Sunday, 21 August 2022 : Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are all presented through the readings from the Sacred Scriptures, the Lord reminds us of His ever patient and amazing love, in gathering all of us His scattered and spread all throughout the world. All of us are God’s beloved people, His children whom He treats as His precious ones. He wants to be reunited and reconciled with us, and hence He called on us all to follow Him, and He also corrects us whenever we erred and made mistakes. He gave us help along the way and He sent us His messengers and servants, through His Church to guide us down the right path.

In our first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the Lord mentioning to Isaiah how He would call His people from among the nations, from the foreign lands far and distant from the land of Israel, from the different nations and origins, and the Lord also mentioned how He would even call His priests and the Levites from among the people of those nations. This is a premonition of God’s calling which He made to all the nations, to all the people of all races and origins, that His people and kingdom is no longer limited to just the descendants of the Israelites, but extending to the whole entire world.

The Lord had indeed called the direct descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the people of Israel to be the ones to form His first people, a first gathering of God’s nation among the others in this world. To them, God has given His Law and commandments, and He established and renewed the Covenant which He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, their forefathers. But the people of Israel had often disobeyed the Lord and refused to believe in Him, abandoning and betraying Him for the pagan gods and idols, or for the service of the worldly desires and temptations, in selling their souls for worldly glory and pleasures.

Hence, what the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah was significant because He revealed to all the people His true intention, which is to save all the sons and daughters of man, a promise which He had made from the very beginning, from the time when man first fell into sin. The same calling which He made to the people of Israel, has now been extended to the whole entire world, to all the sons and daughters of mankind, regardless of their race or origin, regardless of their birth and ancestry, or of their status and occupations. All the children of mankind are equally beloved by God just as He had created them all in the beginning with pure and perfect love.

He called on all the people of the whole world just as our Gospel passage today highlighted to us. In that passage, we heard how the Lord said that entering into His kingdom is truly not a really easy feat unlike what some might have otherwise thought. That is why the Lord reminded all of His disciples through that teaching and revelation, how entering into the kingdom of heaven will require one to make the effort and the sacrifices to resist the temptations of worldly glory, ambition and the pleasures of the world, all of which can lead us down the wrong path.

From what the Lord had told His disciples, it was quite obvious that the path to enter into the kingdom of God and hence into the eternal life and joy with Him will be a rather difficult and challenging one. And in the context of what happened at that time, during the time of Jesus, there were those who thought that they were saved simply because they belonged to the race of the descendants of the Israelites and therefore claimed privilege through their descent and blood. However, they had not listened to the Lord or obeyed His commandments, and refused to receive Him or His truth, when He came into their midst. Those people would not enjoy the salvation that is reserved only to those whom God finds to be worthy.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to these words of reminders for us, let us all first and foremost remember that all of us have received the same privilege to come to the Lord and to return to Him, to be reconciled with Him because He has always been welcoming to all of us, and He has called us all to be His beloved people. As part of His Church, through our baptism each one of us have been made sharers in His kingdom and grace, and we have received the revelation of His truth and love in greater details, and not only that, but we also have the responsibility and the calling to live our lives in a most Christian manner each day and at all times.

All of us must remember that in the end, our every actions and deeds, our contributions and commitments, whether great or small will be held for us or against us. Our every lack and failure to act whenever we are able to, will also be held against us on the Day of Judgment, and in the end, those who are righteous and faithful will receive the fullness of God’s promises and the eternal life and glory that will be ours forever, while those who fail to be faithful and continue to walk in the path of sin will fall into eternal damnation and suffering unless we change our ways for the better.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us are reminded that we cannot take our faith for granted and we have to make the effort to be faithful to God, in real and concrete actions and not just through mere lip service only. We have to be genuinely faithful and active in living out our Christian lives so that in all things we will always ever be worthy, and we will draw ever closer to God, to His grace and love. God has always patiently extended His loving hands to us, to reach out to us and embrace us, and it is really now up to us to accept His generous and compassionate mercy, and it is up to us to make a commitment to follow Him.

May the Lord, our most loving God, continue to guide us all and bless us in our every endeavours, our every good works and efforts to serve Him and to glorify Him by our lives. May our lives and actions be ever exemplary and bring inspiration to each other so that we may strengthen and inspire each other to walk ever more faithfully in God’s presence, distancing ourselves from sin and from the temptations to sin. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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