Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard of the account from the Book of the prophet Isaiah relating to us the moment when the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Aram-Damascus were allied together to attack the kingdom of Judah in the south. By their larger population and territory, power and combined might, it might seem certain that they would rise up and destroy the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem.
But the Lord was with His people, and as the king in Judah and the people were then still mostly adherent to the ways of the Lord, obeyed His Law and followed His prophets during the reigns of king Hezekiah and some other righteous kings of Judah, God still stood by His people against the plots of their enemies, those who worshipped the pagan gods and disobeyed God’s will at whim. The Lord would not let His people fall, and He protected them, while speaking of the destruction that would happen to both Israel and Aram-Damascus at the hands of the Assyrians.
This was the same message of hope and consolation which God would later on also give His people through the prophet Isaiah, at that time when Israel and Aram-Damascus plotted against Judah, and when later on the Assyrians under king Sennacherib came up with a very mighty army to conquer Judah and besiege Jerusalem. When the people of God were in great trouble and in despair, God stood by them and reassured them. And the armies of king Sennacherib were destroyed and the Assyrian king returned to his land in shame.
But at the same time, the Lord also warned His people, as He did when He reassured them in their fight against Israel and Aram-Damascus, and later on for the king Hezekiah of Judah when he took lightly the future threat of the Babylonians. He warned them that should they be unfaithful in the future, they too would experience the consequences of their unfaithfulness, wickedness and sins. This was what happened when the Babylonians came and conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple because then the people had fallen into sin and refused to believe in God.
In our Gospel passage today, peculiarly, we also heard the same warning that the Lord Jesus had spoken against the cities and towns of Galilee, namely Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum. The Lord had performed many works and miracles in those cities and towns, and many of the people there had witnessed His works, miracles and heard His teachings and words. Yet, many among them still refused to believe in Him and in the truth that He had brought to them, hardened their hearts and closed their minds to Him.
They were also representative of the many people, especially many among the Pharisees who frequently opposed the Lord and His works, tailed and confronted Him in many occasions, and these people refused to believe and constantly harassed the Lord and His disciples. Therefore, the Lord’s words and stern warning were addressed to them, as a warning and a kind reminder that all those who persistently refused to believe in God and continued to walk in sin would have their just rewards in judgment by God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded therefore that if we believe in God, and put our trust in Him, then we have that assurance and guarantee of true joy and true satisfaction in Christ. On the other hand, if we are stubborn and constantly and persistently refuse to believe in God, then in the end, we will have no part in Him. God does not want us to suffer that consequences, and this is why He has sent us, again and again, very patiently, many prophets, messengers and helpers to help remind us throughout our lives.
Today, we also have St. Camillus de Lellis as one of our great source of inspiration. And as we celebrate his feast day today, we remember the great piety and dedication by which he has dedicated himself to God. St. Camillus de Lellis was known for his personal piety, great humility in life and ascetic life, and for his great focus on the care for the sick and dying. St. Camillus de Lellis spent much of his life and ministry in this area, establishing the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm or the Camillans after his name.
Through these efforts, St. Camillus inspired many others to show more care and concern for the sick, those who are suffering, from illness and plague, from warfare injuries and hurts among other things. Through his hard work and the contributions of many others, many of the people were touched by God’s love, and many became stronger in their faith in God. And all of these should be inspiration and good example for us to follow in our own respective life and faith.
May the Lord help us in our journey of faith that each and every one of us may be strengthened and inspired by the dedication shown by St. Camillus de Lellis and innumerable other holy men and women of God. Let us all be righteous in everything we say and do, and strive to be ever closer to God and to be more faithful to Him with every passing moment. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.