Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)
Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings are the continuation of the messages of the Scripture from yesterday, and we continue to talk about how worldly possessions may hinder us from truly reaching out to the Lord. The difficulty for the rich which Jesus mentioned, for them to enter the kingdom of heaven, is itself not because of the rich status or the fault of the wealth or material possessions, but in fact because of our innate weakness and proneness to the tempting power of those possessions.
Essentially, those possessions keep us away from the Lord because they rob the focus of our hearts, hijacking our hearts and minds which should really be thinking and focusing on the Lord and all of His goodness, and instead we think more and more of our wealth and possession, to the point that we eventually worry more and more about them, on how we can gain more of them and how we can safeguard them.
We mankind are easy to be tempted if we do not take the steps to actively prevent this temptation. Ever since the days of Adam and Eve, when they were tempted with knowledge and greatness by the lies of Satan, we mankind had been exposed to the works of evil in this world, which threaten to pull us deep into the pit of damnation just as our ancestors had been trapped in those lies of Satan that brought us away from our divine inheritance.
The first reading today talked about how God proclaimed His judgment and prediction on the fate of Tyre, which was a great city of the land of Sidon, of the Phoenicians, a great seafaring nation, which built colonies far and wide, and the progenitor of the later Carthaginian Empire. Tyre is the mother city of the Phoenicians who were great navigators, traders and merchants who built their cities strong with wealth, and Tyre the foremost among them. The rich purple dye of the rulers and Emperors of Rome were named Tyrian purple after the wealth of the city in which this dye originally came from.
Tyre had all reasons to be overconfident, as it had a great influence, mighty and powerful over the seas. In addition to that, the city was built on a nature island off the coast of what is today Lebanon, and therefore is naturally protected against any enemies and forces arrayed against it. Nevertheless, it is in this arrogance and power that ended up in their downfall.
What the Lord spoke of, became true when the Greek King, Alexander the Great conquered the city of Tyre after a long siege, and the city never regained its power, prominence and glory. Therefore, it had been cast down and its power was broken, never to recover. And therefore the same will also eventually happen to us, if we depend on our human power, as well as on our desire for wealth, glory and fame.
It is important for us to realise that wealth, possession, fame, achievement in life and greatness are often not the answers for our lives, and they are neither the solutions for which we can live our lives in a better and more meaningful way. It is too often that mankind had been destroyed by all these, as they are unable to resist their greed and desire and end up destroying themselves.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. John Eudes, a priest of the Lord who founded a religious congregation, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary. He took a vow of chastity at a young age, and then proceeded to join the religious life fully dedicated to the Lord. Under his actions, numerous good works had been done for the sake of the Lord by St. John Eudes himself, who worked hard to serve the people of God and spread the Word of God to many people around him.
St. John Eudes was especially intrigued by those around him who lived in sin and in the darkness of the world, particularly prostitutes who were common in that age. Therefore, St. John Eudes worked hard to help those who were destitute and weak in faith, and through his religious congregation, he endeavoured to advance the preparation and education of priests and all those who devoted themselves to the Lord, that they may do better works for the sake of God and His people.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, people like St. John Eudes and many others who had given up everything, all glory, wealth and fame that they may be true servants of the Lord are our role models. They have resisted the temptations of the flesh and that of the world, so that they are no longer governed by the whim of their desire, but instead by the will of God speaking inside them, guiding them in life to bear much fruits of their good works in the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, is it not right indeed, that we should truly follow in their footsteps? We should all use these opportunities given to us, so that we may free ourselves from the unending pull of desires and human greed, and instead begin to live wholly and completely in the grace and love of God. Let us all ask St. John Eudes for his prayers and intercession, that we too may serve God and His people just as he had once done.
May Almighty God be with us all, in our lives, that we may do good works for the sake of all those around us, particularly those who are weak, destitute and downtrodden. Amen.