Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us through the Scriptures, we are reminded to distance ourselves from worldly attachments and erroneous ways. We should not allow ourselves to be swayed by worldly pressures and temptations, particularly the temptation of pride and ego, of desire and greed, of worldly attachments and pleasures. That is because all of those things can easily and quickly lead us down the slippery path towards sin and evil, wickedness and damnation. If we are not ever vigilant and careful, we can easily be tempted and turned into this path.
In our first reading today, as we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, evidently there was quite a bitter dispute among the people of God regarding the support that they had for the different leaders of the faithful, from those who were siding with St. Paul himself, while there were those who sided with another popular preacher, namely Apollos. According to the Scriptures and Apostolic traditions, Apollos was a popular Jewish Christian preacher who gained a great following because of his great charisma and teachings, and is considered a saint of the Church just like St. Paul.
However, as we heard, unfortunately, although Apollos himself was faithful and devoted to God, and gave himself well to the service and the glory of God, but it was the people who were divided because of their competing allegiances and preferences, as some preferred to follow St. Paul and his way of teaching, while others preferred to follow Apollos and his ways. It is natural for people to have differences in their opinions and ideas, but when things become heated and very divided along various lines and opinions, or groups and viewpoints, that could quickly become very troublesome and hard for the Church and the faithful, who could become violently opposed to each other in bitter factional politics.
This was exactly what St. Paul warned the people against, and what he reminded them to avoid, as he told them that they should not be divided one against another, or be opposed to each other just because they were supporting different schools of thought, or ideologies, or preferences in the Church. He told the faithful in Corinth that whatever the missionaries and the different teachers of the faith like himself and Apollos had done, all of them were working for the greater glory of God and for the sake of His people, and all of them were all the servants of the same God, and hence, every one, every members of the Church and the faithful should be united in truth, love and purpose, and not be easily divided against each other.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard then the account of the Lord healing the mother-in-law of St. Peter, one of His Twelve Apostles. At that time, St. Peter, then known as Simon, asked the Lord to to help his mother-in-law, and immediately, the Lord healed her by His power, and made her completely healthy again. That news spread and soon there were many people who came to the Lord bringing all of their sick ones and those who were troubled in many ways. The Lord ministered to them and cared for them, healed their sick and shown His great power and might, and many believed in Him, that He is truly the Messiah or Saviour Whom God had promised to His people.
But the Lord left that place quietly in the morning of the day after, and His disciples were all wondering why He was doing that. The Lord told all of them that there were still many people who were in need of His work and mercy, and if He were to stay there in that place, then He would not have been able to do so. There would be a lot of temptations as well, in trying to lure the people into forcing Him to be their King, and that would have led to disastrous and unwanted consequences to the detriment of the Lord’s work and ministry. At the same time, the Lord also wanted to highlight and point out that whatever He and His disciples ought to be doing and were doing, those were all done for the greater glory of God, and not for their own glory.
That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we listened to these words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded that we must not allow those worldly temptations of power, glory, ambition, fame and all sorts of pride, ego, hubris and greed from misleading us down the wrong path. The Lord has reminded us that each and every one of us must always be centred and focused on God, that we will not end up losing sight on the true goal of our lives, that is to be united with God, to be reconciled with Him and to walk in His path towards the salvation and eternal glory, true happiness and joy that we can only find in Him alone. To that end, we should to our best to resist the many temptations found all around us.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to do our best to resist those temptations and pressures to conform to worldly ways and manners, and instead, be exemplary and committed to a life filled with virtue and grace from now on. Let us all draw ever closer to God and let us all seek the Lord with all our hearts from now on, dedicating our whole selves and our entire effort to glorify the Lord by our lives. May God be with us always and may He bless us in our every works and deeds, in all the things we say and do. May He empower each and every one of us to be ever faithful in our path towards Him, now and always. Amen.