Friday, 17 July 2020 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded through the Scripture readings on the wonders of God’s providence, love and compassion for each and every one of us. Through the Scripture passages, we are reminded how God showed mercy and kindness to His servants, those who asked Him and trusted in Him. He will never abandon those who trust in Him, and He will always be with us no matter what.

In our first reading today we heard of the story of the conversation between king Hezekiah of Judah and the prophet Isaiah, as king Hezekiah suffered from a terrible illness that was incurable and would have led to his death, and king Hezekiah who had been faithful to God and led the people of Judah to return once again to God. King Hezekiah of Judah then begged the Lord to remember what he had done for the sake of His people, His faithfulness and commitment.

God listened to Hezekiah and granted him healing from his supposedly mortal sickness and gave him fifteen more years to live in life. And from then on, king Hezekiah would continue to rule the kingdom of Judah while being faithful in leading the people back towards God. The Lord heard His prayers, and by His will, everything was made good and whole again for the king. And this indeed reminds us of God’s love for each and every one of us.

Then, in the Gospel passage today we heard from the Lord Jesus Who confronted the Pharisees who had criticised Him and His disciples for not obeying and adhering to the laws and customs of the Sabbath. The disciples of Jesus had been walking through a field, picked up the grains in that field and ate them because they were hungry, and the Pharisees immediately took this as an issue and attacked the Lord with accusations.

But the Lord then also immediately rebutted them as He related to them the story of king David when he was still on the run from the authorities as he became King chosen by God in contention with king Saul, his predecessor. David and his men were very hungry and that day was a Sabbath day. Yet, when they sought refuge in the Temple of God, the High Priest did not just give them shelter, but also food in the form of the bread usually reserved only for the priests to eat according to the Law.

What the first reading and the Gospel have told us therefore is that, first of all we must remember that God loves each and every one of us, and this is an undeniable fact and reality which we all must accept. And this love is what made all that we heard in our readings today possible. God’s love for each and every one of us helped King Hezekiah to elude death and extended his life, and God’s love also provided for David and his men when they were in the direst of straits.

That is we must learn from this not to be legalistic over our faith just as the Pharisees had done, as the Pharisees were so engrossed and preoccupied with the text and letter of the Law, the literal meaning and interpretation of the Law of the Sabbath that they had forgotten why the Law was given to us in the first place, that is to help us and remind us to love God and to dedicate ourselves to Him, to direct our hearts and minds to Him just as He has first dedicated Himself to us and loved us.

That is why, first of all, God will never abandon us in the hour of need, and He will definitely always be by our side whenever we need Him, as He has shown to king Hezekiah and king David. We must put our trust in Him and be faithful to Him. We must trust that God’s love for us, His mercy and compassion always endure, and if we keep our faith in Him strong, in the end, we will receive the rich rewards promised to us.

But at the same time, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must then also be careful and take note how the Lord’s will is the reason for everything, and everything occur just as how the Lord wants it to be. We must not think just because king Hezekiah begged the Lord and he got what he wanted then it means that we can bend God to do as we want it. On the contrary, it was by God’s mysterious will, that Hezekiah lived and had his life extended, and perhaps, in the end, that was all already part of God’s design, which we do not know of. We should ask God if there is something we wish, and as long as this is not a wicked desire, but we should not expect to have what we wished or demand that God fulfils what we wanted.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek God with a renewed faith and strength, a new commitment and conviction to follow Him and serve Him. Let us all turn towards God with new dedication and desire to love Him, reflecting on just how fortunate we all have been to be beloved by God, to be considered precious in His sight, and to be the ones to whom God will bestow eternal joy and glory, through our faith in Him.

May the Lord bless us all, and may He strengthen us in faith, and help us that we may be ever more filled with love for our Lord, and place Him at the centre of our lives, that from now on, if we have not already done so, we may walk faithfully, righteously and virtuously with God in our respective journey of life, towards His eternal joy and glory. Amen.

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