Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are presented with the continuation of the story of king Ahab and Naboth, the vineyard owner, who was put to death by the order of the king upon the plotting of his wicked wife, queen Jezebel. Upon committing such a terrible and sinful act, king Ahab, who had seized Naboth’s property as his own, faced the wrath of God that was delivered to him through the prophet Elijah. The Lord knew all that Ahab had done in committing the vile murder of Naboth in order to gain his property and land unlawfully, and God was angry at the great wickedness he had shown.
That was why Elijah proclaimed God’s upcoming retribution and punishment for Ahab and his family. The wickedness that they had committed would result in the extermination of his entire family, by whose actions the entire land of Israel and its people had been led down the path of ruin. Ahab and Jezebel would face terrible deaths, and then his entire family itself would be wiped out and destroyed from the face of the earth. This was the rightful consequences of what wickedness that Ahab and his family had caused, in persecuting all the faithful people of God, and in the efforts they made to impose pagan and idolatrous worship among the Israelites.
Yet, despite all the anger that God had at Ahab and his family, when Ahab himself remonstrated and showed great regret and humility before God, abashing himself and seeking for His mercy, God did not ignore him. In fact, as we ourselves had heard, that God had pity on Ahab, and while everything would still happen as He had said it, but He would postpone the destruction of Ahab’s family until after Ahab himself had passed on, and not immediately. This showed us all that first, sin is something truly serious, and there are grim consequences for our sins, especially the greater they are. But secondly, at the same time, we must not forget God’s love and mercy, which He freely showed all who seek Him with genuine and contrite hearts.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord telling His disciples again how they should behave and act as His followers. They are all called to love and to genuinely show that affection, care and compassion for each other. They should not just only love those who love them back or those who are good to us, as the Lord said that anyone else also could have done that, even those who were wicked. After all, was that not what Jezebel did for Ahab, when she helped him to obtain Naboth’s land unlawfully, at the expense of Naboth? No, that is not what the followers of Christ, that all of us as Christians, should be doing in our lives.
Instead, as Christians, each and every one of us should heed the Lord’s words and follow His examples in how He has reached out to us with perfect and genuine love, love that is unconditional and patient, love that is never-ending and enduring. All of us are encouraged to love one another unconditionally and we are all called to be role models and examples of that unconditional love just as the Lord Himself has shown us His love despite us all having treated Him badly, rejecting Him and betraying Him for various idols and other distractions in life. Each and every one of us are sinners, and yet, God willingly reached out to us in order to heal us and to treat us from our maladies that is our sins.
The Lord Himself showed from His Passion, His suffering and death on the Cross how He loved each one of us regardless of our sins. Each one of us are precious and important to Him, and we have all been very fortunate to have been beloved by God in this way. He forgave even those who have persecuted Him, betrayed Him and handed Him over to be scourged and eventually killed because of His alleged crimes. He loved them patiently and prayed for all of them, that they might also turn away from their sinful ways and embrace once again, God’s righteous ways, His compassionate love and forgiveness.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are challenged to love as how Christians are expected to love. We are all called to be the bearers of this genuine love of God, love that is selfless and pure, coming from the Lord Himself. We should not allow ourselves to be distracted any further by our desires and the many temptations in this world, the temptations of sin and desire, as what Ahab had done, in failing to resist his greed and desires and leading him to fall deeper and deeper into sin. Instead, we should strive to free ourselves from sin, and to embrace the righteous path of God, doing whatever we can to help one another in this same journey of faith.
Let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed conviction, dedicating our efforts and works for the greater glory of His Name, and for the greater good of His Church, all the faithful, our fellow brothers and sisters. Let us all be filled with the Christ-like love that each one of us have been expected to have, to love tenderly and to love even those who have made our lives difficult and hated us. Through this love, all will know that we are truly God’s people, and through our love, more will come to believe in God and be saved as well. May God be glorified through our works, now and always, forevermore. Amen.