Wednesday, 27 July 2022 : 17th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all presented with the reality of serving and following God, which can often be filled with obstacles and challenges. We may sometimes be discouraged and disheartened by what we may have to face and encounter along the way, but in the end, truly it is worth for us to endure those challenges, trials and sufferings because through those difficult moments and hardships, in the end, we shall be triumphant together with God. But the journey to that may require from us a lot of investment of time and effort.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah in which we heard how the people of God in Judah had treated the prophet badly, persecuted him and oppressed him, while also refusing to listen to him and his words. God had called Jeremiah to follow Him and to do His will, in delivering His message to His people, telling them that if they continued to sin and disobey Him, they would soon face great sufferings, humiliations and catastrophe. Jeremiah was tasked with the hard work of delivering God’s warning to His people as well as the almost impossible task of calling on the people to turn back towards God.

For that, Jeremiah was oppressed, ridiculed and rejected, condemned and made to suffer many things, which made sense his frustrations and unhappiness, as he complained about his hardships and conditions to the Lord, all the stubbornness that the people had shown in refusing to listen to him, in how they had constantly hardened their hearts and minds and repeatedly disobeying the Lord’s Law and commandments. But God was with Jeremiah and all who were faithful to Him. He reassured Jeremiah and all those who had been faithful to Him, that He was with them and would always provided for them in their time of need.

God reassured Jeremiah that He would protect him, and gave him the strength and the power to carry out his missions despite the opposition and hardships that he might have to endure more for the sake of His glory. And true enough, God always protected Jeremiah and when he was under great threat and was almost killed by his enemies, God sent him help through his friends, who persuaded the king to keep him under protection and guard, and that was how Jeremiah survived despite the many hardships he faced and the many threats against even his life throughout his ministry.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus was speaking to His disciples and followers with a parable, known as the parable of the fine treasures, in which He compared the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Heaven with fine pearls and treasures that one ought to find and look for. And as all fine and genuine treasures should be, those who found those treasures would likely do everything that they could to attain the treasures for themselves, even if that meant making the efforts and sacrifices in order to get the treasures. In this manner, it is related to what we have heard from our first reading passage, from the story of Jeremiah.

That is because in order for us to be faithful followers and disciples of the Lord, we often need to make the sacrifices and the effort to follow Him, even if we may have to suffer difficulties and challenges as Jeremiah had experienced. Each and every followers and disciples of the Lord faced different kind of challenges, and all of us will likely face those in our journey of faith. Now, it really depends on us to decide whether we want to follow the Lord or not. What will be our decision then, brothers and sisters in Christ?

All of us are called and reminded of this so that we may discern carefully our path in life. Is Christ and His truth the most important thing that we seek in our lives? Or have we spent a lot of time and effort instead in the pursuit and search for worldly matters and treasures? There are many temptations and pressures all around us, in seeking to subvert us from following God and instead, in doing what the world and what our society find suitable and acceptable for us. That is why many people had lapsed from the faith, precisely because they were seeking an easier path in life.

Let us all not forget that while following worldly paths may seem to be easier and less challenging, they are leading us down the path that we will likely regret forever. Let us all therefore be strong and firm in our faith, and not easily be swayed by those temptations or be coerced by those pressures. We have to believe in the Lord and trust in Him that He will guard and protect us in our lives and ways. Let us instead reaffirm our faith in God and deepen our relationship with Him ever further, and commit ourselves to walk down this path of faith, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

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