Thursday, 9 June 2022 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Deacons)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that as Christians we have to be genuine in faith and we have to be righteous in all things, and God will provide for us in our time of need. We have to follow Him wholeheartedly and commit ourselves to His cause, that we have to live in accordance to the path that He has shown us, the path of Christian virtues, righteousness and obedience to God in all the things that we say, act and do. We have to do our best to be good inspirations to one another in faith, from now on.

In our first reading today, we heard from the First Book of Kings the conversation and encounter between Elijah and king Ahab of Israel after Elijah had triumphed against all the priests of Baal and proven that the Lord, the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was truly the one and only true God at Mount Carmel. At that time, the whole land had suffered from three years without rain that led to great drought and famine, all because of their refusal to believe in God and their king’s efforts to promote the worship of the pagan idols and gods like Baal and Asherah, persecuting the faithful and the prophets sent by God to remind the people.

Elijah told Ahab that God would show His power before the people, and how while He has withheld the rain for a whole period of three years, then He also has the power to bring the rain back to the land. Thus, the Lord showed His people and called on them to repent from their sinful ways because even though He despised their sins and wickedness, He still loved them very much and wanted them to be reconciled with Him, not to be lost from Him forever. As if they continued on with their rebelliousness and sins, they would fall into damnation and eternity of sufferings in hell, and that is not what God intended to happen to any one of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord speaking to His disciples telling them all to be righteous and good, to follow the way of the Lord wholeheartedly more than what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Lord had done. For those people imposed very harsh and strict interpretation of the Law of God, of customs, rules and regulations on the people and yet, they themselves were hypocrites who often did not do what they had said, and many of them did not truly have faith and love for God as they should have. Hence, the Lord told His disciples to be truly faithful to God and not to follow the faith of those hypocrites.

That is why, today each and every one of us are reminded and challenged as Christians to be the beacons of God’s light and truth in our communities today. We have to be genuine witnesses and followers of God in all the things we say and do, or else, we will end up being no better than hypocrites and worse still, we may even discourage and turn people away from the Lord because of our actions and all that we do which kept us away from the truth of God and His love. And the temptation for us to do this is truly great, brothers and sisters in Christ, just as the people of Israel in the past had constantly fallen again and again into sin.

In our world today, there are plenty of temptations, false idols and other things that can easily mislead us in our journey of faith through life. There are plenty of distractions like the pursuit of worldly pleasures, wealth and other things that we are very often accustomed with, the desire for power and glory, for fame and human praise among other things. All these are the new idols and false gods that can keep us away from doing what we should have done as Christians, and in making us to continue to sin because of our desires, greed and ambitions that made us to bring suffering and unhappiness to others around us, just because we selfishly seek our own pleasures and happiness.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord reminded His disciples and therefore all of us as well, what Christians are called to be, that is to be filled with love both for God and for one another, for their fellow brothers and sisters. Christians are challenged to be forgiving to one another, to be peacemakers and to show love, care and concern for their fellow brethren, and to be ever mindful of the needs and sufferings of others, so that we may reach out and help one another whenever we can. It is by this love and genuine care and concern that others will come to know that we are Christians, because through our love, others will also come to experience the ever generous love of God.

Remember how I said earlier today that God still loved His people despite their sins and transgressions? It is that same attitude which each and every one of us must have as well. We have to learn to love one another more, to be more patient, understanding and forgiving, instead of fomenting hatred and vengeance, or instead of being solely focused and emphasising on our own selfish desires and needs. As Christians, we are all called and challenged to be better and to follow the Lord in all the things we do in our lives, so that our lives will shine with His light and be the beacons of His truth to all.

May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our resolve and conviction to live in accordance with His ways and to devote ourselves in obeying Him and doing His will, for His greater glory and for the salvation of more souls. May God bless us always, in our every good endeavours. Amen.

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