Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture passages today we are all reminded to live worthily of the Lord through our own relationships particularly that of within our own Christian families. Each and every one of us as Christians are called to be the faithful and committed members of our respective Christian families, building up within our own Christian communities good and faithful Christian families and relationships, which are truly the bedrock of Christian communities and the Church, and is essential in ensuring that the Church and the faithful community remain strong amidst the many challenges, temptations and trials they may all face.
In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, the Apostle spoke of the responsibilities that each and every members of the Church and in their respective obligations as families and as sons and daughters of God to do what has been expected of them in building up a loving and harmonious relationship within their families, in which every members are committed to each other and in which love is the foundation of their relationships. St. Paul elaborated on what each members ought to do, and how all Christians are tasked to follow this example, and to build up their holy and loving Christian families.
Back then, while various cultures had their own definition of families and marriages, which were in fact not very distinct from Christian marriage and family, but in practice, people still quite commonly practiced things like having mistresses and concubinage, especially in the culture of the Roman Empire. There were also quite a lot of immoral behaviour and attitudes, excesses of worldly habits and actions which led to great scandals and which are unworthy of those who have been called as Christians, as God’s own beloved children and people. As Christians, all of them were given higher standards and responsibilities.
St. Paul therefore reminded the faithful people of God that they are called to be the beacons of God’s light and truth, and that they ought to show good examples in the way they all lived their lives, where they were dedicated to one another in love, and where they were not led and guided by the temptations of their worldly desires, greed, pride and ambition. St. Paul told all of the people that they ought to show love and care for each other, in caring for the needs of their family, where husbands, wives, parents, children and relatives are all united in the bond of Christian love and virtues.
Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and followers regarding the kingdom of God using a parable. Through the parable of the mustard seed and flour, the Lord wanted to highlight to them about the coming of His kingdom, and how each and every one of those who believe in Him, the members of the Body of Christ, the Church, are truly building and establishing this kingdom of God in this world. Yes, that is right, brothers and sisters in Christ, the kingdom of God is indeed already in our midst, and we witness its presence through our Church, the community of the faithful and also through our respective Christian families.
And we are all reminded through the parables mentioned of the importance of providing the necessary conditions for the nurturing of this kingdom of God in our midst, just as the Lord made use of the examples of the germinating and growing mustard seed, as well as the leavening of bread dough with the use of yeast. All of those are examples that were well known and understood by the people, as agriculture and bread-making are things that are crucial to the livelihood of most if not all of the people. Through this example, the Lord wanted His people, that is all of us included, to realise that we have to nurture our faith through providing the optimum condition needed for the growth of our faith, and this is important especially for our younger generation.
That is why the family is truly the domestic Church, the smallest and yet very important subunits of the Church. If our families are not founded upon the firm foundation of our Christian faith and the truth of God, and if the love of God is not present within our families, then easily our Christian families, our Christian communities and all the people in them will be swayed and tempted away from the path of the Lord’s righteousness and virtue, and we will be easily divided and led away from the unity that we should have within our families and communities. Unless we make the conscious efforts to live our lives according to the Christian truth and love, we have not been doing what we are called to do as Christians.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves to a renewed effort to be exemplary Christians in all things, in upholding our Christian values and virtues at all times, in all opportunities and possibilities. Let us all show by our faithful commitment to God, what it truly means for us to be Christians, and how we can help lead and inspire one another to be ever closer to God. May God bless us always and our every endeavours, and may He bless and strengthen our families, that we may always be committed to God and to one another, and be filled with love, the love of God, always and evermore. Amen.