Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to heed the Lord’s truth and His teachings, and ask Him for help whenever we are needing any assistance and help. We cannot struggle alone in this journey of faith, or else we will quickly realise that we will falter and be easily tempted, falling deeper and deeper into the path of sin, from which we may realise that there is no path out from. Unless we conscientiously follow the path of the Lord and remain firmly faithful to this path, striving to walk as good and devoted Christians, we may realise that we will be drawn into the ways of the world, and be tempted by sin.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, the words of the Apostle chiding and the rebuking the people of God there for their erroneous ways and wicked living, for having followed the ways and the teachings proposed and preached to them by the false prophets and by all those who did not adhere to the true deposit of the faith and the truth as preserved by the Apostles. Back then, there existed many variations of the teachings of Christ, with some people likely making use of those teachings as excuses to establish their own school of thought and ideologies, or by syncretising them with the pagan beliefs and customs.
As such, St. Paul reminded the people of God not to be easily swayed by those worldly temptations, and to adhere closely to what they have received, the pure truth as what St. Paul and the other authentic witnesses and missionaries had proclaimed to them. St. Paul reminded the faithful not to allow their desires and the weakness of their flesh to sway them to the wrong paths. Otherwise, they would end up losing their way and might even fell off away from the path towards God and His salvation. That is why, St. Paul told them not to listen to those who proclaimed different messages from what he and the other faithful servants of God had preached.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples about the matter of someone who asked a friend for a favour, and how a father would care for his children in the same way that a friend would have cared for his or her friend’s requests or pleas for assistance. The Lord used that as an example to highlight to His disciples and therefore to all of us that, often times we do not realise that we have such a great opportunity to ask the Lord for help at any moment in time, but for various reasons, we chose not to seek for His help, and preferred to do things our own way, which in the end led to us doing the wrong things and choosing the wrong paths.
And why is it that we did not seek God’s help? First of all, the most often reason was that we allow our pride and ego to get in the way. We let ourselves be swayed by our ego that we refused to allow the Lord to speak to us, and we refused to listen to Him and we chose rather to do things our own way rather than to admit that we can be wrong or mistaken in our ways, or that we want to preserve that semblance of face and strength, and we chose to press on in our erroneous ways of life rather than to submit to God’s will or to look for help from Him. That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, our human pride and ego are such dangerous things that we must be ever vigilant against.
Then, another reason is that we are reluctant to ask, because we are afraid that God will punish us if we ask, and that He will chide and refuse to listen to us for our pleas and prayers. That, brothers and sisters in Christ is yet another reason why so many ended up getting further and further away from God. They rather chose to hide rather than to face the Lord, their loving God and Father. They did not have enough faith in God and in His mercy, that they chose to rather run away from Him and avoid Him, instead of entrusting themselves to His love and care. And this is what we must remind ourselves, that our Lord is our Father, and like all fathers, they will indeed chastise their children when they err, but they do so with love, and not hatred.
Which one should we rather choose, brethren? To be chastised by God and to be reminded to atone for our many sins and wickedness, for an eternity of joy and true happiness, filled with God’s love and grace because we have been reconciled to Him, or to run and hide away, to keep our pride and ego and then suffer an eternity of suffering and regret, because we keep on rejecting God’s ever generous mercy and love? Let us all not forget that all those countless souls in hell, all suffer because they have consciously rejected God’s offer of mercy and love, and chose to remain in the path of sin.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on all these and discern carefully our paths going forward. Today, we have one saint whose feast we are celebrating, namely that of St. Bruno, whose life and devotion to God hopefully can inspire us to lead a better, more holy and committed life to God. St. Bruno, also known as St. Bruno of Cologne, was the founder of the Carthusian religious order. He was a devout priest and servant of God, whose tenure as the Chancellor of the Diocese of Reims in what is today France was well-known for his upright attitude and holiness, and despite facing challenges and trials from those who opposed him.
Not only that, but St. Bruno was also remembered for his conscious rejection of fame and public office, at the time when everyone would have wanted them. When he was offered and had a very likely chance to become a bishop, St. Bruno instead renounced all of that and all forms of worldly glory, and withdrew from the world, preferring to dedicate himself to the Lord, inspiring some others to follow his examples, which eventually led to the foundation of the Carthusians. Despite repeated efforts to make him an Archbishop afterwards, St. Bruno deferred to other candidates and those whom he recommended instead of himself. He remained committed to God, living simply and humbly to the end of his earthly life.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we see in St. Bruno a genuine Christian faith and dedication, a great humility and passion to serve the Lord. At a time when many people, and even those within the Church, were tempted with worldly glory and power, St. Bruno showed them all, as well as all of us today, what it truly means to be a disciple of Christ, to be committed fully to God and to serve Him wholeheartedly, and not to be swayed and distracted by the temptations of worldly glory, power, fame, ambition, desire and especially by our pride and ego. We have discussed about it earlier, how our own ego and pride can easily lead to our downfall.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to God, and strive to be ever better and more committed disciples and followers of Christ. Let us all draw ever closer to God and to His love and mercy, entrusting ourselves ever more to Him, and learning to humble ourselves and to be more willing to listen to Him, and ridding ourselves of the excesses of our desires, ego and pride. May the Lord be our guide and with the intercession of St. Bruno, may all of us remain firmly faithful to our Hope and salvation in God, now and always. Amen.