Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord, we are reminded yet again by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Rome, of the dangers of sin and how sin once reigned over us before Christ redeemed and freed us from its dominion. And he also exhorted all the faithful to walk in the path of God and no longer submit themselves to the power and temptations of sin, for if they were to follow the way of sin, then they would suffer its consequences and perish.
St. Paul reminded them and therefore all of us that we who have been called and chosen to follow Christ, and have been baptised as Christians are all called to remain true to their faith and reject the temptations to sin. This is because as Christians, we have become God’s chosen people, whom He gathered from all the nations to embrace fully the truth and the light that He has brought into our midst. All of us should carry ourselves with true and genuine faith and be examples and inspiration for one another.
Contextually, St. Paul mentioned these things in his Epistle as many of the faithful people of God, especially among the recent converts who still lived in the similar way as they were before their conversion, as if their conversion meant nothing at all. Of course it was also a challenging and difficult time to be a follower of Christ, especially for the converts from among the Gentiles or the non-Jewish populations, as this often meant that those who chose Christ had to go against the wishes of their families or their communities.
This was exactly what the Lord meant in our Gospel passage today, when He presented to them the plain truth of what His coming into this world truly means. Many at that time, including Christ’s own disciples thought that the Messiah would come as a conquering King and Lord over all, Who would end all sufferings and usher in a time and era of great and everlasting peace, where everyone would rejoice and be happy, free from all sorrows and enjoying the bounty of God’s blessings, as the prophets proclaimed.
That will indeed come in due time, at the end of time as the Lord Himself has promised all of us. However, His first coming into this world brought into our midst the truth and the light of His salvation that would not have been well received by all those who reject the light and truth of God, and preferring to remain in the darkness and in the comfort of their sinful state. And that is why the Lord said that His coming into this world and His truth would lead to much suffering and divisions among His people.
That is because the world has a fundamentally different sets of values, and the devil and his allies have always ever sought to continue to distract us and trying to lead us away from God. They had done all they could to cause divisions and bitterness to exist within families and communities because some among their members chose to listen to the Lord and to obey Him rather than to obey the path of evil. Many martyrs and other saints suffered because of this, when they had to make a choice between following God and being acceptable and tolerated by their families, relatives and communities.
Yet, this is not a reason why we should not follow the Lord or to turn away from Him. On the contrary, having known this and realised this truth, it should serve as an important reminder for each one of us to keep strong our faith in God and to hold on to His truth as is expected of us. We should do our best to lead a life that is worthy of God, and commit ourselves each day and every moments, to do His will and to walk ever faithfully in His path so that our lives and examples may become sources of inspiration for so many more out there, our fellow brothers and sisters, many of whom have not even yet known the Lord.
Today, let us all renew our commitment to the Lord, and that is to be faithful in our Christian living so that we may always be righteous and virtuous as the children of our heavenly Father, so that by our every deeds and actions, our words and interactions, even the smallest and least significant among them, we may bring forth God’s light and truth to this darkened world. Challenges and sufferings will come our way, but we must never be afraid or fearful, for God will always stand by us, and He will always provide us throughout our respective journey in faith.
May the Lord continue to bless us and strengthen us, and may He give us all the courage to live our lives with faith from now on. May God bless us all and our every good works and endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.