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 Scriptures, each one of us are reminded of the need for all of us as Christians to obey the Lord and to follow His Law and commandments, and to entrust ourselves to His love, care and mercy. God has shown and taught us the way to reach His salvation and grace, and as Christians, it is our obligation and duty to follow Him and to do our best so that we may live our lives worthily and inspire many others all around us to live their lives worthily of the Lord as well. We are called to adapt the path of Christ and abandon our past, sinful and unworthy way of life.
In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Galatia, the exhortation from the Apostle to the people of God there for them to believe in the truth of Christ and embrace the fullness of His ways, His revelation and the renewal of the Law of God that He had brought. This was certainly and very likely addressed to the members of the Jewish community in the diaspora in Galatia, who had embraced the Christian faith, and became members of the Church. Some of those Jewish Christians still upheld their old Law and customs, the traditions of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
That was the Law which St. Paul mentioned in that first reading passage we have today. This Law was a reference to the Jewish customs and traditions, practices and rites that the Jewish elders and communities had received from their ancestors, the Law of God as revealed through Moses, modified and added upon, accumulating over many centuries, which in the end resulted in the Law being further and further away from the true original intention and purpose. And in the manner how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law practiced and enforced them, the Law became even more oppressive and further away from their true purpose and meaning.
That is why St. Paul told the faithful in Galatia, especially those who hailed from the Jewish community converts, to abandon their past mistaken ways of obeying and practicing the Law, as those ways were no longer relevant and correct for them as Christians. The Lord had revealed to them through Christ Himself, and through the gifts of the Wisdom and the Holy Spirit, the fullness of truth which He preserved and passed to us through His Church and His Apostles. St. Paul, having received this same deposit of faith therefore shared it and reminded all the people of God, including those in Galatia, not to remain in their past mistaken and prejudiced ways.
St. Paul also exhorted on all the faithful in Galatia to be united as Christians and as members of God’s Church. They should no longer be divided by their groups or origins, whether they were Jews or Greeks, or other Gentiles or non-Jewish people, or whether they were free or slaves, or whether they were rich or poor. St. Paul told them all that through Baptism they all have been made the children of God, and everyone are equal before the Lord. What matters is for all of us to obey the Lord and His commandments, His Law and will in the manner that He has taught and shown us to do, just as St. Paul had exhorted the Galatians.
That is what we heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord told His disciples and the people gathered before Him, that those who obeyed the Lord, walked in His ways, listened to Him and did His will are the ones who will be truly blessed by God. God will be with them and He will provide them all that they need, and they shall not falter and fail, for the Lord Himself will be with them and will strengthen them in the hour of their greatest need. The Lord will guide them and guard them against all harm, and He will lead them all to the ultimate triumph, and that, brothers and sisters in Christ, is what awaits us in the end if we are faithful to God and remain firm in our commitment to Him.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all therefore reminded as Christians and members of God’s Church that each and every one of us have the obligation and duty to follow the Lord and His teachings, to do His will and to obey His commandments. Each one of us must love the Lord our God with all of our strength and all of our might, and we have to put Him as the focus and the centre of our whole lives. We are nothing without God, and everything we do, our whole lives should be centred on Him. And at the same time, we must also love one another without distinctions, prejudices or bias, just as St. Paul exhorted the Galatians to do. That is in essence, is what we are called to do as Christians, obeying God’s Law and commandments in its true intention and purpose.
May the Lord our God continue to be with us and guide us, and may He empower and strengthen us all in all things. May He bless all of our efforts, good works and endeavours, all for the greater glory of His Name. May He continue to love us all and keep us always in His loving presence. Amen.