Sunday, 16 October 2022 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we are all reminded of the need for us to trust in the Lord, our Strength and our Hope, our Protector and Guide, our Light and our Rock in this life. God is the source of all of our strength and inspiration, and through Him we shall gain knowledge and wisdom, righteousness and justice, and we shall be triumphant together with Him in the end, if we all trust in Him and continue to put ourselves in His hands. We should not allow fear to affect us or distract us in our journey of faith in this life, and we should learn to trust more in God and in His power, to lead us to victory in the constant battle for our souls and for our fate.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of Exodus the story of how the Israelites were fighting against the Amalekites during the time of their Exodus out of Egypt and journey towards the Promised Land. The Amalekites were bitter enemies of the people of Israel, and they were constantly mentioned throughout the early part of the Old Testament as enemies of the people of God. In that occasion the Amalekites went on the offensive and struck at the Israelites first at Rephidim, and therefore Moses as the leader of the Israelites told the leaders to fight back against the Amalekites, while he himself stood atop a hill holding up the staff of judgment, to show the people of God that God was with them.

As long as Moses raised his hands and staff, the Israelites were winning and drove the Amalekites back, and when he lowered his hands, the Amalekites fought back. Thus Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ hands, and in the end the Israelites triumphed greatly over the Amalekites. God was with His people that day, and through His providence, the Israelites won a great and mighty victory against their enemies. Historically, the Amalekites having lived in the region longer and been more suited to the land, would have had great advantages against the people of God, but yet they were defeated because God was not on their side.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus speaking to the people and to His disciples using a parable regarding an evil judge who was very proud and stubborn, and yet, that same judge was coerced and persuaded to address the demands of an old woman who persistently dogged and demanded the evil judge to pursue her case and fight for her. As highlighted by the Lord, He used this example to show how if even that kind of evil and wicked person, full of ego, pride and selfishness, could be moved to act for another given enough persistence from the other party, then all the more that the Lord Who loves us very dearly will listen to us, care for us and provide for our needs.

Through these comparisons, the Lord wanted us all to know that first of all, in case we are still not aware of it yet, there are always battle and conflict raging all around us, all the time, for our souls. What is this battle all about? It is the battle and warfare constantly fought between those who seek our salvation, namely the Lord, His Angels and saints, with those who seek our downfall and destruction, namely Satan, the great enemy, also known as the devil, and his fellow numerous evil and wicker spirits, the fallen angels of God, and all those who have rebelled against the Lord, and are now looking for ways to bring about our downfall as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, against these mighty enemies and forces, we cannot face them alone on our own. We cannot win against them without the guidance and strength from God. But with God, our victory and triumph will be certain, for no matter how mighty those evil and wicked spirits might be, ultimately all of them were nothing compared to God, Who is also their Creator, Lord and Master. Without God, we will end up being easy prey for those evil spirits and demons, all of whom will then come to snatch us from the path towards salvation and grace in God. Like the Amalekites, they would have won against us if not for God and His Angels ever standing by our side protecting us.

If we stand by God, and remain faithful and true to Him, we shall be triumphant as how the Israelites beat the Amalekites and crushed their forces. But too often we carry on our battles alone and not trusting enough in God, as we prefer to do things our own way, and this more often than not led us to the path towards damnation and our downfall. By ourselves, we are nothing and without God, we can do nothing. All of our achievements and glory, our power and might all are possible in fact because we have been given the talents, abilities, opportunities and more by God.

St. Paul in his Epistle to St. Timothy, part of which is our second reading today, spoke of how we have been presented with the Scriptures, the Word of God and the Wisdom of God as passed down to us through Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit that He has promised to us, and which came down upon the Apostles and the Church at Pentecost. Through these gifts from the Lord, each and every one of us have in fact been given the means to do the will of God, to fight and resist against those who have desired to see our destruction and downfall. The Lord has always been with us and He has always provided us with what we need.

Unfortunately, the greatest issue here is that, many of us often did not have faith in God. Many of us did not have that firm trust in the Lord which led to us seeking for source of consolation and support from various alternative sources but not from the Lord Himself. We are also often too proud to admit that we are in need of help or assistance. The Lord has always reached out to us with love, and yet we often ignored Him and refused to embrace Him and His love. This is unfortunately the reason why so many people ended up remaining in the state of sin and failing to return to the Lord, all because they depended on themselves and their strength only, and did not trust in the Lord to help them.

We often do not realise that all we need is to ask, and the Lord will answer us. If only that we have more trust and faith in Him, everything will be possible for us. That is why this Sunday as we listened to these readings from the Scriptures, we are reminded to have more faith and trust in the Lord, and no longer be ignorant of the threat of the various temptations, persuasions, and all the forces of the devil and the evil spirits arrayed against us. We have to trust in the Lord to guide us in our path in life, and we have to allow Him to show us the path going forward, following Him to wherever He will lead us to. We must open our hearts and minds to listen to the Lord from now on.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore call upon the Lord with faith, calling on our beloved Lord, Master, Creator and Father to be with us, to help us and strengthen us in our journey of life, and to give us the necessary strength and perseverance to endure the various challenges in life that we may have to face especially as disciples and followers of the Lord. And let us also do our very best in our various capacities and in the different opportunities provided to us to do God’s will, to serve Him faithfully through our actions, words and deeds. All of us are reminded to be active in the living of our faith and to entrust ourselves to God’s providence and love.

May the Lord be with us always and may He empower each one of us to be able to live wholeheartedly and sincerely in His Presence, following His Law and commandments at all times. May God bless us all and may He guide us all into everlasting life, and give us the inheritance that He has promised us His faithful ones. Amen.

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