Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called and reminded by the Lord not to be corrupt in our actions and deeds, in our way of life and how we treat one another in this life. We have to keep in mind that we are all called to seek life that is greater than what we are often desiring and are familiar with. We are called to a life of holiness and virtue, to be filled with the grace and blessings of God in all things, and to dedicate ourselves to the path that God has shown us.
In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. James the Apostle, we heard the words of St. James speaking against the actions of the rich and the mighty, whom at that time often oppressed and manipulated the poor and the weak for their own selfish desires and benefits. Many of the rich and the powerful often sought to advance their own ambitions and to fulfil their own desires and plans, which often led to the sufferings of others through exploitation and many other things that man often did in order to secure their own advantages and privileges, and which often led to confrontations when their desires were not fulfilled.
Do note that St. James did not condemn the rich for the sake of condemning them, and neither did he or the Church condemn the rich as they were. Rather, what St. James was addressing, in truth, was the attitudes and actions carried out by many among the rich because of their wickedness and inability to resist the worldly temptations all around them. Just as I myself often mentioned in earlier occasions, wealth and riches themselves are not inherently evil or wicked. We must remember that riches and goods of the world when used appropriately and for good purposes can even be great boon and source of joy for many people.
Rather, it is our own often unhealthy attachment and obsession over those riches and worldly goods that we have to be wary for. Otherwise, as many of our predecessors have experienced, we may find it difficult for us to resist those many temptations and may end up enriching ourselves or seeking our own personal happiness and pleasures while causing hurt, suffering and pain to others. And it is by these actions and wicked deeds that we shall be judged by the Lord in the end. That is why we must do our best to be righteous and virtuous in all things just as the Lord had told us to do.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord reminding His disciples and followers to be good role models in faith, that they should be exemplary in their actions and be inspiration to one another. Their actions and deeds, their words and interactions should not bring about division and scandal to the Church and the faith. Most importantly, they must not mislead and corrupt the innocent faithful and members of the community to the wrong path by their actions. And this is why, it is important for us to discern carefully our path going forward in life, in obeying God and doing what He has commanded us to do.
The Lord also spoke rather harshly about how one ought to cut off their feet and legs, limbs, or their eyes should those parts led them to sin against God. But just as I mentioned earlier regarding the matter of the rich and the powerful, those body parts and organs of ours are not inherently evil on their own. Rather, it is our own desires, our hearts, our minds and thoughts that can mislead us down the wrong path should we allow the corruption of sin to run free through our hearts and minds, that is if we give the devil free rein to lead us down the path of sin and death.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to resist the temptations to sin, and resist the allures of worldly temptations of glory, fame, wealth, pleasures among many other things, and trying our best to prevent us from developing unhealthy attachments and obsessions over worldly things. Instead, all of us are called to remember all that the Lord had taught and shown us, in how we ought to be righteous, loving and dedicated in following Him. We are all called to do our best to be the bearers of God’s light and truth in our darkened world today, to be His witnesses among our own communities and in various places we are at.
Now, are we willing and able to contribute to the best of our abilities in doing so? Are we able to give our best to the Lord and focus ourselves on Him? The Lord has given us many opportunities, a lot of blessings and talents for us to make use of and to share with those who have need of them. Let us do whatever we can, and wherever we are able to, to help one another to be ever more faithful to God. May the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us in our every good works, efforts and endeavours. Amen.