed. If we seek worldly satisfaction, glory, power, fame and all these related things, all these things will eventually run out and disappear one day. This year alone, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, economic crisis due to the pandemic and other issues, many people had seen their incomes, savings, their pride and glory wiped out by the troubles that occurred. This is why we need to put our trust instead in the Lord.
And let us all be good and charitable as the Lord had taught us to do. In these difficult times and moments, let us offer helping hands and assistance to our fellow brethren, even if we ourselves are encountering difficulties. After all, there are bound to be people who suffer more than we are suffering. Let us be kind, compassionate, generous and righteous in all of our actions and in our interactions with each other. May the Lord also be our guide and may He strengthen us in the resolve to live faithfully as good and devout Christian from now on, and be the light of hope and strength for our fellow brothers and sisters in these dark times and situations. Amen.