Thursday, 28 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 called and reminded of the love that God has shown us all, and everything that He has provided for us, in calling on all of us to return to Him, to find Him and to be reconciled with Him, so that we are no longer lost to Him but instead be moulded into a new people, a people who are faithful to God and His path, His truth and ways, and a new people who have embraced wholeheartedly the Law and commandments of God. That is also what each one of us as Christians have been called to do in our lives.

In our first reading today, from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard the Lord speaking to His people through Jeremiah, using the example of a potter working on his spoilt and broken pottery in delivering His point and truth across. He told them all through Jeremiah that just as the potter reshaped and patiently moulded the potter piece that was misshapen and broken, hence, He, the Lord, God of Israel and all also was like a Potter to the people, moulding and guiding them as a people, leading them down the path of righteousness, and patiently guiding them when they became astray, sending prophets and messengers to remind and help them.

The Lord used that comparison in order to make His people to understand just how patient He was in helping and guiding all of them, even if they were to be stubborn and unflinching in their position and behaviour. The Lord had done that for hundreds of years, kept on reminding the people through many generations of prophets and servants, sending them to both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In occasions, they succeeded and helped the people to return to the right path, but the people often proved more stubborn, falling back again and again into their sinful ways.

Those who dwell, work and possess pottery especially back then might know just how difficult it is to make, craft and prepare a pottery work. It often requires patience and precision in order for a good quality pottery piece to be made, and sometimes it requires a long time and repeated efforts in order to achieve the desired product and quality. And what is amazing with pottery is that, as they are being made, they are flexible and easily adaptable in shape, and at the hands of a skilled artisan and potter, it can truly become a great piece of art and masterpiece. The Lord is that masterful potter Who moulded His people, His work of art, ever so patiently and kindly.

However, once the piece of work is completed, the result of the product will depend a lot on the pottery piece itself. If they are lacking in certain substances or parts, then it is more likely than not that the final product may be less than desired in terms of quality. That is what happens when the materials used are defective and flawed. And all of these represent us in our current state of life, just as it was for the Israelites, the people of God to whom Jeremiah spoke to. We are all flawed beings, sinful and corrupted by those sins we have committed. Yet, the Lord, our Potter, Guide and Master ceaselessly and continuously guided us on our way and journey to Him.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord spoke to His disciples regarding the kingdom of Heaven, in which He compared to a great net filled with various fishes of all types and sizes. The Angels will gather all of them and eventually sort them out. Those that are good will be gathered and kept, while the bad ones will be discarded. This is something that certainly many of the Lord’s followers and disciples understand, many of them being fishermen themselves or were working closely with them. The Lord told them all that all the faithful should be like the good fishes or else, they would face the consequences of their own evils and wickedness in the end.

How is that so? The net represents the Church of God, God’s kingdom in this world. To His Kingdom, God has called us all and invited us all to enter into His Presence, through His Church. And we have been given the opportunities and the means for us to embrace God and His ways, His truth and love through what we have heard in the Church. But it is really up to us whether we want to embrace God and His ways, or whether we prefer to follow our own paths and disobey God. If we continue to disobey the Lord and walk in the path of sin, then in the end, we are going to be like the bad fishes to be discarded at the end of time.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, while we still have the time and opportunities to do so, let us all discern carefully our path in life, our actions and works, our attitudes so that we may live our lives more worthily of the Lord from now on. Let us all let the Lord to shape and mould our lives, as our loving Potter and Master, so that our lives may be ever more worthy of Him, and that our lives and actions be ever more attuned to His will, in all the things we do, and that we may grow ever closer to Him, now and always, evermore. May God be with us all and bless our every good works, efforts and endeavours. Amen.