Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are reminded that all of us must have trust in God, and believe that in Him we shall be well taken care of, and we have nothing to fear or worry about. We have to believe that in God we shall be triumphant in the end, and not fall into the temptations to abandon Him for other sources of comfort in life. Often times we may be swayed to turn to those distractions that can prevent us from finding our path in God, but this is where our Christian faith should hold us firm in our trust in God.
In our first reading, we heard yet again from the prophet Amos, the prophet whom God had called from the land of Judah to prophesy and proclaim the word and will of God among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, during the last years of its existence. By that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had already long defied the Lord and its people and king had always committed what is vile and wicked in the sight of God, and the Lord hence proclaimed His judgment on them through Amos.
The Lord told them all that there is nothing that He does not know about the actions and behaviours of the people whose wickedness had been so despicable and unbecoming of those whom God had called to be His own people. He said to them that everything that happened in this world, are known to Him, and by their own actions and deeds hence, they would be judged and crushed by their sins, by their stubbornness and wickedness, and shall be consigned to the eternal darkness and suffering.
The prophet Amos was prophesying of the coming downfall of the kingdom of Israel, which happened just a few decades after the time of the ministry of Amos, proving that everything which the Lord had spoken truly came true, and serve as a good lesson and reminder to us, that if we turn away from God and continue walking down the path of sin, in the end, we will likely fall into ruin and destruction, if we leave the Lord and His assurances behind, and follow the tides and sway of the world instead.
Today, in our Gospel passage, we also heard about the story of when the Lord Jesus and His disciples were travelling a boat in the middle of a great storm, with lots of wind and waves, battering against the boat in which the Lord and His disciples were in. The disciples were afraid and were panicking, worried that the storm and the waves would overcome them, and sink the boat. They woke the Lord up and begged Him to help them, and to save them from their predicament. The Lord rebuked and chided them for their lack of faith, but said then that they truly had nothing to fear about, and they ought to have faith in Him.
The Lord proceeded then to miraculously calm the storm down, and the whole place become calm again, with no trace of the storm, the wind or the waves, in the sight of all the incredulous disciples, who were all astonished at seeing such great miracles occurring before their very own eyes. They were persuaded that truly, the One they were following was the Holy One of God, the Messiah and the Son of God, as they themselves witnessed in many other occasions, of His miraculous deeds, works and great Wisdom.
Now, through what we have heard in that story, there were plenty of symbolisms there, which should serve as a reminder for us in how we are to follow the Lord faithfully. First of all, the boat is a representation of the Church, while the waves, the storm and the wind are representative of the troubles, trials and challenges that the Church and the faithful often face in this world, all the temptations and struggles, the forces of evil and those who seek to sway us to the path towards destruction. And what we must then therefore remember is that the Lord never abandons His Church and His flock, and He is journeying with us through this turbulent world.
If we choose to jump ship and to abandon Him and the Church, then we shall surely perish in the waves and the storm. The disciples, although they were afraid and were panicking, but they at least trusted in the Lord and believed in Him, and called on Him to help them out of their predicament. Contrast this to the Israelites who sought for help from various sources but the Lord, putting their trust in the pagan gods and idols, and believing in the false prophets and leaders who misled them down the path of evil and disobedience against God. The Lord showed us all what those people would experience and how they fell from His grace into suffering.
Today, we should also heed the good examples set by St. Irenaeus, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Irenaeus was the renowned bishop of the region of what is today southern France, who hailed from Smyrna in Asia Minor, who was a courageous defender of the faith and was renowned for his many efforts to defend the Christian orthodoxy against the many heretical teachings and efforts to undermine the Church by various groups and peoples. The Lord has called St. Irenaeus to minister to his flock, and he did so amazingly, spending a lot of time and effort to care for them and also in his time spent in his writings and works against the heretical teachings of his day.
In his most famous work, Against Heresies, St. Irenaeus strongly defended Christian truths and orthodox teachings against the numerous fallacies and falsehoods promoted by the supporters of those wicked teachings, and he also persevered and laboured hard against those among the authorities and the people who supported the heretical paths. St. Irenaeus committed himself thoroughly to serve the Lord and to glorify Him by his works and deeds, becoming a great champion of the Christian faithful, and whose dedication earned him the title of Doctor Unitatis or the Doctor of Unity, declared by Pope Francis, our current Pope as the newest Doctor of the Church very recently.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore seek the Lord with renewed faith and commit ourselves thoroughly to Him from now on. Let us no longer be stubborn and be easily swayed by those who sought to lead us down the path of ruin, and remember that through the Lord alone there is salvation, true happiness and grace. May God be with us all and may He bless each and every one of us, now and always, forevermore. Amen.