Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to have faith in the Lord, to trust in Him and to walk ever more faithfully in His path. As Christians, all of us have to follow the Lord and His Law, His commandments, all of His precepts and ways, or otherwise we are no better than hypocrites and unbelievers. As Christians we are called to be exemplary in our way of life, in our actions, words and deeds so that we may inspire others to follow in our footsteps and be faithful to God as well.
In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard the Lord speaking to His people regarding those who refused to believe in Him and instead depending on human power and might, in worldly things rather than believing in the providence of the Almighty. The Lord also encouraged all those who have kept their faith in Him, that they would be blessed and God would always remain with them no matter what, and they had no need to be afraid because in the end, they will triumph with God and receive true joy and glory with Him.
Contextually, we have to understand that the prophet Jeremiah brought God’s words and message to the people in the kingdom of Judah, which was then on its last days, but they still refused to believe in God despite everything that God had done for them and despite all the messengers and prophets He had sent to them to remind them of His love and of what would happen if they continued walking down the path of sin. Instead of believing in God, many of them believed in the falsehoods of the false prophets, some of whom contested against Jeremiah in as written in another part of the record of the prophet’s life, and deluded the king and the people of Judah to trust in them instead of God’s words.
To that extent, the king and the people of Judah chose to depend on their more powerful neighbours, entrusting themselves to the protection of Egypt, which was one of the major powers alongside the then rising Neo-Babylonian Empire under King Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah was one of the few who spoke against doing such a foolish act, depending on one power against another, and he was the only one who dared to speak up against the king and those false prophets, which led to him being persecuted for his faith and dedication to his work. He was almost killed if not for the help from some of his few remaining friends and allies.
The Lord therefore wanted to reassure those remaining few faithful ones who still kept their faith in God, that they had no need to be worried or afraid of their fate. Whatever things that would happen to them, as long as they were faithful, God would take care of them, protect them and guide them. As proven later on, with the downfall of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah, and even though many of the people were carried off into exile in Babylon and other lands, but God always remembered them.
And even though they had to endure hardships and humiliation, but in the end, they and their descendants would rejoice with great happiness when He led them back to return to their own land as it happened under the reign of King Cyrus the Great of Persia. The King of Persia would allow the people of God to return to their homeland in triumph, to rebuild their cities and to restore their lost glory and rebuild the Temple and House of God in their midst, supported by the King of Persia and his kingdom.
In our second reading today, then we heard from St. Paul the Apostle in his Epistle and letter to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, as he spoke of regarding the matter of Christ’s resurrection from the dead to the Christians in Corinth. St. Paul reminded all of them that their faith was all about believing in the Risen Lord, their Lord and Master Who had risen from the dead and was triumphant. And because of this, all of them could be assured of the ultimate victory and joy, the true happiness that will come from God because of His victory over death through the Cross.
For the Lord has sent His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, into this world, appearing in the flesh, and through Him, God has made clear His promises and reassured all of us that our faith in Him are well placed and we will never be disappointed. The Lord reassured His people that if they had suffered and endured challenges and trials in this world all these while especially because of their faith in Him, they shall not be disappointed because the Lord would remember them and give them their due in its time, in the time that God Himself deems appropriate.
The Lord will provide for His faithful ones just as He had provided for their ancestors during the time of the prophet Jeremiah and beyond. He has given His own Son as the proof of all that, and through Him all of us have received the sure hope of eternal life, because by His Cross, bearing the multitudes of our sins and the punishments due to those sins, we have shared in His suffering and death, as He bore all of our faults upon His own shoulders, and through that, He shared with us His own glorious Resurrection, triumphant over death and sin. He showed us all that sin and death no longer have the final say over us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to the Scripture passages and recall these words of the Lord, let us all therefore seek to trust more in the Lord and believe in Him and His love. Let us all no longer doubt Him and strive to resist all the temptations in this world, all trying to mislead us down the path of sin and evil. Let us do our best to persevere through the challenges and trials that we may encounter in life, and try to be inspiration to one another in how we remain faithful to the Lord despite all the difficulties and obstacles we may have to face in the midst of our journey towards the Lord.
All of us are called to be witnesses of His truth and love, to be the bearers of His compassionate mercy and the Good News, to reveal Him, Our Risen Lord and Saviour, to all the people of all the nations just as He had commended this mission to the Apostles. All of us are part of this effort and work, which He has entrusted to His Church. The Lord gave us the gifts, talents and abilities to do what we can in giving ourselves and our time, our opportunities and efforts to spread the truth of His salvation and Good News to more people, to the far ends of the earth.
That is our calling as Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ. And we cannot truly commit ourselves to the cause of the Lord unless we have truly embraced the Lord and His ways, resisting the temptations to sin, striving to be faithful in all things, in our every actions and deeds. All of us are called to do God’s will, to practice our faith sincerely and with conviction, at all times. We are all given the many opportunities to touch the lives of our fellow brothers and sisters around us, in these opportunities afforded to us.
Now, are we going to remain idle? Are we going to ignore the Lord’s call and keep our own gifts and abilities hidden, or to misuse them for our own selfish purposes? We are all given the freedom to choose our path, and we have to make a clear choice whether we want to follow the Lord wholeheartedly or to allow our path to be swayed by the many worldly temptations that lead us down the path of sin and destruction. Let us recall the love that God has shown us, His reassurance and encouragement to us. Let us not be discouraged if we meet hardships and hurdles, and instead help one another to endure them together as one united people by faith, in the Church of God.
May the Lord continue to be with us and guide us in our respective journey of faith through life, that we may always grow ever stronger in faith in Him, and do our best to be good role models for our fellow brothers and sisters whenever we can, bringing hope and encouragement to a world shrouded in darkness, and bearing God’s light and love with us as we carry on living our lives in this world. May God bless our actions and every endeavours, all for the greater glory of His Name. Amen.