Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we mark this last day of our current liturgical year, and beginning the season of Advent tomorrow, we are all reminded again of what awaits us at the end of time, if we are to remain faithful to the Lord. We are reminded that we have always been intended to live in everlasting happiness and bliss. The Lord created each one of us to share and bask in His love and grace, but unfortunately because of sin, through our disobedience against God, we have been sundered and separated from God. But that did not stop God from loving and caring for us. In fact, He redoubled His efforts to reach out to us and wanted to help us out of our predicament and troubles.
That is why, He revealed to us His plans and His works, in how He will liberate all of us from the clutches of sin and death. He showed St. John the Apostle of what will come at the end of time and awaits those who are obedient to Him, listened to His call and answered it, and embraced His path towards salvation and eternal life. St. John saw through the Lord’s Angel, a vision of the New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, one that is heavenly and perfect, unlike the old, worldly Jerusalem, at the end of time. That all will happen after the final triumphant victory over all sin, evil and death, and when Satan, with all of his forces and all those who have rejected God, betrayed and abandoned Him, and refusing to embrace His compassionate love and mercy, have been cast into eternal suffering and annihilation.
Essentially, St. John saw the revelation of what true paradise is like, in which mankind will no longer suffer any want or need, or endure any more physical, mental or spiritual hardships and pains, sufferings or trials, or challenges and difficulties because they have already existed in God’s presence and gained perfection through Him. No longer shall they ever be separated from Him again, and they shall exist forever in His Presence, continuously praising Him and enjoying the full fruits of their hard and faithful labours in this world. I am sure that is what many of us are looking forward to in our lives, as we want to be reunited with God and to find our way to achieve this eventual state of oneness with Him. However, the path going towards this state will be one that is filled with obstacles, challenges and trials.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we must all realise that living as Christians is not an easy as it may seem to many of us. Some among us may have or have had this misconception that being Christians means that we have been assured and guaranteed salvation and grace from God without us needing to do anything else. As the Apostles mentioned, and sacred traditions and teachings of the Church ought to remind us, that if our faith is not made alive through real and concrete actions and deeds rooted in that genuine faith, then that faith is dead and meaningless to us, and will not avail us on the path towards salvation and eternal life in God. Our dead faith is no better than that of unbelievers and hypocrites, and we must keep that in mind lest we end up walking down that path.
In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord Jesus Himself reminding His disciples and hence all of us to be vigilant and ready for His coming, the coming of the end times as He has promised. This means that we should indeed not remain idle in living our lives as Christians, but we should do our best to practice our faith and to live this life as justly and filled with righteousness as possible, doing our best to obey the Law and commandments of God. This is how we are called to embrace God’s path and how we can find the surest path to the eternal life through God and His salvation. We have to be active in proclaiming God’s words and truth, His love and kindness through our own actions, by which we show the world and all those whom we encounter in life, what true Christian love is all about.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us spend some time to reflect upon our lives and our actions in this world. Let us use this opportunity and the reminders that God had presented to us throughout these few weeks to help us to discern carefully our path forward in life, that if we have been wayward in how we live our lives, we may find the true path towards the Lord and His salvation. We have to keep ourselves firmly centred on the Lord and keep our focus on Him so that we can strive to resist the temptations to walk away from Him and betraying Him for the comforts and pleasures of the world. We have to be ever vigilant and strong, and be inspired by the examples of our holy predecessors, who have committed themselves to God and devoted themselves, often suffering a lot in the midst of their efforts to walk in the path of God.
And we are all called to show that same love for God to our fellow brothers and sisters as well because as Christians, each and every one of us, even strangers and all those whom we encounter in life, and even those who have hated, hurt and persecuted us, are all equally beloved children of God. Hence, it is important that all of us diminish our sense of self-importance and hubris, diminishing our pride and ego so that we may truly and genuinely show the love that God has taught and shown us to one another. Just as the Lord Himself has loved us when we are still so despicable, rebellious and wicked, so we are called to love one another in the same way, and be great examples of what it truly means to be Christians, as the disciples and followers of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
May the Lord continue to guide us in our path and journey of faith through life, and may He empower and strengthen us that we may persevere more amidst the many trials and challenges in life, and all that we may encounter in our path. May He stay by our side and lead us through the challenges and trials of the year ahead, and grant us the grace and blessings in the path we walk, that we may remain true to Him and be good examples and inspirations for one another. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.