Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, all of us are reminded that as Christians, we have the obligation to listen to the words of the Lord, our Father and Creator, our Lord and Master, and follow Him in the examples and the truth that He had revealed to us and taught us. This is our calling as Christians, and through this time and season of Advent, we are once again reminded of this calling and obligation.
In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Zephaniah, we heard the words of the Lord speaking of the coming of the days when Israel and all the other nations will no longer be sinful and be wicked, but will follow the Lord and obey His laws and listen to His will. The prophet spoke of the time to come when all the nations will come bearing gifts and homage to the Lord, and the descendants of Israel would no longer be disobedient and sinful.
The prophet Zephaniah lived and ministered to the people of God in the kingdom of Judah during the time and reign of the king Josiah of Judah, near the end of the era of the kingdom, and not long before the time when the Babylonians would come and destroy both Judah and Jerusalem, and exile most of its people. He ministered to the people during a pivotal moment of the people of God’s livelihood
At the time of king Josiah, there had been a temporary rejuvenation of the worship of the Lord among the people, led by king Josiah himself who courageously and enthusiastically purged the worship of the pagan idols and gods, destroyed the altars of those idols and removing the corruption of the pagan worship from the lands of Israel. Unfortunately, this period of renaissance and reform did not last long, and after king Josiah’s premature death in the Battle of Megiddo, the people reverted back to their sinful ways.
The Lord therefore reminds us through these Scripture readings that we are all called to remove from ourselves the corruption of sin, of pride and worldly desires, of greed and all the other obstacles that had prevented us from finding our way to the Lord through faith. He wants us to open our hearts and minds to Him, that we may listen to us and do what His will has led us to and guided us to. As what we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord through His parable of the two sons wants to remind us to be obedient to Him, and not just to pay Him lip service and empty faith.
The Lord wants us to know that to be obedient to Him is far more important than all the sacrifices and offerings that the people offered Him at the Temple, and to follow His ways is much better than to be a hypocrite who says one thing and profess to believe and yet, acting in a totally different manner. And this is especially true considering that at the time of the Lord’s ministry and the early Church, many among the Jewish authorities refused to believe in the Lord and continued to walk down their flawed path and hold on to their beliefs.
All these happened while many among the Gentiles, especially among the Greeks, who were drawn towards the Lord, and welcomed the Lord’s disciples into their midst. And despite persecutions and challenges that faced the Church during those years, the Church kept on growing and became stronger, as more and more people came to believe in God and many responded to the Lord’s call from among the nations.
The Lord has brought His light to the nations, and many people had seen this light and been called to be saved. But how are we responding to God’s call in our lives, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we going to be like the son in the Gospel parable, who said that he would obey and in the end never carried out or obeyed his father’s will? Or will we be the one who wants to do the father’s will?
All of us have been given the choice to walk down either the path of obedience and faith, or the path of wickedness, individualism and separation from God. All of us have been called to choose our path going forward in life, and thus, let us all discern carefully our choice and let us all rediscover that genuine faith that each and every one of us ought to have in the Lord.
May the Lord be our guide and our source of strength, and may He bless us through our respective journeys in life, especially as we journey through this blessed season of Advent. May our Advent journey be fruitful and be filled with our sincere love and devotion towards the Lord. May God bless us always, in each and every moments of our lives, and in our every good endeavours. Amen.