Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the distinction between the ones who lived in the flesh and in the Spirit, that is those who listen to the whim of their human weaknesses, namely pride, anger, jealousy, desire, arrogance, greed, ignorance, wrath, lust, dishonesty and many others, rather than to walk in the way which the Lord had designed for us.
The Lord had revealed His laws through Moses, with all the rules and regulations designed to help the people to control themselves and prevent themselves from succumbing to the desires and temptations of the flesh and the pleasures of the world, with which Satan constantly and daily assault us all mankind, in order to drag us into damnation together with him for eternity.
The Law of God, as exemplified by the Ten Commandments are a set of guides and rules to help the people of God as focus to lead them in life, just like a lighthouse with its light guides ships away from the shores and from dangerous and sharp rocks, so that they would not flounder and be wrecked on the reefs. Thus the purpose of the Law of God was not to punish, but instead to love the people of God, that is by showing how God loves them through such care that He gave them such guidance that they may not hurt themselves by doing something foolish in life.
Yet, many of the people refused to listen to and obey the laws, despite constant and repeated reminders by the Lord. They continued to persist in their rebelliousness, and they walked with pride, knowingly following the ways of Satan the deceiver, who lavished them with lies and temptations of the flesh. Like the tales of old, again using the example of the ships and the sailors who guide them through rough waters, Satan and his agents were like the legendary sirens who were told to be enchanters who lulled unaware sailors and ships with their songs, that they ended up wrecked on reefs and rocks and be lost.
The lull, the joy and the pleasures of Satan are dangerous, brothers and sisters in Christ, be it then, and be it now. He is always about and around us, looking for opportunities where we are at our most vulnerable. And if we are not careful, we may indeed be trapped by the devices of Satan and fall into damnation. Thus we have to be ever vigilant and be ready to guard ourselves against such vicious attacks.
And how do we best do this? This is by embracing the teachings of Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to be our guide, by entrusting ourselves fully to His love and shunning all things of the devil. That means we have to cast away all acts of fornication and corruption of our flesh, heart and soul, and begin to walk righteously in the sight of God. We have to practice our faith and commit fully to the truth and love of God, showing the faith we have in our words, actions and deeds.
And today, we celebrate the feast of a great woman and saint, whose life can be a model for us all, in living our faith. She is St. Teresa of Jesus, also known famously as St. Teresa of Avila, after the name of the city where she came from. St. Teresa of Jesus was recently made a Doctor of the Church, for her great and numerous works in faith, through which her writings and works became priceless inspiration source for many of the faithful.
St. Teresa of Jesus herself was born in Spain during the time of the early modern era Europe, at the time when the Church was about to be rocked greatly by the so-called Protestant ‘reformation’, where many of the faithful were led away by the lies and falsehoods of the agents of Satan, who infiltrated many hearts of the faithful and turned them against the efforts of the Lord through His Church.
Satan appealed to the people of God, to make themselves free from the Law of God through the Church, which had been seen by many as corrupted. Indeed, the Church leadership and hierarchy at the time had been seen as debauched and corrupt, much like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law at the time of Jesus. They only fulfilled the Law on the superficial level, but in their hearts, they were corrupt and they served only their own desires.
But many people took matter to their own hands, and rather than listening to the words of the Holy Spirit, they followed the lies of Satan that caused even greater injury to the Church and to the faithful. They refused to help the Church and the faithful to get free from the entanglements of Satan, and instead they themselves became entangled even further.
This was where St. Teresa of Jesus entered the scene. Joining the Carmelites at a young age, St. Teresa of Jesus had always been noted for her great piety and devotion to the Lord, who made herself to belong completely to Christ our Lord. She wrote many books and writings which became model for many who came after her in the subsequent centuries, and she also received many visions about the Lord, and how we mankind ought to live our faith life. She eventually also became a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation efforts to return many souls to the Lord.
She suffered from many illnesses and diseases throughout her life as a religious sister, but she did not complain or become bitter because of that. Instead, she saw it as a suffering being suffered for the sake of the Lord. She also promoted the need for mankind to put themselves completely in trust to God, and to surrender themselves and subject themselves to the love of God.
This and many of her other teachings in her writings help mankind to find a clear path towards the Lord, avoiding all the efforts of the devil who constantly tried to turn mankind away from the path towards salvation and into damnation with him. Like the clear and bright light of the lighthouse, what St. Teresa of Jesus had written, had said and had done in her life, enduring suffering after suffering in joy with the Lord, and in her complete and undying trust in God, she showed us all, who still wander in the darkness of this world, how to reach our target and destination, that is the Lord our God.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today ask for the intercession of St. Teresa of Jesus and of other holy saints of God, that they may help intercede for our sake, and pray for us before the Lord, that we may follow their leads and examples, to avoid falling into the traps and devices of Satan and that we may also reject firmly all forms of fornications of the flesh, and begin to live according to the Spirit. May Almighty God guide us on our way, and lead us to Himself, that we may find our way to resist Satan and remaining true to our faith in God. God bless us all. Amen.