Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord speaking to us, we are all called to keep in mind the commandments and ways of the Lord, distancing ourselves from sinful and wicked things, and doing our best to be holy and exemplary in our lives. We should be sincere in our faith and way of loving God and our fellow brethren, and not doing so because we have ulterior motives and desires, or because we want to be praised and adored for our actions and faith, which would otherwise lead us down the wrong path in life, a path of selfishness and sin instead of towards salvation in God.
In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, we heard of the truth of how each one of us as Christians, having been called to be God’s people, and having received the adoption from Him to be His own beloved sons and daughters, each one of us are expected to live our lives in the manner that the Lord has taught and shown us through His Church. All of us have received the great grace from God, the forgiveness for our sins, and having been shown the great and tender love from God. And yet, many of us still preferred to choose ways that are contrary to God and His path, those ways which are not aligned to the teachings of the Lord and His Church.
If we listened well to what we heard in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the rebuke which the Lord Jesus spoke and directed towards the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, as many of them had not been truly obedient to God, and they had misused and abused their authority and position, to enrich and empower themselves instead of serving the Lord and the interest of the people of God. They made it difficult for many among the people of God to come close to God, as they imposed very harsh conditions, rules, regulations and practices which essentially deterred many people from following the Lord’s ways.
Not only that, the ways and the practices of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law themselves were not truly founded upon the firm foundations of faith. In fact, as mentioned earlier on this week, the Law itself had been changed, affected and corrupted over the many centuries since it was handed down through Moses from God to His people. Over all that time, the various oral traditions and additions, modifications and changes had accumulated such that the Law in its essence and practice was no longer the same Law which the Lord had revealed and intended for His people in the first place.
The people and their elders persecuted the faithful and the many prophets and messengers who were sent into their midst in order to remind them and call them back towards the path towards righteousness. They hardened their hearts and minds against the Lord, and refused to listen to the reminders made to them in many occasions. Instead, they chose to indulge in worldly desires and in corrupt ways, that led them further and further into sin. All these were caused by their pride and ego, their ambitions and their unbridled desires which led to them falling further and ever deeper into the traps laid on them by Satan and all those seeking their destruction and downfall.
Instead of doing what the Lord had told them to do, and instead of loving one another as fellow brothers and sisters, all belonging to the same family of God, they used the Law as excuses to gain renown and fame for themselves. They preferred to satisfy their own desires for power, worldly glory, fame and more, rather than to do the will of God. They made it difficult for many of those who were in need of help from God, and who would have benefitted the most from God’s mercy and love, to come towards Him. That is why God chastised those elders and leaders who had not done and lived their lives the way that they should have done.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today let us all heed these past examples so that in the Church, we will not follow the same wrong and mistaken paths that those elders and leaders of the faithful had done. Let us all focus ourselves not on our own ego and worldly desires, but instead allow the Lord to lead and guide us down the right path, resisting the many temptations and pressures of the world so that we may truly love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and with all of our strengths, and also to love one another, our fellow men and women, with all our might, especially those who are the least amongst us.
Let us all bear forth God’s love, truth and light to all those whom we encounter each day and at every moments in life. Let us all be the faithful and true witnesses of our Christian faith at all times, and seek to glorify God by our lives, and proclaim His truth and love by our generous and most loving outreach to those who are in most need of love, care, attention and hope. May the Lord continue to guide us down this journey of faith, now and always, and as we mark the anniversary of the Final Miracle of Fatima, the Miracle of the Sun today, let us ask the Blessed Mother of God, Our Lady of Fatima to intercede for us all as well. Amen.