Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to keep our faith in the Lord and do not let ourselves be swayed by the temptations of worldliness and vices all around us that we end up falling into the path of doubt and sin just as many of our predecessors had suffered from. We have to learn from their lessons so that we will not end up suffering the same fate as well. Believing in God is something that we have to inculcate in our hearts and minds.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. James in which the Apostle St. James spoke of the expectations for all of us as Christians in what each and every one of us should do in our respective lives. As Christians we have to put our faith and trust in the Lord, and not be easily swayed or frightened by trials and challenges of the world, and we have to believe in His providence and wisdom. We have to put ourselves in His hands and not depend only on our own worldly means and power.
For those who have no faith in God, they will be more easily tempted and swayed to follow the whims of their desires and worldly expectations, and they would also easily falter into the path of sin as they would end up closing their hearts and minds to the Lord and His truth as what had exactly happened to many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, all those who worked hard to oppose the Lord and His many good works, all simply because they were too caught up in their jealousy and their fear of losing their worldly privileges and status.
That was why save for Nicodemus and some others among them like Joseph of Arimathea, many if not most of the Pharisees resisted the Lord for a long time, refusing to believe in His signs and miracles, in all of His wonderful works and the truth found in His Wisdom and words, although they were the ones supposedly most knowledgeable about the Scriptures and the Law, and knew the most about the prophets and their prophecies regarding the coming of the Lord, the Saviour of all, which had come to fruition and fulfilment in Jesus Christ, the One Whom they had seen with their own eyes.
And that was why they still doubted Him and asked Him for signs although obviously they had seen many of those signs. They were the ones who allowed their worldly desires and concerns, their desire to hold onto the power, privilege and status they had, to muddle their thoughts and faith, and ended up blinding them to the truth of God. They were the ones who were healthy in their physical vision and yet, blind in their spiritual vision as their own hearts and minds had been closed up tight against God, not allowing Him to enter even as He continued to knock on their doors.
That is why today, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are also reminded of this so that we may be more vigilant and careful in life, reminded that we should do our very best to follow the Lord and to be faithful to Him. We must restrain ourselves and our desires, and be vigilant against the temptations to sin against God. We should not let our worldly attachments to delude us and to distract us from the need for us to be faithful to the Lord. We are called to follow Him wholeheartedly and are reminded of this today through what we have heard from the Scriptures.
Today we can also look upon the great examples set by two of our holy and faithful predecessors, namely that of St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the two great servants of God and missionaries of faith, who are also the Patron Saints and Protector of the heart of Christendom in Europe. They were remembered for their dedication and great works in bringing the Christian faith to the people in Central and Eastern parts of Europe, the areas inhabited by the Slavic peoples, which by the efforts of St. Cyril and St. Methodius became Christians, which remain so until the present day.
St. Cyril and St. Methodius dedicated themselves to the Lord and to the mission entrusted to them, and they both spent their lives to minister to the people among whom they had been sent to proclaim the truth of God, and they were also remembered for their role in translating the texts of the Sacred Scriptures into the local Slavic language and in the development of the Cyrillic alphabet which are still in use until this day. Their contributions and hard work were truly inspirational and all of us Christians can do well to follow in their footsteps and heed their examples.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we going to be idle any longer? Are we going to ignore our calling as Christians and turn a deaf ear to the Lord’s call and to the plight of our brothers and sisters who are in need of our attention and love? Are we going to continue to be idle in our lives and instead indulging in our own personal desires and ambitions? Let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and conviction, and let us do our best to glorify the Lord by our lives and follow in the footsteps of His faithful servants, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, to walk ever more courageously in proclaiming the love of God and His truth in our community today. May God be with us always and may He bless us at all times. Amen.