Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Word of God in the Scriptures the need for us all to be humble in our faith and to be aware of our own shortcomings and weakness, of our own vulnerabilities and unworthiness before God. And that is why, through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today we are called to examine our lives and our attitude all these while.
In the Gospel passage today we heard of the famous parable that the Lord Jesus used, the parable of the splinter and the plank in order to highlight why it is so important for us all to be in touch and to be aware of our own shortcomings and vulnerabilities, and to be humble despite the temptations to do otherwise. The Lord stated how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were behaving in the way as if they were focusing on the splinter in the other persons’ eyes while being ignorant of the plank in their own.
For the context of what the Lord had spoken to the people, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were those who took great pride in their privileges and the honour and respect that were given to them based on their knowledge and education background, their intellect and in depth knowledge of God’s laws and the customs of the Israelites, preserved through the many generations.
But in their preoccupation with status, glory and worldly fame, they ended up focusing on the wrong things in life. Many of them ended up guarding their status and fame with great jealousy, and when the Lord Jesus came into their midst, naturally they saw Him with great suspicion and anger, and tried their best to undermine and disturb His works and ministry among the people.
They also tended to look down on other people, especially all those whom they deemed to be unworthy and as sinners. They easily condemned those they deemed as sinners particularly the tax collectors and prostitutes, those who were suffering from diseases such as leprosy and also disabilities like blindness and paralysis. But amidst all of that, they forgot that they themselves were sinners too.
The Lord wanted to show all of us that we must first be aware of our own shortcomings and mistakes, our sinfulness and unworthiness before we are quick to point out those shortcomings in others. And that is why we should not be quick to judge with sinister and wicked intentions in our minds and hearts just because we think highly of ourselves or be too proud or be filled with too much of ego.
Rather, as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle to St. Timothy, part of our first reading today, all of us must have God as our source of strength and providence, as our backbone and pillar of strength. All of us should seek to put God first and foremost before all, and seek Him as the source of our faith and power that allow us to walk faithfully in His path despite the challenges and temptations to do otherwise.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all then look at the examples set by a holy man of God, St. John Chrysostom, whose feast we celebrate on this day. St. John Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople and a very influential leader of the Church and Church father in the early days of the Church remembered for his great sermons and teachings of the faith among the people against heresies and falsehoods.
And St. John Chrysostom was also remembered for his great stand and commitment to God in the opposition to the abuse of worldly power and human ambitions, serving God faithfully despite the challenges that he had to face throughout his life and ministry. He had to go through many years of trouble, both before and during his tenure as the Archbishop of Constantinople. But he did not give up or allow those challenges to prevent him from remaining resolute and true to his faith.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today reflect on the courage shown by St. John Chrysostom and so many others of our holy and devout predecessors. Let us all look upon their inspirations and their commitment to God, and think of how we ourselves can be more faithful to God in each and every moments of our life. Let us all turn towards God with greater fidelity and with greater commitment and love from now on, and be ever closer to Him and be ever more filled with love in all things. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.