Friday, 4 September 2020 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are reminded as Christians to have a thorough transformation in life, in how we live our lives and in how each and every one of us spend our every moments, to be focused on God at all times, to follow His will and obey His laws, as well as to love Him with all of our hearts, with all of our strength and might.

As Christians, first and foremost, there is a need for us to change our perspective in life and how we live up this life we have with faith, so that if once we have been self-centred, lacking in faith, tainted with sin and with the corruption of desires and temptations, then now we are called into a new life and existence that is no longer reminiscent of the old life we once had, the old life of disobedience, wickedness and sin.

In our first reading today, we heard St. Paul reminding us through his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, of the need for all of us to see ourselves as the servants of the Lord and as His stewards in carrying out whatever He has tasked us to do. We should also not judge one another but rather, be prepared with how we will all be judged by the Lord, as the one and only true Judge, for our every actions and deeds, our every sins and virtues at the time of judgment.

That is why our attention should be focused on what we heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord was confronted by some people, probably the Pharisees, who questioned Him and compared His disciples to the disciples of St. John who fasted and followed the rigorous imposition of the Law of God as revealed through Moses and passed down through the Jewish leaders and elders. By doing so, those people had formed their judgment against the Lord and His disciples for not doing what was deemed to be right.

This is where what we heard in our first reading passage today mattered, that we should not be judgmental in our attitude, and instead, first look into ourselves and our actions first before criticising others, or else we end up becoming hypocrites. And the Lord also used the two parables of the wineskin and wine, as well as the parable of the old and new cloth and patch, to illustrate this to all of us.

In that parable, we heard how the wineskin must be properly matched to the wine to be stored inside it, that old wine ought to be kept in old wineskin while new wine ought to be stored in new wineskin. Conversely, a torn new cloth ought to be patched with new cloth piece as well, and not with an old patch of cloth. What is the significance and meaning behind these two parables, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is a reminder that we need to have an attitude and life that is compatible with our Christian faith, our belief in God.

Unless we genuinely practice our faith in the way that we have believed it, and fill our lives with actions that are in accordance with God’s way, and no longer living according to our old ways of sin, just like the new wine that is compatible with the new wineskin, we will end up being destroyed if we use the ‘old’ way of life and our past sins to live our new faith in God. That is why the Lord used that parable to show, how being His disciples means that we all need to listen to Him, follow Him and do as He has commanded us to do.

Are we willing and able to do it though? It is not easy for us to change the way we live our lives as the tendency is such that we prefer the comfort of life over hardships, to satisfy ourselves and our desires over caring for the needs of others. But this is what being Christians is all about, brothers and sisters in Christ. To be Christians means that we firmly believe in the Lord, embrace His way, His teachings and truth, and the reality is that, often, we may have to endure challenges and trials as we journey along in faith.

But we must not be afraid, because if we are faithful and remain firm in our faith, then the Lord will judge us to be worthy of His eternal kingdom and glory, and He will gather us all in, while those who reject Him, will be by their own decision, be cast out into the eternal darkness and suffering. The choice is on our hands, brothers and sisters in Christ, to choose whether we want to follow the Lord faithfully, or whether we want to continue walking down the path of darkness and sin.

May the Lord help us in our journey, strengthen us in our resolve and empower us all to live faithfully in His presence at all times. May He bless our good endeavours and works, and may He be with us always, especially through our most difficult moments in life. May God bless us, now and forevermore. Amen.

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