Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Brothers and sisters in Christ! Today’s scripture readings very clearly highlight the truth, how in our lives in this world, we often forsake the Lord and His ways for the temporary pleasures of the flesh and of the world. We let our emotions and sin to cloud our judgments and to affect our actions and deeds. In that way we preferred the ways of Satan and his rebelliousness rather than the truth and love that is in God.
In today’s first reading, we see how the two most respected people among the entirety of the people of God, the two appointed elders of the people of God, were actually the ones who brought sin and destruction upon the people, by judging as guilty an innocent woman, all because so that they could hide the sin that they had planned to commit with her. If the Spirit of God had not acted through Daniel, the young prophet, an innocent life would have been lost.
And in today’s Gospel reading, we heard the well-known story how Jesus dealt with the woman caught in adulterous behaviour, how He did not condemn her for her sins, and in fact called upon the people who wanted her dead, to reflect upon their own sinfulness and not to be judgmental, for they themselves were subjects to the same judgment of God for they all have sinned.
Today we are all called to holiness and new life, that is a life filled with the love of God, and blessed by God’s presence, that we no longer indulge ourselves in our sinful ways and manners of life, and instead commit ourselves to do the will of God and immerse ourselves in the way of the Lord, as Jesus had told the sinful woman, ‘Do not sin anymore.’
The key to salvation is for us all to be able to recognise first that we are sinners, and we are all faulty at one point in our lives, and we are imperfect, and therefore, flawed as we are, we are bound to commit sin and other acts displeasing to God. But it is also equally important that we realise how loving our God is towards us all, the most beloved ones of His creations.
It is indeed true that God hates sin, and He hates all forms of darkness and evils, that were born out of disobedience to His will. Nevertheless, He loves us even more than the hatred He has for our sins. But this love will not manifest itself if we keep ourselves locked and separated from His love, if we refuse to acknowledge that we are sinners, and that we need to repent. Only through the understanding of one’s sinfulness and accepting that we need God’s mercy that we can get closer to God and towards salvation in Him.
Sin keeps us away from the goodness of God and it even deviates us in our path, that we veer off the path towards God and instead we walk on towards doom and destruction. That was what happened to the two elders who tried to commit sin with Susanna, the faithful woman, and ended up sinning even greater by committing themselves ever deeper into their sinfulness.
They sin because they keep themselves in their sinfulness, and instead of acknowledging that they were sinners and committing themselves to repentance and new life, they became fearful and selfish, and they committed even greater sins in the process, condemning the innocent to death, while seeking freedom for themselves who had sinned, at the price of the blood of the innocent.
The same the Pharisees and the chief priests had done to the Holy and Innocent One of God, none other than Jesus, who was condemned to the death because of their jealousy and insecurity. They themselves said that it would be better for one man, that is Jesus, to die rather than the whole nation. In reality, they are concerned not for the nation, but only for themselves, for the wealth and the position that they had enjoyed as the leaders of the people, corrupted by their own power.
This is what we should not do, and we should not be like them. We should not be swayed by the allures of power and we should not give in to our selfishness and pride, that we become like the Pharisees. We have to be humble and be open to the love of God as I have often mentioned. Jesus called us to be loving children of God, and He wanted us to be saved. That is why, He forgave the adulterous woman, not just because He loves us, but because He also sees the hope in us.
Yes, the Lord sees the hope in us, and He desires for us all to be reunited with Him. Even the greatest of sinners have hope of salvation, again providing that they open up themselves to accept the Lord’s infinite mercy. That is the key ingredient of salvation, that we too should be receptive to God’s mercy and love. We cannot harden our hearts and refuse to allow the Lord to enter our hearts.
God offered us His salvation, if we want to accept Him and listen to Him. And today we have a role model whose model we can follow and aspire to, as what he has done in this life is to show us, how to be like Christ and to follow Christ in His ways. Yes, that person is St. John Baptist de la Salle, the missionary priest and patron saint of Christian schools and education.
St. John Baptist de la Salle is particularly dear and known to me, because he is the patron saint of my Alma Mater, and when I was in that school, I learnt a lot about who St. John Baptist de la Salle was. He is the main patron of the Lasallian congregation, consisting of brothers and community of devoted religious called the Brothers of Christian Schools. What is the significance?
This is because St. John Baptist de la Salle dedicated himself to the poor children, the last, the lost and the least of the society. He emulated and followed what Jesus had taught us and His disciples. St. John Baptist de la Salle shows that we have to be merciful and loving to others, especially to those who lack love in them, and to those who have sinned. That was what Jesus had done to the prostitute, forgiving her from what she had done.
St. John Baptist de la Salle shows us that we need to be genuine in loving and giving of ourselves to others if we are to be truly good disciples of the Lord. We cannot be hypocrites who look highly upon ourselves and look down on others when we ourselves too are lowly sinners. Let us not be like the Pharisees who condemned others whom they deem to be unworthy of salvation.
We have to preach love and forgiveness that Jesus had taught His disciples, keeping in mind that it is important for the neglected and the lost ones, including all of us, to be able to get in touch with God and His generous offer of forgiveness. No one is beyond God’s salvation and mercy, and especially to those who are the last, the lost and the least.
Let us therefore help one another and open the path for others to also reach out to God. Let us not be prideful, hate-filled and jealous, but instead love one another genuinely and tenderly. May the Lord bless us all, for all eternity. God bless us all with His love, and that we too may love sincerely and with all of our hearts. Amen.