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 Lord in the Scriptures we are all called to remember yet again the patient love of God which He had shown us despite everything that we had done to hurt Him, in betraying Him and in refusing to obey His Law and commandments. The Lord has shown us that great love and compassion even when we have openly rebelled against Him and abandoned Him as the past history of God’s people had shown us and as we heard in our Scripture passages today.
In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Kings, relating the story of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, we heard of how Israel and Judah, the two halves of the once united Kingdom of Israel, were separated further after Jeroboam, the first king of the northern kingdom resolved to keep the kingdoms and their people further apart by establishing his own centres of worship in Bethel and Dan, rivalling the House of God in Jerusalem as he feared that the people would soon reject him and return to the House of David. Worse still, he made the likeness of golden calves as idols for his people to worship instead of God, a direct reference to the golden calf that the Israelites had made for themselves at Mount Sinai.
King Jeroboam had been given the ten tribes of Israel by God as a division of the united Kingdom of Israel because of the sins of Solomon that had misled the people down the path of sin. However, that was not intended to split the people apart and the introduction of further pagan worship. King Solomon caused the people to sin because he introduced pagan worship and idols for the sake of his many wives, and as I mentioned earlier this week, likely to gain diplomatic recognition and further his ambitions among his neighbours.
Yet, King Jeroboam made it even worse than Solomon because he who had been entrusted as the safekeeper of the ten tribes of the Israelites actually did what Solomon had done and worse. Again, just like in Solomon’s case, we have seen how the temptations of the world could lead to our downfall into sin. Even the strongest and the most faithful could fall into sin when they allow themselves be tempted and when they let themselves be persuaded and coerced into doing things that bring themselves pleasures at the cost of their faith and obedience to God.
Yet, despite all that, the Lord still continued to reach out to His people most patiently, and He still cared for them and wanted them to be reconciled with Him, sending messengers and His servants to them to remind them of the love which God always has for each and every one of us. The Lord has always been patient and He reached out to us sinners, to help us to get out from our predicament and to assist us in finding our way towards His salvation and freedom from the tyranny of sin and the bondage to evil. He sent us His own Son to be our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to bring us the perfect love of God manifested before us.
As we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord was concerned about all those people who came and followed Him, all the multitudes of people who came and gathered in their thousands to listen to the Lord and His teachings, seeking His healing and trying to find Him and a way out of their sufferings. They all followed the Lord with great faith, and they were all hungry without food because the Lord often preached and worked in the wilderness away from towns and villages, and yet the people still flocked to Him and sought Him.
The Lord did not just take good care of them spiritually but physically as well. He also wanted them all to be filled and satisfied, and when His disciples brought a mere seven loaves of bread, completely insufficient to feed the entire four thousand men and many thousands more of women and children, the Lord miraculously multiplied those loaves of bread until there were enough for everyone to eat and then with still seven full baskets of leftovers. The Lord fed His people and cared for them, even though they were sinners and had often rebelled against Him and abandoned Him.
And not only that, but we also know how the Lord even gave it all for us, by giving His own Most Precious Body and Blood, He, the Bread of Life, offering Himself freely to us so that all of us who partake of Him and share in the Eucharist, the gift of the bread and wine turned into Our Lord’s own Most Precious and Holy Body and Blood, that we shall have eternal life through Him. Through Him we have received the assurance of eternal life and true joy surpassing all other things, and through Christ we have found this new hope in life.
Are we all willing to embrace God’s love and kindness, His compassion and mercy for us? Are we still stubborn in our refusal to reject sin and all of our past wicked ways? Let us all discern these things carefully and remind ourselves just how fortunate we are to have been truly beloved by God all these while. May God be with us always and may He strengthen us in our resolve to follow Him, and may He give us the courage to embrace His forgiveness and mercy, that we may draw ever closer to Him, trusting in His love and kindness, in all that He had done for us, and devoting ourselves, our time and effort for His greater glory, always. Amen.