Wednesday, 9 June 2021 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Deacons)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the words of the Lord in the Scripture, to obey the Law of God and to walk in His path faithfully, that in all things and in all of our actions we will always be righteous and act in accordance to the teachings and truth of the Lord. This is our calling as Christians, and this is what we are expected to do as those who follow the Lord and profess our faith in Him. Otherwise, we are no better than hypocrites who profess to be faithful and yet lacking genuine faith.

In our first reading today, we listened to St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth speaking to us and all the faithful that we are all the ministers and partakers of the New Covenant that God has established with each and every one of us. As such, as the Lord has called us to follow Him and to do His will, we ought to be proud and committed to this mission which He has entrusted to us. To be those whom God loves and cares for is truly a privilege, a wonderful honour, that surpasses even the glory of those who went before us in the Old Covenant.

And the Law of God is always before us, as the reason for our faith and existence, as something that God has placed in our midst to be our guide and focus, so that we will not easily be swayed into the wrong path in life. He has given us all this Law that we can remain firmly centred on Him and that we will not be distracted by the many temptations present all around us, or all the falsehoods and lies of the devil trying to derail us off the path towards God and His salvation.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and to the people gathered regarding the matter of the Law, as He has always been confronted and opposed by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, all those who rigidly and jealously defended the Law of Moses and its interpretation, their own perception and way of understanding the Law of God as revealed through Moses. And when the Lord came into this world, revealing the truth about the Law, they charged Him with breaking the Law and disobeying its tenets.

It was in fact the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were in the wrong, as they had lost their way and misinterpreted the Law as a culmination of centuries of misunderstandings and failure to appreciate the true meaning and purpose of the Law. They applied the Law and understood it only rudimentarily, using the Law instead to impose harsh limitations and burdens on the people, and using the Law to bring about control and segregation among the faithful, with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law priding themselves for being the ones who were supposedly most knowledgeable and most obedient to the Law.

Yet, the Lord revealed that the Law of God is not about all that, for His Law is the Law of Love, and is intended to bring all of us mankind to discover more about the Lord and to grow to love Him. All the commandments and the tenets of the Law were in fact guidance and help for everyone that all of us may be reminded and may be strengthened in our journey of faith, that we can remain focused, centred and obedient to God in all things, by our love for Him and by the genuine relationship we build up with Him and with one another, and not through fear and oppression as advocated by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians, we have received this same truth from God and we have become the ministers of Our Lord’s New Covenant, and the ones who should know and understand the more perfected Law, and thus, we should become its faithful witnesses and missionaries, to reach out to more and more people bearing the truth about the Law and the Lord. We have to be active in living up to our Christian faith and expectations, to be truly obedient to the Lord and to walk in His ways, always and at all times.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Ephrem, a holy and dedicated servant of God, a renowned Deacon and later honoured as one of the Doctors of the Church. St. Ephrem is a great role model and inspiration for all of us on how we can be also dedicated to the Lord and obey His Law faithfully as examples on our own to our fellow brethren. St. Ephrem faithfully served the Church and his local community of faithful and beyond as a deacon, and also through his many works and writings, he defended the true faith against the falsehoods of many heresies that were rampant at that time.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing and able to commit ourselves to love the Lord and to be genuine Christians in our lives? Are willing to follow the path that God has shown before us, and to spend the time and the effort to glorify the Lord by our lives? Let us all commit ourselves anew to Him and let us be ever more faithful, be ever more dedicated in all things. May the Lord be with us all and may He strengthen us with the courage to remain faithful to His Law and commandments, that we may be great inspiration and examples for one another. Amen.

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