Saturday, 4 February 2023 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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 Lord contained within the Scriptures, we are all reminded of the great love of God shown to us through His Son, Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who is our Good Shepherd and Guide, our Hope, our Light and strength, the source of our inspiration and refuge amidst the darkness and the many hardships we face in this world. In Christ lies our salvation, and the Lord has shown us His most amazing love by reaching out to all of us, giving us His own beloved Son to us, in order to bring us out of the darkness of this world and to free us from the tyranny of evil and sin which have kept us enslaved all these while under their dominion.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we heard the author of this Epistle speaking to the Jewish community, especially to the Jewish Christians, regarding the great things that the Lord has done through His Son, Jesus Christ, Who has been sent into the world to be the Great Shepherd for all the flock of the Lord, the people of God. Through that passage we are all reminded that the Lord has always provided for us, through everything He has done by the sacrifice and offering of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, on His Cross. By His most loving sacrifice, He has offered us His own Life, and broken His own Body and shed His own Blood for us, as the Good Shepherd Who lays down His life for His sheep, truly as One Who loves us very much.

We are truly fortunate to have One Who loves us so very much, that He would give everything for our sake, even His own Son Who suffered all sorts of the most grievous insults and pains, all for the sake of our salvation and liberation from the dominion of sin, death and evil. Like what we have heard in our Gospel passage today should also affirm us, the Lord Jesus spent much of His time and effort in caring for all the people who had come looking for Him, reaching out to them and showing them His mercy and kindness. He took them all and patiently taught them even though He must have been very tired, as He saw all of them like sheep who were without a shepherd and guide. Thus, He Himself took up their role, as the Shepherd of all the people of God. He came to us, showing us the most tender and generous love of God, made real and evident to us.

As we heard all of these certainly each and every one of us must be aware of just how beloved we have been by the Lord, and how fortunate we truly must have been, and indeed, how thankful we should be, for having been given such great grace and gifts of love by the Lord. God has provided for us every means for us to return to Him and to be reconciled with Him, and it is really up to us now whether we want to be reunited with Him and to be forgiven our many sins and faults. God has called upon us like a Shepherd calling for all of His lost sheep, and He has reached out to us, venturing forth into this world, looking for even the most distant and hidden of His lost sheep, reaching to those who were most ostracised, hated and despised among His people.

That was why the Lord spent a lot of time reaching out to the poor and the destitute, all those who were deemed to be hopeless and unworthy of God, those who had been looked down upon and rejected by the rest of the community, shunned and despised, hated and persecuted, like the tax collectors and the prostitutes, those who were afflicted with diseases and terminally ill, those who were disabled and were possessed by evil spirits, all those whom the people and especially the Pharisees elites and the chief priests dismissed and treated as being wicked, sinful and most unworthy of God. All these were rejected by the community, treated less than equal and even less than what they deserved as human beings. Yet, the Lord courageously and fearlessly reached out to them with love, showing them the love and compassionate nature of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we remembered the love that God has shown us all, let us remember our many sins and disobedience against Him. Let us recall just how much we ourselves might have hurt Him by our own stubborn refusal to listen to Him, betraying Him for worldly desires and matters, and for listening more to Satan rather than to Him. Then let us all keep in mind why we are then so fortunate that God still loves us regardless of all that, and why we should not judge our fellow brethren and not be discriminatory or to despise our brothers and sisters whom we might have considered as less worthy of God than ourselves, like what many of the Pharisees and the chief priests liked to do to those whom they deemed to be inferior to themselves. God loved all of His people, His flock all the same.

Now, what we all need to do is to show the same love that God has shown us, in our way of life, in our love to Him and in our obedience to His ways, the way of His righteousness and truth. Let us all commit ourselves anew to the Christian way of life, to the Christian way and truth, and to live our lives most virtuously and with the greatest commitment to glorify the Lord by our exemplary lives. Let us all hence be good examples and role models to each other, being the faithful shepherds to one another, be it as fathers, mothers, friends, husbands, wives, relatives, or any other roles that we have been called to, in our own positions of responsibility and in even the smallest things we are able to do in each and every moments of our lives. All of us are supposed to be the shining beacons and bearers of the light and truth of God in our communities and in the world today.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may all of us continue to be inspired to follow the Lord most worthily in our lives, and to continue to walk in the path of His light and grace. May all of us draw ever closer to the Lord and His salvation, and may He, our most loving God and Father, our most beloved Good Shepherd, continue to love and guide us all, and help us all through life, so that we may continue to persevere through the many trials and challenges that we may face as faithful and dedicated Christians, as committed children of God. May God bless us always, in our every good efforts, works and endeavours. Amen.

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