Monday, 1 February 2021 : 4th 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 heard of the sufferings of the faithful, the terrible things that happened to those who have kept their faith steady in God, and then God’s reassurance that He would always be with them and He would free them from their predicament. By the power and grace from God, all who believe in Him will be saved and enter into the eternal and true joy and glory in Him.

In our first reading today we heard of the account from the Epistle to the Hebrews linking the great deeds of the past Judges of Israel and the heroes of those bygone days, those who had been nobody, but God raised them up and called them to be the leaders of His people, giving them the guidance and power to free the people of Israel. And the author also mentioned how there were yet many others who were suffering and even dying because of their faith, and they had to endure all of that.

What this passage wanted to tell the audience back then, namely the believers and unbelievers from among the Jewish people, as well as all of us listening to it again today, is that everything that happened, all happened by God’s grace and in God’s good time. Everything had happened and will happen exactly as the Lord willed it. When we see our fellow brethren and ourselves suffering, especially for our faith, and when we see no help coming our way, it does not mean that the Lord did not love us or that He did not care about us.

On the contrary, if He wanted to, He could definitely free us immediately from all sufferings and difficulties. But just as He Himself has suffered and endured the worst of sufferings when He took the heavy burden of the Cross upon Himself, thus all of us actually suffer together with Him and share in His suffering. Ultimately, suffering itself came about from the abuse of mankind’s freedom, the free will to act that God has given to each and every one of us. The reason why we suffer is because we mankind put ourselves, our individual, egoistic selves, our desires and wants, our ambitions above any considerations for others.

That is why, as we then heard in our Gospel passage today, of the Lord healing the two men possessed by powerful evil spirits in the land of the Gerasenes, we are all reminded of the power of God that is able to overcome all these bonds and challenges that have made our life difficult and burdened, and the Lord alone has the power to free us and heal us from this bondage. He sent out those evil spirits from the men as a sign that He would also liberate all of us from the clutches of sin, and He would restore us to a life that is filled with blessings and grace.

This also means that we need to learn to trust in God, to believe in Him and to follow Him in His path, and we need to learn to seek Him for help when we truly are in need of help and assistance. Too often we mankind prefer to settle things on our own, and we cannot betray our own ego and pride, pretending that there is no problem when we are in fact struggling from various issues and challenges. We refuse to turn to God even in our most difficult moments, because we do not want to look weak in front of others.

But unless we seek the Lord and entrust ourselves to Him, we cannot truly gain true liberation and find the path going forward in life, as we can only find the salvation in God alone. We should learn to be faithful and to be trusting in God, in allowing Him to lead us down the right path and in touching our lives so that by our actions, our faith and dedication we may be inspiration for one another.

Let us all not be fearful or worry any longer, but let us all turn towards God with a new and reenergised heart, with a new conviction and strength to devote ourselves, our time and attention to follow Him, to obey His laws and to be exemplary as Christians, as God’s chosen people. May the Lord strengthen us and give us the courage to stand up to our faith, from now on and always. Amen.

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