Wednesday, 12 October 2022 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the words of the Lord contained in the Scripture passages, we are all reminded to be truly faithful to God in all things, in each and every one of our actions and works, in our every words and interactions with one another. All of us as Christians, as those who believe in the Lord are expected and called to follow His path and obey His ways sincerely and genuinely from our hearts. Otherwise, if we call ourselves as Christians and then yet behave in the manner that is not worthy of being called as disciples and followers of Christ, then we are no better than just hypocrites and unbelievers.

In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, the Apostle St. Paul exhorted the faithful there in Galatia to adhere to the path that the Lord has shown them and not to fall into the path of worldliness, or to the wrong and mistaken path that the old Law had been guiding them through. This is a reference to the Law as how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had preserved it and enforced it to the people of God. That old Law, composed of the many rules, regulations, customs and practices was already outdated and imperfect, flawed by the many additions that it had over the centuries.

We have to understand that the Law of God was passed down from generations to generations among the faithful people of God, and this Law had undergone numerous modifications and additions throughout the long history of the people of God. As such, it led to the Law being excessive, tedious and cumbersome, and not only that, it has also been misused and misinterpreted even by the very ones who were entrusted with its upkeep and propagation, like those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law themselves, who took great pride and ego in how they observed the Law and how they enforced it to the Jewish community.

Unfortunately, that led to difficulties among the faithful in Galatia and elsewhere. As we heard in our Gospel passage today, there were significant frictions and disagreements between the Lord and those who upheld the old ways of doing things, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who desired to enforce the excesses of the old Law to the people of God. There were some of the sympathisers of the Pharisees and the Pharisees themselves who had become believers of the Lord, but they still held on to their old customs and ways. According to their way of doing things, there were as many as six hundred and thirteen customs, precepts, rules and regulations which the people of God had to fulfil, and imposing all these placed unnecessary burden on the people of God.

Not only that the way the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law obeyed and observed those rules and customs were wrong, as many of them ended up doing them for their own vanity and pride, showing off their piety and obedience so that others might praise them for their actions and piety. They focused on themselves instead of on God, and they made it difficult for many others to be closer to God, as many were deterred by the tedious and the harsh nature of the laws and customs presented by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. This was especially true for those who needed God and His healing and mercy the most, like those suffering from maladies and diseases, those possessed by evil spirits, the tax collectors and the prostitutes among others.

That is why St. Paul exhorted and reminded the members of the Christian faithful in Galatia to turn away from their misguided ways, their obsession over the many trivial and unnecessary parts from the old Jewish laws and customs, as well as in their prejudice and elitist attitudes against the Gentiles or the non-Jewish people. This attitude at that time had persisted even against those pagans and Gentiles who had embraced the Christian faith, with some among the Jewish Christian converts arguing and trying to enforce the whole Jewish customs and laws on all the faithful including on the converts from the Gentiles and pagans.

That is not what Christians ought to be doing, and hence, St. Paul told all of them to distance themselves from the worldly excesses of those misguided paths and ways, and instead, embrace the Lord, His truth and ways, in loving Him sincerely and in doing the same to our fellow brothers and sisters, to our fellow men and women, regardless of our status, origins, background and affiliations, and thus, showing genuine and most generous love to each other just as how the Lord Himself has loved us all sinners, even those who were most wicked and seemingly unworthy. Through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, God has come into our midst to redeem us all, even the ones who were furthest away from Him.

This is what each and every one of us as Christians ought to be doing, not to be exclusive and elitist in our attitude, and not to be self-righteous in our actions. Instead, we should always remind ourselves that each and every one of us are part of the same Body of Christ, the Church. We are all called to share in the brotherhood and the unity among us Christians, united through the love of God. We should be filled with God’s love and show that same love to the Lord and to our fellow brothers and sisters. Each and every one of us should inspire one another to continue to do what God has taught and shown us to do, and that is to live our lives as Christians and obey the Law and commandments of God as He had intended for us.

Let us no longer be stubborn and no longer resist the Lord and His love and kindness. May the Lord be with us all and may He continue to guide each one of us so that we may draw ever closer to Him, and fill us all ever more with His love. May God bless our every efforts and endeavours, our good works and all, now and always. Amen.

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