Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded of the calling for all of us to obey the Law and commandments of the Lord, and to follow the path that He has set before all of us. As Christians, each and every one of us should lead exemplary and genuinely faithful way of life so that in all things we say and do, we will always proclaim the truth of God in our various communities and places, and we will not be like those hypocrites and all those who claimed to believe in God and yet, had no place for God in their hearts and minds.
In our first reading today, which was taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, we heard the words of the Apostle reminding all the faithful there to do the will of God, and that every members of the Christian community ought to play their part in living their lives faithfully as they should have. St. Paul exhorted everyone to live virtuously, in their various positions and obligations, in their respective parts of the community, to follow the path that God has revealed and set before them, and to be true Christians in all things, and not just for appearances only.
At that time, there were still many among the Christian faithful who did not truly follow the Lord and His path, and who although had embraced the Lord as their Master and Saviour, and was baptised into the Church, but yet they still retained their past ways of life, and they still carried on doing things as they had done before. Unfortunately, all of those actions brought scandal to their faith and the Church, as well as to the Holy Name of God. Imagine how others would say if a Christian behaved and acted in ways contrary to what they professed to believe in? Not only that this would scandalise those outside the Church, but even more importantly, those within the Church.
In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the Lord Jesus speaking to His disciples and the people about the matter of salvation and who would be saved. The Lord highlighted that the path towards God’s salvation and eternal life is in fact one that is difficult and challenging, and that many in fact would not be able to enter into the kingdom of God. And He highlighted how many of those who have professed to believe in Him and in His words, would be denied entry although they claimed to be faithful, all because they did not actually have genuine faith in Him, and they did not truly love Him with all of their might and hearts.
This was also a reference to the many Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who back at that time were against the Lord and His works. They were all adamant in their stubborn refusal to acknowledge the truth of God, and continued to resist and reject Him, spreading doubt and misinformation about Him, persecuting Him and His disciples and made it difficult for them to carry out their works and missions. And that is what the Lord referred to as the faith of the hypocrites, those who outwardly professed to be faithful and yet in their actions and way of life, brought scandal to their faith and the Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore just as we have been reminded constantly through these readings of the Sacred Scriptures, we should do our part in living our lives to the fullest in doing God’s will and obeying His commandments. We must truly be genuine in our faith and in loving Him. Each and every one of us as Christians must put God first and foremost in our lives, and not be swayed or tempted by the many desires and all the things that often tempted so many of us, like how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who succumbed to the temptations of their pride and ego, in thinking that they had the superior knowledge and position, just because they thought that they alone were worthy of God’s grace.
Let us all therefore heed the words of the Apostle St. Paul and what the Lord Jesus Himself had told His disciples and the people in our Gospel today, that the path towards the kingdom of God is not an easy one and is one that is filled with a lot of challenges and obstacles. We have to be ever vigilant and do whatever we can to resist those temptations, and instead help and inspire one another to live our lives in the manner that God has shown and taught us to do. The Lord has taught us through His Church how we should act, in loving Him and loving one another with the greatest generosity and sincerity from our hearts.
Let us all therefore do our best to glorify God by our lives, and do whatever we can to serve Him and to walk down His path. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey, so that we may always be willing to endure and persevere through the challenges and trials that may come our way, and continue to do our best to serve the Lord at all times. May the Lord bless our every endeavours and efforts, at all times, for His greater glory. Amen.