Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we all gather together in the Holy Presence of God in His House, each and every one of us are reminded to keep faithfully the Law and the commandments that He has bestowed upon us, all that He has given us in order to help us find our way to Him, to His salvation and grace. All of us as Christians are called to be good and faithful disciples of our Lord, to be good and exemplary role models in our way of life, in everything we say and do, so that everyone who hears us, sees and witnesses our actions and works, may all come to know the Lord and His truth more through us, and hopefully we may inspire more people to come to believe in the Lord as well. Whether we are to do good or to do evil is completely within our choice, and God has given us the freedom to choose our course of action in life.
In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Sirach, we heard the words of the prophet Sirach speaking to the people of God and reminding them all, including all of us that God has given us His Law and commandments, and it is really up to us to make the choice whether to do what is right and just in accordance to God’s Law and commandments, or whether we want to disobey Him and walk down the path of sin instead. The Lord has given us all the free will and the freedom to choose our paths, and He has also taught us and revealed to us what we all need to do if we want to be faithful and committed to Him. Unfortunately, more often than not we chose to walk down the path of rebellion and evil than to obey the Lord and His commandments, especially because we were unable to resist the temptations all around us, and because we see the path of disobedience and sin as the ‘easier’ path.
In our second reading today, we heard from the Apostle St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful people of God in the city of Corinth in which he spoke of the teaching and revelation of Divine wisdom, the Wisdom of God, the truth that the Lord Himself has revealed to His disciples and Church, and which He reaffirmed to us through His Holy Spirit. St. Paul compared this Wisdom and truth to the wisdom and ways of the world, which is finite and which leads us down the wrong path in life, while the Wisdom of God and all that He has revealed and taught to us will lead us down the path of righteousness and grace, and through that path, we shall enter into a new life blessed and truly worthy of God, a path that he has exhorted, encouraged and reminded all the faithful people of God to follow.
It is in our Gospel passage today then that we heard parts of what each and every one of us as Christians are expected to follow and obey, in being good and dedicated followers and disciples of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. In that Gospel passage, we heard from the Lord Himself, speaking before all the people gathered to listen to Him, how He told them that He came into this world to fulfil the Law and the commandments of God, not to cancel or eradicate them. He came into this world to reveal the true meaning, purpose and intention of the Law, to purify the commandments and laws of the Lord from all the accumulated misinterpretations, misunderstandings and abuse from the people entrusted with their enforcement and preservation, those who had even appropriated the Law for their own selfish desires and benefits.
What the Lord presented before the people as we heard in our Gospel passage today, was the call to everyone to be truly faithful to God and to be devoted to Him out of genuine love and devotion, and not because one is just merely fulfilling the obligations or doing things out of fear or in desiring to maintain good and favourable appearances, or merely as a formality to be fulfilled and completed. In essence, the Lord told all of the people and hence all of us that being Christians means that we all have to be sincere in doing God’s will and in obeying His Law and commandments, and most importantly, we must always be centred and focused on God as the focus, emphasis and the main reason of our lives and existence in this world. Each and every one of us are called to be truly righteous, good and just in the manner that our Lord Himself is all good and righteous.
The Lord made His comments and spoke before the people with the context that the people had been making excuses and trying to find and exploit loopholes in the Law, and not truly believing in the Lord or not truly having faith in Him, and not loving Him as they should have. They were focused more on themselves and their selfish desires and wants, their ambitions, pride, ego and worldly achievements, and as such, while they may outwardly appear to be faithful, but inside, their faith are truly found wanting and lacking. Unless they are more faithful than just being superficial and outwardly faithful, and truly develop a strong and dynamic faith in God, then it may be hard for one to come closer to the Lord and to be worthy to receive His grace and salvation. This is why the Lord reminded all of us this Sunday through these readings, so that all of us may develop the right attitude in life, and nurture in our lives the love that we ought to have for the Lord, as well as for our fellow brothers and sisters, just as the Lord has taught us.
Essentially, as Christians we cannot be idle in our lives, and we must make good use of whatever we have been blessed and given, so that our lives may be fruitful and filled with love for both God and for our fellow men, and that we resist the temptations to sin and to disobey the Lord. When the Lord mentioned in our Gospel passage today, the rather intriguing advice to the people to cut off their hands and to pluck out their eyes if those things led them all to sin, what He actually meant was that, first of all, sin is harmful and dangerous, and if we are not careful and if we do not take the necessary steps to resist the temptations to sin, those sins may end up leading us down the path towards damnation, out of which there is no hope and escape for us, if we realise it too late that we have allowed sin to jeopardise and destroy us.
We should not be complacent and remain vigilant against the temptations all around us, and against the vile efforts and works of Satan and all of his wicked allies, the fallen angels, demons and evil spirits, all of whom are always hard and busy at work in trying to destroy us and to mislead us all down the path towards damnation and destruction. We must also remember again, just as I had mentioned in the beginning of this Sunday’s discourse, that God has given us the free will and the freedom to choose our path in life. At the same time, we have also been given the means and the opportunities to do either what is good and just in the sight of God and man alike, or instead to do what is wicked and evil. The choice is ours, and God has given us that choice to make. And now, can we discern well our path so that we will make the right choice?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all hence listen to the Lord calling on us to follow Him, and let us all commit ourselves to live our lives henceforth in a most Christian manner, doing wholeheartedly all that the Lord has shown and taught us to do, in loving Him and in loving our fellow brothers and sisters, generously offering ourselves and our love for the glory of God and for the wellbeing of our fellow brethren all around us. May God continue to guide us all in our every actions and efforts in life, and may He bless us all in out every endeavours and good works, now and always, evermore. Amen.