Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today through the Scriptures, we listened first of all to the word of God concerning His people, pointing out their sins and wickedness through Ezekiel, the prophet of God in the exile land of Babylon. They have not been faithful and they have abandoned their God, and they have not obeyed the commandments and laws of God.
As a result, they have broken the sacred Covenant which they have made with their God. A Covenant is a sacred and solemn promise which is made between two parties, where both parties are bound by the same promise to be faithful to the Covenant, the terms and conditions that bound them to that very Covenant. In this manner, the people of God had promised to be faithful to God and to be obedient to Him, while God had promised that He would continue to love His people.
The Israelites disobeyed God’s laws and commandments, as what the prophet Ezekiel presented to the people from God’s own words, comparing their attitudes with the attitude of young maiden and woman who had been taken care of by her adoptive father, who represents God, and yet, despite the love that he has shown to her, she has defiled herself and made herself a prostitute among the nations.
But God, as He is ever loving and filled with mercy, continues to love us, as He has never abandoned us and He is always ever loving, even to the greatest of sinners. He continued to care for and to provide for His beloved ones, hoping that one day they may come to realise their mistakes and asking for forgiveness. At that moment, He will reconcile them again and reunite them with Himself, to enjoy His eternal grace and love.
In today’s Gospel passage, we heard about the Lord’s rebuke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law with regards to marriage. The latter asked the Lord, trying to test Him with the question, whether divorce is something that is allowed according to the Law. To them, according to the laws of Moses, divorce is allowed as long as the two parties involved settled it with an agreement.
But the Lord Jesus rebuked them because using that practice and argument, it reduced the sanctity of marriage into a mere transactional relationship between two people. Marriage is not just merely a formality but it is in fact a blessed union, which God Himself has made, and is a sacrament in the context of our Church, as the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. All of these are founded upon the sanctity of marriage whereupon two people are joined together by God into one, inseparable unity.
And this unity is also stressed in relation to the strong unity between God and His people, which earlier has been mentioned as a Covenant. And thus, today, all of us are called to reflect on the mistakes made by the Israelites in the past, in how they have not been obedient to the Covenant which they made with God. Have we ourselves lived our lives in accordance with God’s ways?
In today’s Gospel, at the ending of the passage, we heard of the Lord speaking to the people, about what each of His people’s respective obligations and callings are. This is called our vocations in life, and there are indeed many different paths to which we are called by God. Some are called to a married life as mentioned, but there are also those called to a life of celibacy and perpetual virginity, and those who are called to be priests of the Lord.
Each of these pathways and vocations are not less worthy or good than the other, and all of them are ultimately about how we can be holy and devout in the way we carry on with our respective lives and vocations. God has called us all to be holy just as He is holy, and to be righteous just as He is righteous, and be faithful to the Covenant He has made with us all, just as He is always faithful to that Covenant.
May the Lord be on our side always, that He will continue to strengthen us in our faith, encouraging us all to remain committed to the Covenant that God has made with us through His Son, Jesus Christ, by His loving sacrifice on the cross. May all of us strive to remain committed and true in our dedication and faith, that by our every actions and deeds, we will bring greater glory to God. Amen.