Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord through the Scriptures, each one of us are called and reminded of the obligations that each and every one of us have as Christians, as the followers of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to do His will and to obey His commandments. We are all called to do what we can in living our lives with faith, committing ourselves to His cause and doing all that we can to live good and virtuous Christian lives while at the same time also fulfilling our obligations to the secular world and states, wherever we are living in.
In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we heard of the story of the calling of the prophet Ezekiel, who received a glorious vision of God on His Heavenly Throne, surrounded by Angels, the Seraphim and the Cherubim in all of His glory. He saw all the wonders of God, the might of the Lord surrounded by His mighty servants, the glorious Seraphim, the wonderful Cherubim and the steadfast Thrones. To him, having seen such a vision, Ezekiel must have indeed been terrified and amazed at the same time, and this vision is told to us all so that we may know, just as Ezekiel had experienced it, that the Lord our God, is truly Almighty and Lord of all the Universe.
This is the truth about the Lord Whom we believe in and serve all the days of our lives. Our very existence in this world are all due to God’s will and works, and we are all His people. Each and every one of us are God’s people and servants, and we ought to know Who it is that we believe in and Who it is that we are serving. How can we know the way to follow and serve the Lord faithfully if we do not even know Who our Lord is? That is something that each one of us ought to ponder in our hearts and minds. We may know about it and yet at the same time, we do not appreciate its significance or importance.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the words of the Lord speaking to us through His own words in speaking to His disciples regarding how He was to be handed over to His enemies, and would suffer grievously for the sake of many people, offering Himself as the perfect and worthy sacrifice, for the salvation of all mankind and the whole world. The Lord revealed and had in fact repeatedly mentioned this to His disciples, again and again, but many of them up to then still failed to understand the significance of those words that the Lord spoke about. They only fully realised and understood their meaning after everything had happened as the Lord said it would be.
That is Who our Lord is, the same Almighty and glorious God Whom Ezekiel saw in his vision in Babylon. The same God Who loves us all mankind from the very beginning and Who loves us so much that He gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Man, to be born of Mary, His most blessed Mother and entering into this world so that through Him and all that He had done for us, by His most loving sacrifice on the Cross and by His revelation of God’s truths, all of us have been called and brought into the promise of eternal glory and true happiness with Him.
Then, in addition, within our Gospel passage today, we also heard the Lord speaking with regards to the matter of paying taxes, through which the temple tax collectors and the Lord’s opponents certainly would have wanted to test Him and see what He would say with regards to paying taxes to the Roman authorities and to the Temple as were required of the people at the time. If the Lord had answered that He and His disciples should not pay for either the temple tax or the Romans, it would have been dangerous for Him, as they could have easily accused Him of not obeying the Law and commandments of God as revealed by Moses, or of being a traitor to the Romans.
But the Lord wisely and aptly told His disciples and those tax collectors that they all ought to give their due to the powers of the world, although technically as children of God, they were not truly bound to their authority or obliged to fulfil the bonds given to them. What the Lord told His disciples to do was essentially telling them that they should obey the laws of the land wherever possible, as long as those laws do not contradict Divine law of God. One ought to obey God first and foremost, but at the same time, he or she should also be good citizens and people of this world as much as they can.
Doing otherwise would likely result in difficulties for them as they will face even more persecutions and hardships in the effort to evangelise and in spreading the truth of God. Hence, each and every one of us as Christians, as God’s disciples and followers should do whatever we can to obey both God’s Law and commandments as well as the laws and rules of the land, of whichever states and authorities that had dominion over us in this world. All of us should be role models in living our lives virtuously so that in all things we may always be filled with righteousness and be exemplary in our deeds so as to inspire others to follow our good examples, and more importantly, so that through us, God may be glorified and known by many more people.
Today all of us have the great example of the famous St. Dominic as an inspiration to follow, as we celebrate and rejoice together on his Feast day. St. Dominic, also known as St. Dominic de Guzman was the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order. He was a Spanish priest who had been known for his great faith and charitable acts since his early youth, and he did a lot of work especially in the area of conversion and missionary works, as he was involved in the preaching work and ministry against the heretical teachings, particularly the Cathars in the southern regions of what is now France.
St. Dominic established the foundation of his new religious order, dedicating himself and all others to a new way of life, focusing on God and leading a more ascetic and holy way of living, distancing themselves from worldly temptations and desires, and spending the time and effort to get ever closer to God. And through his extensive travels and missionary works, St. Dominic inspired many people to turn back towards the Lord in faith and many people were also inspired to join his religious order. He showed great example of faith and became a great inspiration for many down the centuries, and his devotion to Our Lady, the Blessed Mother of God and one of the earliest use of the rosary also brought many great graces for the Church and the people of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today therefore let us all do our very best to renew our commitment to God, knowing that He is truly our Lord, Master and King, the same Almighty One surrounded by His mighty Angels as seen by the prophet Ezekiel. Let us all do our best so that in our actions, words and deeds we may inspire others in the manner that the saints, especially that of St. Dominic, to follow the Lord and to believe in Him as well. May God be with us always and may He bless us all in our every endeavours and good works. Amen.