Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to reflect on the words of the Lord that serves as reminder and warning to all of us to remain truly faithful to Him and not to be merely paying lip service and treating our faith as merely a formality and something that we do not truly believe in our hearts completely. We must truly devote ourselves to the Lord through commitment and effort, and follow Him at all times.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome in which he spoke of God’s truth, His Good News and salvation which He has brought into this world, and which He offered us freely and most generously, calling us all to embrace Him and His mercy, to be forgiven through repentance and the changing of our ways. We are called to seek the Lord wholeheartedly and turn towards Him without any doubts lingering in our hearts.
St. Paul spoke up strongly against all those who have heard about the Lord, known about Him and yet, they still refused to believe and even turned against Him, choosing worldly attractions and temptations, all the false idols of human desire and cravings, for power, glory, influence, fame and material wealth, for the pleasures of the body and other things that we are often surrounded and pampered with in this world, in their respective lives all these while.
As St. Paul made it clear, that even though those people had known the Lord and heard His laws and truth, but they still chose to stubbornly cling to their erroneous ways, and chose to seek consolation and satisfaction in the lesser idols and things that were nothing compared to God. They glorified those things over the Lord and gave themselves and their lives to be enslaved by their desires for worldliness. St. Paul therefore reminded all the faithful, and thus including all of us to live worthily of the Lord from now on.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard something similar regarding the conversation and interaction that the Lord had with a Pharisee who had invited Him to a meal. When that Pharisee wondered and asked why the Lord did not wash His hands before a meal, contextually what happened was that he was referring to the specific ritualistic washing that the Pharisees subscribed to in their very strict interpretation and enforcement of the Law of God.
Over the previous centuries, the accumulation of traditions and customs, strict interpretations and modifications had resulted in the Law being misunderstood, misused and abused for the personal gains and misled the people in the way they ought to follow the Lord. Instead, many among the Pharisees ended up becoming overly fixated on the minute details of the Law while failing to realise and appreciate its true importance, meaning and purpose. They even looked down and despised those who did not follow the Law in the way that they did.
It is this attitude which the Lord criticised and rebuked the Pharisees for. He wants each and every one of us to take note of these things and beware of all the things that can prevent us from truly finding our way to Him, as we glorify ourselves and our desires more than we glorify God. And we should heed this as a lesson to remind ourselves that we have to develop a genuine and strong faith in the Lord, and not to fall into the temptations that is based on our vanity, pride and greed. We have to grow in faith and do our best to resist the pressure to conform to the ways of worldliness.
Let us all therefore be ever more faithful to God in all things, and let us dedicate ourselves each day with ever greater love for God and strive to be exemplary in our every actions throughout life so that we may be good examples as faithful Christians in showing one another how we ought to live our lives with faith from now on. May God bless each and every one of us in our every good efforts and endeavours, for His greater glory. Amen.