Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we listened to the words of the Scripture in which we are called to remember the need for us to seek the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness, and not to remain in sin any longer, but allow the Lord to enter into our lives, into our hearts and deep into the very core of our beings, that we may be healed and purified from our sins. God alone can heal us from our sins, and from all those wickedness and sins, we have to be rescued and saved.
In our first reading today, we heard an account of the moment when mankind fell into sin, as our first ancestors, Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and chose to listen to the words and lies of Satan, succumbing to the temptations of the evil one and to the temptations of their own selfish desires and pride. They chose to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as such, sin entered into mankind for the very first time.
And because of that sin, mankind were cast out of the Gardens of Eden, and that was due to our own conscious choice in rejecting God and embracing the falsehoods of the devil instead. Yet, God did not just destroy or annihilate us, although He could have easily done so, or condemn us into hell for our sins, although He rightfully and justly could have done so, given that the punishment for sin is death, and death should have lead us into an eternity in hell.
But this did not happen because God still truly loved us despite all that we had done to spite Him, in rejecting, abandoning and betraying Him. God still loves us so much that He gives us chances and opportunities, again and again, reaching out to us, sending us reminders and help to allow us to find our way back to Him and to be reconciled to Him. This is what the Lord wants to do with us, because each and every one of us are precious in His sight. All of us have been created by God with love, and it is with this same love that the Lord continues to care for us.
Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the account of the confrontation between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who disagreed with Him and opposed His works, simply because He did not do things according to their preferences and path. They refused to believe in Him and even accused Him of colluding with Beelzebul, one of the princes and leaders of the demons. This was indeed a really grave accusation, one that is baseless and unbecoming of those who were supposed to know the Law and the Prophets better than others.
The Lord then told those who opposed Him that whatever He had done, all had come from the Lord and it was folly to suggest that the devil or his fellow demons could have any part of it. The irony is that, the devil and all of his allies were, although divided at times, no more united than at the moment that they are going against all of us, God’s faithful people. Although they might not be fully united in all things, but they all shared the desire to see the downfall of mankind, to drag us deep down with them into eternal damnation and suffering.
The Lord proved that it was folly and indeed malicious to accuse Him of colluding with the forces of evil in order to perform His miracles and healing, for after all, everything that He had done, were all done in accordance with the words of the Scriptures, with the words and teachings of the prophets, their predictions and prophecies, all of which spoke about Christ, His entry into this world and all that He would do for the salvation of all the whole world. But those who refused to believe in Him were blinded by their jealousy, pride and worldly desires, by the temptations of the flesh, that they fell, just as their ancestors had once fallen.
Those teachers of the Law and the Pharisees were also stubborn in their opposition against the Lord because they were angry at the Lord Jesus for claiming to be able to forgive sins when God alone is able to forgive sin. This again showed them succumbing to the temptations of their pride, their desire for power and influence within the community, that they refused to accept the truth that their way of observing the Law was incorrect, and that their teaching authority and leadership could be challenged by someone else far greater than they were.
St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth reminded them and all of us to reject this path of sin, and to return to the Lord, seeking beyond the temptations of worldly pleasures and desires, and to wish for the true happiness that can be found in God alone. He reminded all the faithful that while things of this world will fade away and disappear, all sorts of earthly glory will eventually fail, the Lord alone is a source of certainty and assurance amidst all the uncertainties of this world. The Light of God is the light that leads us down the right path, and which we should follow instead of the path of sin.
Yet, many among us still chose to walk down that path of sin, following so many others who had fallen into the same temptations, and many still refused to follow the Lord, despite the fact that following the devil and his false path obviously and certainly will lead to our own destruction. That is because many of us are unable to resist the temptations present all around us, and our faith and trust in the Lord is weak. That is why we need to strengthen our faith in God by building up our relationship and connection with Him.
Many of us are still Christians in name and formality only, not living our faith in the genuine manner required of all of us. If this is how we are going to continue living our lives, then more likely than not we will end up falling further and deeper into the path of damnation through sin. We have to be careful because the allure of sin is truly powerful, and unless we take due precaution and care, we will be easily tempted by it. This is why, today, all of us are reminded of this fact, of the need for us to renew our relationship with God, and to be reconciled with Him through the Church.
The Lord has given us plenty of opportunities to be reconciled with Him, and most importantly, He wants to be reconciled with us. Are we still going to be stubborn and are we still going to refuse His love, mercy and compassion? Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, all that He has done for our sake, in His selfless giving of Himself on the Cross, that by His suffering and death we are freed from the tyranny of sin and shown the way to everlasting joy and true happiness, free from the bondage and power of sin that had us kept in chains for way too long.
All of us are called to return to God and to seek His ever generous and ever available mercy and compassion. Let us all be reconciled to Him and ask Him for His forgiveness, that by His grace and love, we may be made whole again, and be worthy to receive the fullness of His wonderful love as well as all the inheritance and things that have been intended for us as the most beloved and precious ones among all that He had created from the very beginning.
May the Lord be with us all, and may He strengthen each and every one of us with the resolve to remain faithful to Him, and to resist the temptations of our flesh, and the many allures of this world that we may walk in the right path, and staying true to the calling that the Lord has given us. May God bless us all in our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.