Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today you may think that Jesus was being uncharacteristically rude towards His own family, and His own mother in particular. After all, how could such a great Teacher of the faith disown and ridicule His own mother in front of the public He was teaching? Such are the thoughts that may circulate among many of us.
But in fact, Jesus was praising His own mother, Mary, with what He said, because Mary as the obedient and faithful servant of the Lord, His handmaiden, was the perfect example of what Jesus referred to, as those who were considered part of His family. It is indeed her example of devotion to God that we all should follow.
We are all indeed one big family in Christ, for through baptism, on the day when we were sealed with the Sacrament of Baptism, that we were made to be children, the sons and daughters of God who is our Father. And therefore, Christ His Son, the Divine Word of God, also made us to be His brothers and sisters, to be part of the community of the faithful, which is called the Church, symbolised as the unity of the Body of Christ, as the body of all the faithful ones in God.
Today’s first reading also told us about King David of Israel, when he brought in the Ark of God into the city of Jerusalem. In king David’s example, much like that of Mary, he devoted himself to the Lord, so devoutly that he went straight to praise the Lord with dance and song ahead of the Ark of God, showcasing and representing the joy of the people in the coming of the Lord to them in the Ark.
God did not ask much from us, brothers and sisters in Christ. What is referred to by our Lord Jesus when He told the people about obedience to the will of God, is all about love. Yes, the love that we should have for our brothers and sisters, and the love we have to have for God our Lord and Father. It is pure, genuine, and undivided love and attention that God desires from us, and this is true faith.
What this highlights is that, as mentioned, that we were made sons and daughters of God our Father when we were welcomed into the Church upon our baptism. However, we cannot then just remain at that stage and do nothing. Our faith cannot be just a one-off thing, as our faith must keep growing and must be alive and vibrant.
That means our faith cannot be stagnant or mere lip-service, but like what David and Mary in their actions had shown, faith in God must be made through concrete action and real devotion. God wants from us our love and our devotion, in the same way that had been shown by David and Mary, as well as many other forms of love. Love for God must be genuine and pure, and not be mere incantation of prayers and rituals. Those are important, but they must be done with true understanding and genuine love for God.
Today we celebrate the feast of one of the greatest and well-known saints of Christendom, that is St. Thomas Aquinas, the renowned theologian and avid writer of the faith, in the many volumes of his works, he had inspired countless faithfuls, and inspire them to grow deeper in their faith and devotion to God.
St. Thomas Aquinas wanted to join the religious life from an early age, but was faced with strong opposition from his family. Nevertheless he managed his way to become a devotee in the end despite many attempts from his family to bar his way. St. Thomas Aquinas became a Dominican, the order of Preachers, and yet he was known to be a quiet man.
Nonetheless, as another saint was to announce prophetically about St. Thomas Aquinas, his quiet nature hides the true wisdom and greatness that is inside of him. St. Thomas Aquinas was a well educated person and helped to bring the faith to a clearer light through his various writings and works, as well as through his various evangelisation works as part of the Dominican order.
Of course, St. Thomas Aquinas did not have things going his way all the time. There were numerous oppositions from different sources as he went about doing his works. His teachings were even condemned at times and he was harassed at times too. But he did not budge, and St. Thomas Aquinas continued with his works for the sake of the Lord and His people.
His wisdom was eventually recognised and his piety became an encouragement and a model to everyone. And therefore, brethren, let us follow the examples of St. Thomas Aquinas and that of the other saints, that we may truly shine in our faith, through greater understanding of the faith itself, and that is why it is important for us to read great works of the faith, including that of St. Thomas Aquinas. And also to put that faith into practice, by loving one another, practising the same love that God had shown us through Jesus.
May our loving God continue to be with us and guide us, and bless us that we may continue to be faithful and loving till the end of our days. God be with us all, brethren, and may He bless you richly. Amen.