Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all brought to reflect on the Lord’s intentions in leading us all to Himself, that all may find salvation through Him and be saved. He has revealed to us His amazing love, compassion and kindness, and He will not abandon us to the darkness and destruction. He provided us all that we need and gave us all ultimately, His true love manifested in Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.
In our first reading today, as we heard from the Book of the prophet Samuel, God had chosen Saul to be the king over His people, after they all had demanded Samuel to give them a king to rule over them. Saul was called from a humble beginning, hailing from one of the smallest and often least important among the tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin and also from among its smallest families and houses. Saul was also physically distinctive and imposing, although initially he did not know of what God planned for him.
Samuel then poured the oil over Saul’s head, anointing him as king over all Israel, handing over the leadership and guidance over the Israelites to his hand, as their king and new leader. Samuel told Saul what would be expected of him and he was to keep all the commandments of God and help to guide the people down the right path, and not into the path of sin. But very soon, Saul would disobey the Lord and followed the whims of his own thoughts and desires, which then resulted in the people being misled into sin, just as Samuel himself had warned the people earlier how having a king to rule over them was not necessarily a good thing.
Nonetheless, the Lord still listened to His people and patiently engaged with them despite their repeated transgressions. He did not give up on them and even after many occasions when they betrayed Him and abandoned Him, He still sent prophets and messengers to help and guide them down the right path. The famous prophets Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel were among the many other prophets, mentioned or unmentioned, known or unknown, all showing the proof of God’s continued love for His people.
Today in our Gospel passage we heard of the Lord Who came to call a tax collector named Levi, the future St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist to follow Him. Levi quickly left everything behind and followed the Lord, and not only that, but he also introduced the Lord to the other tax collectors and they all invited Him to a dinner at Levi’s house. At that time, tax collectors were the ones who were among the most despised and hated among the people as they were seen as greedy, wicked and self-serving in their actions.
But as we can see from the Gospel passage, those same tax collectors eagerly welcomed the Lord into their midst, listening to Him and paying attention to Him. On the contrary, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, who often criticised the Lord and used the opportunity to further criticise Him for interacting and even visiting the house of a tax collector, often refused to listen to Him and continued to harass Him and His disciples, making it difficult for them to do their work.
The Lord still patiently dealt with them and He also reached out to those marginalised tax collectors, as He Himself mentioned that He came to heal the sinners who are in need of healing. In Him alone there is healing and forgiveness of sins, and therefore He made it all available for them and also for us. And we must remember that the Lord Himself also offered the same healing to those very same Pharisees and teachers of the Law who had often made His life and work difficult. That is just how loving God has been towards us.
Now that we know how beloved we have been by God, then we should embrace His love wholeheartedly and seek Him with a renewed heart and faith, full of zeal and commitment to walk in His path and serve Him at all times. Each and every one of us share in the mission that God has entrusted to us, to be the missionaries of our Christian faith and truth, spreading the Good News of Our Lord to all the ends of the whole world. Through our exemplary life, faith and actions more will come to believe in the Lord and be saved together with us.
May the Lord be with us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to live ever more worthily from now on in His presence. May God bless us all in our every actions and endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.