Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we again listened to the continuation of the story of how the kingdom of God is like, of how the reign of Christ will be like, as it will be at the end of times. He will separate those who are wicked from those who are righteous, those who had followed faithfully the will and commandments of the Lord from those who rebelled against the Lord, and those who had shown love as opposed to those who had instead shown hatred for their brothers and sisters.
Yes, brethren, that is how the Lord will separate us from His seat at the throne of judgment, the Great Judge of all creation. And like a fisherman, He will separate the good fish from the bad fish, the fresh ones from the rotten ones, and like a shepherd, He will separate the sheep and lambs from the goats, the unblemished lambs from the blemished ones. He will differentiate those who had been His and had accepted Him as their Lord and God from those who had disobeyed Him and disregarded Him and His offer of salvation.
But our Lord cares for us, and He loves us, in the same way that He had once loved and cared for Israel, His people in the desert and beyond. He wants us to be reunited with Him, and that was why, throughout the history of mankind, He had approached our ancestors, from Noah and how He saved him by instructing him to build the Ark, and Abraham, our father in faith, with whom the Lord had made a covenant with, the first covenant of God and man.
The covenant which God had renewed by bringing His people, the children of Abraham out of Egypt with His mighty hand, and brought them to the land He had promised their fathers. He cared for them so much that He sent them many prophets and leaders to continue guiding them towards the right path, despite their constant rebellions and disobedience against His will and His words, and despite that they slaughtered His prophets and messengers.
Yes, those prophets who were slaughtered proclaimed God’s ultimate method in saving all of us, that is through His own Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, and became the source of all hope and salvation, through His sacrifice on the cross. Jesus Christ who suffered for our sake and be lifted up high between the heaven and the earth for our sake, has bridged the infinite chasm between God and us sinners. He is the way through which the lost children of God may pass to return to their loving Father.
When Christ died on the cross, the veil covering the Holy of holies of the Temple of Jerusalem was torn into two pieces, revealing the most sacred interior of the location where the Ark of the Covenant used to be located at, and also where the Lord was supposed to reside in this world. The death of Christ marked the end of the separation that existed ever since we have rebelled against the Lord at the time of Adam and Eve, our first ancestors. The veil that separated us from the Lord had been cast aside, and now there exists a direct highway to God, that is through Christ, His Son, and the new covenant He had created with mankind, with the Precious Blood He shed on the cross.
Today, brothers and sisters, we commemorate the memory of St. Alphonsus Liguori, a well-known Italian bishop who lived during the early modern period. He was most renowned for being the founder of the Redemptorist religious order, many of which members now minister to us, the people of God daily in our own respective societies.
St. Alphonsus Liguori founded the Redemptorists as a congregation of missionaries and brothers dedicated to saving the souls of mankind, through their service, especially to the last, the lost, and the least in the society, to the poorest, both in material and in spirit, that is to give them the love of God, and enkindle in them the fire of the Holy Spirit, for those whom the fire had been dimmed by the world. St. Alphonsus Liguori stressed the importance of a strict and yet reasonable discipline in the faith and in life to be practiced by everyone, so that one would remain faithfully on the path to salvation.
St. Alphonsus Liguori was well-known for his powerful sermons and speeches, which so touched many people, that many of those who had been drifting away from their faith in God, returned devotedly into the Church, and therefore were once again ensured salvation in Christ. The same too was tasked upon the Redemptorists, which St. Alphonsus Liguori had founded, to seek more souls lost in the darkness of the world, and bring them to Christ, who had made the path to God our Father open, by piercing through the veil of separation and bridging through the chasm of separation, through His death on the cross.
Let us today also play our part, following the example of St. Alphonsus Liguori and the Redemptorists, to help one another in our reach for the Lord and for our salvation. Let us help one another to grow stronger in the faith, to grow more devout in our love for the Lord, and to be more courageous to stand up for our faith and for our God. St. Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us sinners and intercede for us before our Lord Jesus Christ, whose death had reconciled man with God, that we all too may share with you, the eternal glory and bliss of heaven forever and ever. Amen.