Monday, 7 September 2020 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today each and every one of us are called to reflect on the words of the Scripture in which we are reminded to get rid from ourselves the corruption of sin and evil, to purify ourselves and to embrace the righteousness of God in our lives, to sin no more and to be faithful at all times, following what the Lord had taught and commanded us to do, through His Church and from the examples He has shown us.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, chastising the faithful for the immorality and corrupt behaviour among some of them, for practicing immoral actions that at the time could have even been abhorred by the pagans, with actions like taking one’s own stepmother as a spouse among other things. All of those were incompatible to the Christian faith, and St. Paul strongly reminded all of them to that extent.

St. Paul symbolically told the faithful using the examples of yeast and dough to make a good explanation to them, to make them understand how they cannot let themselves to be corrupted by the wickedness and sins all around them, and how, compared to yeast and the dough, that even the slightest amount of yeast will cause the dough to rise. This is linked to the use of unleavened bread for worship and for important celebrations, in which case, yeast is an undesirable matter.

That is why, in this case, the immorality, wickedness and sins of the people were likened to yeasts that would ruin the purity of the unleavened bread. And it was exactly because of this that St. Paul exhorted all the faithful to keep themselves free from the corruption of those sins and evils. This is because if we allow these to affect us and corrupt us, then it will lead us astray down the wrong path, as shown in one example in the Gospel passage today.

We heard in our Gospel passage of the rather heated confrontation between the Lord Jesus and the members of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who was in the synagogue and in fact having wicked thoughts in their minds. They purposefully went to see if the Lord would perform the healing miracle on a paralytic man who was there, and if He were to perform such a miracle, then they could accuse Him of disobedience against the Law and even blasphemy.

We can clearly hear and feel the frustration and disbelief in the Lord’s voice as He addressed those who were opposed to Him and His works, those who would mislead the oppress and suppress the truth and the good works of the faithful, just for the sake of their own selfish desires and wants, in sustaining their ego and their pride, their ambition and worldly attachments to power and influence in the community.

They imposed plenty of restrictions, rules and regulations on the people, imposing very strict interpretation of the Law which focused on the externals and appearances, which included that of the Sabbath laws. But as the Lord pointed out, their stubbornness and opposition to His works were without sound base, both logically and theologically, when understood with the eyes of faith and reason.

He said how it is folly to think of outlawing all things on the Sabbath, even for those things that bring about good and life, in saving others and in the preservation of life. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were blinded by their attachments and attention to details, to the excessive focus on the literal understanding of the Law without understanding its true intention, that is for us mankind to rediscover our love for God, to give us the opportunity to reserve a sacred time for the Lord, but one that certainly does not ignore the need to care for our own good as well.

That was why the Lord healed the man with the paralysed hand, to show His truth and His real intentions, the real intentions of His Law that is not to burden or oppress His people without good reason but rather, to bring them closer to Him and to His love, that they may follow Him faithfully and understand His ways, not by blind obedience or by following their own twisted agenda and misguided ways.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us as Christians we are all called to turn away from sin, reject the temptations of pride and ego, of greed and human desires in our lives, that we must not allow all these to take root in our lives, or else we will end up like the many among Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, and those who have not lived their lives with genuine faith and devotion to God.

Let us all reflect on what the Lord has clearly laid before us, and which His Apostle, St. Paul had told us to think about, of the necessity for each and every one of us to love God with all of our strength and with all of our hearts, to trust in Him completely that we will not end up being tempted by the many persuasions or traps of the evil one trying to lead us to our downfall. Therefore, let us all live our lives faithfully from now on, as we grow ever stronger in our Christian faith, and devote ourselves day by day in God’s loving grace. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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