Saturday, 2 July 2022 : 13th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to embrace the new life in God and leave behind our past existence that is defiled and corrupted by sin. God has called us all into this new existence and provided us with the path to follow, so that through Him, we shall find the way to the true happiness and everlasting joy which we can find only through the Lord alone. That is why He has always tried His best to reach out to us, helping us and guiding us to find our way back to Him, and so that we will not be lost to eternity of suffering and darkness.

In our first reading today, the Lord continued to speak to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel through His prophet Amos. He told them all of the coming of good days once again through His guidance and help, that those people who would be enduring persecution and exile because of their sins and disobedience, would one day return to their homeland, their descendants and all, when all of them have returned to the Lord and been reconciled with Him. This showed that God in truth, truly loved His people, even though they had sinned against Him and been stubborn in their ways.

Prior to this, if we have paid attention to some of the earlier passages taken from the same Book of the prophet Amos earlier in the week, we will realise that God had proclaimed the destruction and the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel, all because of their wickedness and disobedience. And because of all the refusal and stubbornness of the people in continuing to walk down the path of sin, they would have to endure the bitter consequences, the humiliations and the sufferings due to them because of their wickedness. But this is not what the Lord truly desired or wanted from them.

As mentioned, the Lord loves each and every one of us, because we are all His beloved ones. However, our sins are great barriers and obstacles in the path that we are walking towards Him. And as long as we continue to remain in the state of sin, in disobedience against God, as what happened to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel of the time of Amos, we will suffer the consequences of those sins. But what we all must know and be aware about is that if we turn away from sin and willingly accept God’s forgiveness and mercy, then the path to His grace and love will be opened to us.

We have God Who is always ever generous with His mercy and kindness, and all that remains is for us to commit ourselves to Him and the path that He has shown before us. The question is then, how willing are we to follow Him and to embrace His mercy and forgiveness? If God has been so generous with His mercy, and promised even those who have rebelled against Him, the promise of redemption and true happiness, then we may wonder why is it then that so many of us are still yet in the state of sin and rebellion against God?

That is because of our pride, our ego, our stubbornness and all those things that prevented us from seeking God’s love and mercy. We hardened our hearts and minds against the Lord because we are too proud and blinded by our hubris and inability to accept the fact that we can make mistakes and that we are imperfect, corrupted by sin. We need God to help lead us out of the darkness, and it is only with God’s help alone that we can find our way towards the light and the hope that He offers us freely and generously all these while, waiting for us to take up on His offer.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to the disciples of St. John the Baptist and to His disciples, using the parable of the wine and the wineskin, and the cloth and the patch. The disciples of St. John the Baptist were questioning the Lord’s disciples on why they were not fasting in the same manner as the Pharisees and the disciples of St. John themselves. This was where the Lord told them all the parable, to highlight the fact that His way is the new way that superseded the old path that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were following, especially in the strict and excessive misapplication and misunderstanding of the Law of God.

That is yet another calling from the Lord for us to change our way of life and to embrace Him with renewed faith and commitment. Each one of us have to do our best to do God’s will and to turn our back to our sinful past, such that by our repentance and by the change in our way of life, we may truly be worthy of God, and like the Israelites in the past, we may come to share in the Lord’s glorious inheritance and promises, His grace and love once again. God is ever so merciful and forgiving, and all that remains is for us to loosen the doors of our hearts and minds, to welcome God into our midst and embrace Him wholeheartedly from now on.

May God be with us always, and may He bless each and every one of us, strengthening and guiding us in our journey throughout our lives. May He remain with us and be our Hope and the source of our inspiration, that we may always ever seek to glorify Him by our worthy lives and actions. Amen.

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