Monday, 31 October 2022 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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 us as Christians to be always filled with love, most importantly the love for God, our faith and trust in Him, and then, equally important is our love for our fellow brothers and sisters. As Christians we are always reminded of the love that we should have for our fellow men and women, and we should not be ignorant of this calling and mission we have in our daily lives as God’s beloved ones. The Lord has always shown us His love, to each one of us, no matter how we have treated Him and how we have been stubborn in rejecting Him and refusing to listen to His voice.

Therefore, just as the Lord has tirelessly and patiently reached out to us with love, and even sending His only Begotten Son to be our Lord and Saviour, each one of us as Christians are also expected to do the same, that is to be filled with genuine and most tender and generous love for our fellow brothers and sisters. We must always put ourselves and our love for ourselves as secondary to our love for God and for our fellow brothers and sisters. Of course we still have to love ourselves and we should not despise who we are, but we must not let our self-love to become a distraction and preoccupation or even obsession which may end up causing us to ignore the needs of others around us, especially those of us who are lacking and in need of love. Each one of us have been called and indeed challenged to bear the love of God to our brethren.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Philippi, in which the Apostle spoke of how all Christians ought to live together harmoniously and in loving relationships as the members of the same one Church of God. The Apostle likely referred to the divisions and disagreements that had inevitably appeared between the members of the Church because of their diverse origins. St. Paul said that the people of God should not be divided and placed one against another. The people of God should put their brethren ahead of themselves, ahead of their own selfish ego and desires, all of which had caused so much suffering and hardships, and which had made the relationships between the faithful to be bitter and uncomfortable.

That is what happened when we mankind allowed our prejudices and desires to get ahead of us. The people of God could be divided by their prejudices and unwillingness to cooperate and live harmoniously with each other, and also by their desires and demands to satisfy their own selfish wants and all the things that caused the rupture in the harmony of the people and the community of the faithful Church of God. When everyone began to prioritise themselves and their selfish wants ahead of the needs of others, that is when we may end up with people who manipulated and mistreated others simply because they wanted to gain more for themselves. And history has proven that we can be very selfish, and many had suffered at the hands of those who sought to enrich themselves with more of worldly riches and grandeur.

This is why in our Gospel passage today the Lord again reminded us that as Christians we cannot be people who are filled with worldly desires and arrogance, ambition and wants. We cannot be greedy and filled with the attachments and the obsession for worldly goods, for glory and fame, for status, power and for human praise and acceptance. Otherwise, sooner or later we will realise that we will end up trying to satisfy our own needs and desires above that of helping others who are in need, and we may end up being distracted and blinded, that we cannot see the plight of all the others around us simply because we have been too busy in seeking to satisfy ourselves, our wants and our greed.

Instead, the Lord has called all of us to look beyond our own selfish needs and ambitions, and turn towards the Lord Himself once again, full of love and desire to serve Him and glorify Him, putting Him at the centre of our lives. We must not let the temptations of worldly pride to distract us in our journey towards God, towards His grace and salvation. And as long as we continue to allow those temptations to be around us and to tempt us, then we are likely going to end up falling deeper and deeper into the path of selfishness, pride and sin. As Christians, and as members of God’s one united Church, each one of us have been given the calling, mission and responsibilities to proclaim the truth and love of God by our lives and examples.

Let us all ask ourselves then, whether we have been truly obedient to God and whether we have walked faithfully in His ways, or whether we have instead walked down the path of selfishness, ambition, pride and greed, as many among our predecessors had done. Let us remember that we are all called to be holy and loving just as our Lord Himself is full of holiness and love. We are all called to model ourselves upon the ever generous love of God, Who has loved us all so greatly all these while despite everything that we had done in resisting and rejecting Him. We are all called to embody God’s love, mercy and compassion in each and every one of us, in our every words, actions and deeds.

Today as we mark All Hallows’ Eve or the Eve of the All Saints’ Day, we are also especially reminded that we should also look upon the examples of the great saints, the innumerable holy men and women of God who have gone before us to the glory of Heaven. Each and every one of them in their unique lives and works have many things to show us and inspire us, in showing us how we should live our lives with faith and dedication. The saints of God, if we read upon their life stories and examples, are people who place others before themselves, and they practiced what the Lord Himself had done and taught us all to do, that is to love generously, God first and foremost, and then also their own fellow brothers and sisters, especially the least unloved and those who were in most need of God’s love.

May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey of faith and may He empower each one of us with the courage and strength to resist the temptations of the world, and so that we may be more loving, compassionate and concerned with the plight and the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters around us. May God be with us, His Church, His flock and people at all times, may His saints be great inspiration for us and intercede for us at all times, and may He bless us in our every efforts and endeavours, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

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