Friday, 20 November 2020 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded through the Scriptures of our calling as Christians, how each and every one of us have been called to proclaim the word of God faithfully at all times. Through our first reading today from the Book of the Revelations of St. John we heard of the Lord’s revelation through His Angel of his mission to evangelise to the world and what it entailed. And in our Gospel passage today we heard the moment when the Lord Jesus came to the Temple of Jerusalem not long before His Passion, and cleared the Temple grounds from all the wicked merchants dealing dishonestly there.

In that first reading passage we heard St. John seeing a vision of an Angel of God coming to him bearing a book, commanding him to eat that book. And when St. John ate the book, it tasted sweet in his mouth, but after a while he felt bitter in the stomach. Although it may seem weird to us to hear someone eating a book, but this is in fact a figurative language used by St. John to describe the meaning and importance of his vision and what he has been told by the Lord, that we too may understand this same truth.

As St. John described his vision and experience, the book was in fact a figurative representation and explanation of the gift of the Word of God to the Apostles, the disciples and the Church, the revelation of truth of God which we have all received. But why does the Word taste sweet in the mouth and yet bitter in the stomach? Again this is yet another figurative language used to describe how wonderful the truth of God is to us, as we revel and are happy in His love and care for us. And yet, it is bitter for us to stomach the fullness of truth.

Why is that so? That is because just as we know that God has loved us so much and each and every one of us are indeed so privileged to have received this great love from God, then we all also know what will happen to all those who have consciously chosen to reject this love of God, as St. John himself had seen in his apocalyptic vision of the world’s end times. There will be those who have chosen to abandon God and side with the devil while others remain faithful to God.

And those who reject God, His love and His mercy, by their rejection and by their sins are judged into the eternal suffering, not because God did not love them. Rather, they themselves had rejected God’s love and mercy, and by that rejection, they will have no part in God, and therefore, are bound to suffer with the devil and all those who have rebelled and disobeyed against God, for all eternity. It was they themselves who have chosen to walk down this path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has entrusted His truth and His words to us through His Church, and it is in fact a great responsibility that brings both great joy in seeing the salvation of so many souls, but also the bitterness, sorrow and even pain in seeing the suffering of those who have rejected God and chose to walk down the path of evil and sin. This is the burden and the joy that we both carry as Christians.

Therefore, reminded of all these, let us all then also reflect on what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, of the moment when the Lord Jesus, not long before His Passion and death, chased out all the dishonest merchants who sought profits and wealth, and made lots of selfish and greedy gains on the suffering and the cheating pf the faithful pilgrims coming to the Temple to worship God.

The Lord was truly angry that the House of God has been corrupted and misused for wicked purposes and that had been allowed to continue by the Temple authorities, the chief priests and the Sanhedrin. And by clearing the Temple, the Lord has also in fact urged us all to clear our own spiritual Temple, that is our body, mind, heart and soul, in which God resides.

We have to rid ourselves off these corruptions, that is sin and all sorts of wickedness, all our pride, ego, greed, wrath and all other sorts of evils within us. We have to resist these temptations and strive to inspire and help one another to keep our faith in God strong. We have heard and discussed of what will happen to those who refuse to believe in God, and therefore, we should try our best to live up to our Christian calling and expectations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all renew our faith in God and strengthen our convictions to walk with zeal and commitment in the path of the Lord. May all of us seek the Lord with ever greater faith and love for Him. May He bless us all in our every endeavours and efforts, now and always. Amen.

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