Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are reminded today through what we have heard in our Scripture passages of the need for us all to remember that we are the people of God, as Christians, as all those who have believed in the truth espoused and revealed to us through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, and how we have received the assurance of eternal life and salvation through Him. All of us have to put our faith and trust in Him, and not be easily swayed by worldly temptations and other things which may often end up as obstacles and barriers preventing us from truly being faithful to God, as we should.
In our first reading today, we heard of the words of St. Paul the Apostle in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Galatia, as he spoke to them regarding how the people of God having received the freedom from slavery through Christ, have been freed from the slavery of sin. He made the comparison with the case of the two sons of Abraham, in which he used this metaphor to highlight the difference between the past lives of the people of God, chained by sin and their past evils, and the new way of Christ and His saving grace, the salvation and new life which God offers to all those who believe in Him, and the path that He has called on everyone to follow.
The two sons of Abraham mentioned, Ishmael and Isaac, were born to two different mothers. Ishmael was born as the son between Abraham and Hagar, the slave of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, and he was conceived because Abraham and Sarah was kind of faltering in their faith in God, when they probably thought that it was impossible for them to have any son in their old age, as Sarah was then already way past childbearing age. Hence, as how the tradition went at that time, the wife could legally become the mother of a child born to her slave and her husband. Hence, Sarah gave Hagar as a means for her husband Abraham to have a son. But this was not what the Lord intended to happen.
Instead, as the Lord Himself had said and promised, He would gave a son to Abraham and Sarah, not through any other intermediary, but through Sarah herself. What man might consider to be impossible, is possible for God. That was how God fulfilled His promises to Abraham, giving him a son, the one He had promised, in Isaac, the son between Abraham and Sarah. Sarah gave birth to Isaac in her old age, and through that, God reminded us all of His love and providence, and how His path is superior and better to whatever plans and ideas we may have in mind. Abraham and Sarah thought that by utilising the slave Hagar and her son Ishmael, that could provide an heir to Abraham, but that was not what God intended.
That is why, St. Paul used this as a comparison and metaphor to make it clear to the Galatians, especially to the Jewish converts to the Christian faith, who at that time were still following their old customs and ways, which were man’s constructs, and which was a corrupted and deviant version of the original Law of God. If we have been following the discourse of St. Paul to the Galatians in the past few days last week, we can clearly see how the Galatian faithful were divided, especially among racial and religious lines, between the Jews and Gentiles, and also between those who were slaves and those who were free, and even those who were rich and poor. These divisions should not happen in the Church of God.
In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples and to the people, many of whom still doubted Him and refused to believe in Him, telling them all that those who have seen His miracles and wonders, heard His wisdom and truth, and yet failed to believe or refused to have faith in Him were truly stubborn. That even the Queen of the South, the Queen of Sheba, came to believe in King Solomon of Israel for his wisdom and greatness, and there was One greater than Solomon there before the people, the very Son of God Himself, appearing in the flesh before the assembled people, showing His truth and wisdom before all.
When the Lord said this, He meant that salvation is intended for everyone, that even people from afar will come to believe in Him and in His message of truth, and everyone who believe in Him will be saved, not just the exclusive right of the Jewish people only. Even the Jews themselves would not be saved if they refused to believe in Christ and His truth. What matters is not their birth or race anymore, but their faith. The Lord has brought His New Covenant and established it anew with all of us, by the suffering and death that Christ Himself suffered on the Cross. Through that, God has gathered us all to Himself, and led us all the assurance of eternal joy and glory with Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, what all these reminded us is that, each and every one of us as Christians, members of God’s Church all ought to put our faith and trust in Him, as well as changing our ways and manners of life. Each one of us are expected to turn away from wickedness and evil, to sin no more and to live our lives virtuously and free from the taints of evil and wickedness from now on. We are all called to embrace the Lord wholeheartedly, and to love Him unreservedly, dedicating ourselves to His cause, believing wholly in His message of truth and love, now and always.
May the Lord our most loving God and Father continue to bless us and guide us in our lives so that in everything we say and do, we will always obey His will and do whatever is right and just that we may truly be worthy of Him. May God strengthen each one of us in our resolve to serve Him in each and every moments of our lives and at every opportunities possible. Amen.