Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard how king Sennacherib of Assyria came up to Jerusalem with all of his mighty army and besieged it, seeking to destroy the entire city and conquer the whole kingdom of Judah just as at that time Assyria had been conquering many smaller states to create a large and powerful empire. And the might of the Assyrian army was such that king Sennacherib became proud and vain, thinking that nothing on earth and even in heaven could have stand up against him and his empire’s might.
And that was how king Sennacherib blasphemed against God before the walls of Jerusalem, as he mocked the sons and daughters of Israel with their God, calling their continued resistance and clinging unto hope in God as being useless and meaningless. And in his pride and hubris, thinking that he had all the power in the world and thinking that he had nothing and no one to account to by himself, he sinned against God through his words and deeds.
This was then when the Lord reassured His people, from king Hezekiah of Judah and the entire people in Jerusalem and Judah through His prophet Isaiah, whom He sent with His words saying that despite all of his might and the vast armies he possessed, king Sennacherib of Assyria would never conquer Jerusalem and he would never achieve whatever he had desired for, and that his armies would be crushed by the hands and the power of God, and the king himself would meet his just end for all the sins that he had committed against God and men alike.
Thus God also sent His Angels, destroying the entire armies of the Assyrians during the night, and a total of no less than a hundred and eighty-five thousand mighty warriors of the Assyrians perished, certainly a great humiliation for the king who had to abandon the siege and return to his homeland in great shame, his pride and hubris crushed by the righteousness and justice of God, and it was told then he was murdered by two of his own sons who probably desired his power and kingdom.
This is what the Lord spoke to His disciples about in our Gospel passage today, when He spoke to them on the matter of how difficult it is and will be to enter the kingdom of God, like passing through a narrow gate. Many people had attempted it and failed, and many more will try to go through and not be able to make it through. And the main reasons of these failures have been covered just earlier on. The pride, ego, hubris, ambitions and the desires of our hearts are the ones responsible for keeping us away from God.
As long as we allow our lives, our words and actions, our paths to be swayed and controlled by these things, we will not be able to progress further in this path towards salvation in God. For worldly desires, pride and greed in us keep us away from God, making us selfish and inward looking, thinking only about ourselves and our carnal desires and wishes, and failing to do what we need to do in order to attain the worthy entry into the eternal kingdom of God, and earn the grace of eternal life and true joy.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of what had happened to king Sennacherib of Assyria, his hubris and pride that led to his downfall, his greed and sins that brought him to infamy and probably damnation, let us all reflect on our own lives and actions. Have we been faithful to the Lord as we should have all these while? Have we been dedicating ourselves and our actions for the glory of God, or have we instead been so engrossed with our own selfish desires, indulging our ego and pride, our greed and worldly concerns and wants?
Let us all therefore turn towards God with all of our hearts from now on, and let us all be ever filled with love for Him, and instead of allowing pride, hubris, greed and desire to lead us astray and down the wrong path, we should remove from our hearts all these pride and unhealthy desires and attachments, so that we may be able to come closer to God and grow stronger in faith. Let us not meet our downfall and end like king Sennacherib and like so many others who have fallen into sin and even damnation because they could not resist the temptation of the flesh and worldly glory and ambition.
May the Lord help each and every one of us, that we can all be more humble and be more attuned with Him in faith, that instead of living for our own selfish desires and wants, our ambitions and pride, we can from now on live faithfully and be ever closer to God, and be exemplary in humility, in piety and devotion, that everyone who see us and witness our words and actions may truly believe in God through us, and by our righteousness, virtues and faith, may we be worthy of God’s eternal kingdom and glory. Amen.