Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the words of the Scriptures reminding all of us that the realities of life in this world can often be quite terrible and cruel, and we may very well be disappointed by the bitter truth that we encounter in life. Many people had to endure sufferings and persecutions, just as we heard in our readings today, first of all because they are prejudiced and discriminated against, like that of the Israelites in the land of Egypt, while then, as Christians, we are also often prejudiced against, and face persecutions and opposition from the world.
In our first reading today, from the beginning of the Book of Exodus we heard the story of the people of Israel, the descendants of Jacob or Israel in Egypt, a few hundred years after their ancestors first came to Egypt to live there, out of the promised land of Canaan. God had promised Jacob that He would one day lead all of his descendants out of Egypt and back to the land which He has promised and given to him and his descendants forever. Then, a Pharaoh came to power who saw the Israelites as a grave threat to Egypt due to their ever growing numbers and began to find ways to destroy and control them.
And it was hence that the Israelites were oppressed and enslaved in Egypt under the Egyptians and their Pharaoh, forced to endure tough conditions and treated with disdain and with the most brutal conditions, as even though they were oppressed, they kept on growing in numbers and spread, as a sign of divine favour and grace, as God was always with His people. The Pharaoh tried to exterminate the whole nation by attempting genocidal killing of all the male child of the Israelites, but it was through this act that God then would raise a saviour and leader of His people, namely Moses, to lead them all out of Egypt.
We then heard in our Gospel passage today, of the premonition of troubles and trials which Our Lord Himself has revealed to His disciples, that He specifically mentioned how His coming into the world was not going to bring peace to the world, and would instead bring about clashes and even violence. All of these were to happen because many among the people refused to believe in the Lord or walk along His path, and they preferred to follow their own desires and ambitions, succumbing to the temptation of worldly glory and fame.
Like the Pharaoh of Egypt who oppressed the Israelites and wanted to see them destroyed, all these were born out of desperation and fear, as mankind tended to be afraid to let go and lose of their prized possessions, their power, privileges, fame and glory. All those things therefore often clouded the judgments of man, and led to many misery against the faithful people of God, all those who still cling faithfully to the truth of God and refused to allow worldly concerns and matters to turn them away from the path of the Lord or leading them down the path of corruption.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as Christians all of us are called to remain faithful to the Lord despite these trials and tribulations. We must not allow ourselves to be swayed or misled by fear, despair and doubt, which had led so many of our brethren down the wrong path, and led mankind to commit so many grievous sins as the ones committed by the Pharaoh in killing all the sons born of the Israelites. Instead, we have to learn to trust the Lord and to keep our gaze and focus steadily on Him.
We are all called as Christians to be the bearers of God’s truth, His love and grace, His assurance of eternal life and glory for us. We have received this same truth from the Lord through His Church and by the works of the Apostles and their successors, our bishops and priests, and all those who had laboured for the sake of the one true faith. Now, we are called to walk in their footsteps faithfully, committing ourselves each and every moments of our lives, to be the exemplary and inspirational Christian role models for one another.
Let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed heart and mind, with a new zeal and purpose in ourselves. May the Lord be with us always and may He continue to walk the path with us, together as one people, that we may always ever be committed in all things, and grow to love Him more and more, and be ever closer to Him always. May God bless us all and our good works and endeavours, now and forevermore. Amen.