Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord through the passages of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all reminded of our Christian calling and mission to be faithful to God, true and obedient to His ways and to the path that He has shown and taught us to follow. Each and every one of us ought to obey the Lord and for all of His Law and commandments. Otherwise, if we do not do so or have not yet done so, we cannot really consider ourselves as Christians, as our faith is then no better than hypocrites and unbelievers. After all, how can we be faithful Christians if our actions, words and deeds are not in accordance to what we profess to believe in, or worse still, even contrary to what our faith is about?
In our first reading today, taken from the continuation of the Epistle of St. Paul to St. Titus, which we have begun yesterday with St. Paul communicating the criteria for the selection of worthy candidates for overseers or bishops to lead the Church, then today we heard the Apostle communicating to his protege and godson St. Titus, regarding the matter of reminding all the faithful in their various capacities and responsibilities, in their positions and places in the community to be faithful to God. St. Paul spoke of what each segments of the Christian community ought to be doing, so that they may be sources of inspiration and strength for one another, and that their actions do not lead to scandal to the Church, the faithful and God’s Holy Name.
This is also a reminder that it was not only just the leaders, elders and shepherds of the Church who are expected to be faithful to God. On the contrary, every single members of the Church, every single one of the Christian faithful, are expected to fulfil their part in obeying God, His Law and commandments. All of us as Christians are part of the same Church and our actions, words and deeds ought to reflect well our Christian faith and beliefs. If we do not live our faith as we should, and do things that contradicts our beliefs in God, then how can we account that to the Lord on the Day of Judgment? If by our actions and way of life we have turned people away from the Lord and salvation in Him, and caused dissension and divisions within the Church, then how can we be considered worthy of the Lord?
Each and every one of us, be it as those who are young or old, powerful or weak, rich or poor, influential or nobody, whatever our background and origins are, as parts and members of the Church, each one of us have been made sharers in God’s one united Church, in His one community that is His Body. And we are all called and expected to be good, righteous and exemplary in our way of life just as the Lord our God, our Father and Master is perfect and all good. We must embody this faith we have in Him in our every actions and interactions with each other, so that by our lives, we may truly be living witnesses of what we believe in, that we do not just talk, but really are ‘walking the talk’. We have to inspire others to live in the same manner as well, to be obedient to God and to follow Him wholeheartedly.
In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the Lord saying to His disciples regarding the matter of following God and obeying His commandments, and how we as His servants and followers should act and behave. The Lord said that as servants and followers of God, doing God’s will is what we are all expected to do, and we should not feel entitled to gain profits or benefits out of doing what has been expected to us. This is a reminder for all of us Christians that our faith is not one that is transactional or based on any rewards system. That is important because we will easily think that the more we do things for the Lord, in obeying His Law and commandments, then the more righteous and deserving of praise and glory we are.
All of that attitude will lead to selfish and arrogance which characterised some people the Lord criticised like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, many of whom had the elitist attitude in thinking that they alone were righteous and worthy of the Lord, while looking down on many others whom they deemed to be inferior or less than worthy than they were. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law also made it difficult for others to come near to the Lord, particularly those who were in most need of them, as they made people like tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners to be ostracised and felt unwanted and unwelcome. Not only that, but in their attitude and haughtiness, they had not done what the Lord had expected them to do. Instead of being good and exemplary shepherds entrusted to guide the faithful towards the Lord, they closed the gates to salvation to many people.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we have been reminded today, let us all therefore reflect on what we have heard through the words of the Scriptures and what we have just discussed earlier on. As Christians, we should try our best to live our lives with virtue and true obedience to God, with love and dedication towards Him. Each one of us should strive to be role models for one another and to resist the temptations to sin. We have to show true Christian love and charity in our actions, in whatever we say and in how we interact with one another, both with those within the Church and our various communities, with our families, relatives and friends, and also even with strangers and all those whom we encounter each day. In whatever circumstances, we are reminded to do our best to be faithful to God and righteous in our dealings.
Let us all therefore be good disciples of the Lord, committing ourselves to a graceful existence in God, and showing care and concern for our fellow brothers and sisters, for even strangers whom we meet in life. We have to inspire others through our faith and actions, and let us ask the Lord to guide us and strengthen us in our journey. May the Lord be with us always and may He empower all of us to be good and dedicated disciples and missionaries of our faith wherever we are. May God bless us all in our every efforts and hard work, all for His greater glory. Amen.