Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the need for us all to embrace God’s calling and to seek Him wholeheartedly as Christians, living our lives well and righteously at all times, so that each and every one may remain firmly rooted in the path that God Himself has shown us and guided us through. We must always strive to avoid the corrupting power of sin and evil, the temptations that are always ever present all around us, so that we may not be swayed away from the righteous path towards God.
In our first reading today, we heard of the moment when Elijah went all the way to Mount Sinai after a long journey of forty days and forty nights from the land of Israel, during the time when he fled the intense persecution and hunt against him by the forces of his enemies. Elijah went up Mount Sinai and God showed Himself to him through a series of phenomena, preceded by the coming of earthquakes and strong winds, and eventually revealing Himself to Elijah, who therefore stood in the very Presence of God much as how Moses once did, during the time of the Exodus of the Israelites. Elijah pleaded with the Lord, stating the frustrating conditions suffered by the faithful and how wicked the people of Israel had been.
God had been guiding Elijah all throughout the way during his ministry among the Israelites, and He told him that He was sending him again to the midst of the Israelites and revealed what He would do for the people that He loved so much and yet were so stubborn in refusing to believe in Him and refusing to turn away from their sinful past. He would raise a new king over the Israelites, Jehu, who would later on destroy the house and descendants of Ahab, who had led the Israelites into great sin against God, and Hazael, the king of Aram who would punish the sinful Israelites, and finally, God had chosen Elisha to be the prophet succeeding Elijah in his work among the Israelites.
Elijah was called to go onto that great mission, and he would have to suffer more, but God would be with him, guiding him and providing for him, and He would not leave him alone in the struggle against those who refused to believe in Him. And through that revelation, God also showed how the time of reckoning for those who continued to oppose Him and His servants, those who have rejected Him and His Law, like king Ahab and all those who continued to oppose Him and His servants. God would punish those who deserve that punishment because by their sins, they had led many others into sin and damnation as well.
In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding the matter of living their lives with faith. He told them to be righteous in their actions and deeds, to be truly faithful in all things and not to be easily swayed by the temptations of their flesh and bodies, and by any temptations of worldly desires. The Lord told them all metaphorically to remind them that each and every one of us as the children and people of God are called to holiness in each one of our lives. He wants us to remove from our hearts and minds the temptations of sin and evil, and to excise from our hearts, minds and our entire being, the despicable corruption of sin.
When the Lord told His disciples to cut off their hands and legs, and take out their eyes should those things led them to sin, He was in fact warning them of the seriousness and great dangers of sin, so much so that sin caused by the temptation of our flesh can lead us all to fall into damnation in hell, a suffering for eternity that I am sure none of us will want to suffer should we be aware of the terrible fate awaiting those who still continue to stubbornly reject the love and compassionate mercy of God. But at the same time, we also should not try to understand what the Lord said literally either, as He was using that comparison and language to highlight the importance of repentance from sin for us. We have to turn away from sin and embrace God’s righteous ways as soon as we can.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are reminded that as Christians we have to be genuine in faith, and we will be judged based on our righteous or wicked deeds, and we will be held accountable be it whether we are obedient to God and His Law, or whether we are rebellious and disregarding His path and truth. The choice is in our hands, whether we want to follow and obey the Lord, or whether we want to go and forge our own path in life, which more likely than not will lead us down the path to ruin, for without God we are nothing, and without His guidance, it will be very easy for us to lose our path.
Let us all therefore remind ourselves and one another to be faithful to God, to listen to Him and distance ourselves from worldly temptations and other things that can lead us down the path of ruin and sin, and let us all also embrace and answer God’s call, just as He has called and sent the prophet Elijah to minister to the people of Israel and others, so that by our actions and deeds, rooted in our faith in God, we may inspire many more people to come to believe in God as well. Let us also help one another to persevere through the trials and challenges that we may face in our lives as faithful Christians, now and always. Amen.