Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are called to remember that we have to be true and committed in our faith in Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We cannot be easily swayed, distracted and tempted by the many worldly pleasures, coercions, distractions and temptations all around us. We have to remember that often times as Christians we have to make a stand and choice between following and serving God, or to choose following the path of the world, the path of temptation and sin. As long as we remember this, then we are less likely to be drawn or swayed into the wrong path, and we also have to keep in mind that our actions, deeds and works can either inspire others to do the right thing or things that can bring scandal to the Church and our faith.
In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Church and the faithful community in Philippi, the Apostle spoke of the need for all of the faithful people of God to put their faith and trust in Him, and to dedicate themselves to the path that He has shown and guided them through. St. Paul told them all that they have to trust in the Lord for His providence, strength and protection. What the Apostle referred to in our first reading today must have been the people’s concerns over what St. Paul had to endure, in his many struggles and trials, in the challenges that he had faced, throughout all those moments and times when he had to brave even great dangers in order to bring the Word of God and the Good News to more and more people.
Yet, the Lord was always with St. Paul and his companions, with the other Apostles and missionaries, all the servants whom God had chosen, called and sent to minister to the people of this world, to call them all back to Himself. The Lord never abandoned or left them all on their own, and even amidst their sufferings, they were still guided by God on their side. And first of all, we must also ever forget the very fact that the Lord Himself, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man, had suffered persecution, rejection and death for our sake, for the sake of His love for each and every one of us, and for the truth that He had brought into our midst by His coming into this world, and for the salvation of the whole entire world.
Thus, all the faithful who have shared in the Lord’s own Body and Blood, and become one in the Holy Communion of the faithful, as the one united Church of God, the Body of Christ, are bound to share in His sufferings and rejections, oppressions and challenges as well. The Lord Himself had told His disciples in a few occasions as highlighted in the Gospels, that if the world hated Him, the Lord and Master, then surely the same world will also hate those who are following Him and believing in Him. That is why we must not be surprised that we may have to endure those challenges as well, but we are not alone in that, because God is always by our side, and we must have firm faith in Him or else we will be easily swayed by worldly temptations.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the words of the Lord speaking to His disciples regarding the matter of serving God and Money, continuing from what we have heard yesterday with regards to the parable of the dishonest steward. In that parable, we heard of the steward who had been dishonest and cheated on his master and lord in order to gain more for his own good. However, when the lord found out about his dishonest action, the steward was fired and that same steward did whatever he could and in whatever way he knew, in order to secure a good livelihood for himself after he was fired. Thus, he then cheated his master of even more money by illicitly altering the debts of some of those who owed his master money and goods.
Through that parable, the Lord wanted us all to know that the temptations of the world such as money and other forms of material possessions are truly dangerous, and they can easily lead us down the wrong path if we are not vigilant or do whatever we can to resist those temptations. And as I mentioned in yesterday’s discourse, it is not that those money or material possessions themselves that are evil, as they can very well be used for good use and purposes too. However, it is actually our obsession and unhealthy attachments to them that is the true culprit for our downfall, and our inability to be truly faithful to God, because our hearts are divided between those things we desire and God. And often times we sidelined God and chose other things instead of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let today’s Scripture passages be reminders for each one of us so that we may truly carefully reflect upon our lives, our choice of actions and path in life. Are we going to continue to choose the path of worldliness, worldly desires and ambitions, desires and greed, and are we going to continue to sideline God in our lives and instead be focused on our wants and desires? Or are we going to reevaluate our priorities in life and begin to attribute a much more important place for the Lord in our lives, that is at the very heart and centre, and as the focus of our whole lives and existence? This is what we seriously have to consider as we remind ourselves of these Scripture passages we heard today and whatever we have discussed just earlier on.
Let us all make a commitment and renew our conviction to live ever more worthily of God from now on, prioritising Him in our lives and actions. Let us no longer be swayed or tempted by all sorts of attachment to worldliness and desires, ambitions, pride or ego. Let us all be purified in our hearts and minds, and be strengthened by God, that through His grace we may always ever strive to be faithful and committed to Him. May God be with us all, and may He bless our every good efforts and endeavours, for His greater glory, now and always, forevermore. Amen.