Liturgical Colour : White
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of a very relevant passage from the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels. We heard how a people in bondage and slavery is given a new hope, where the darkness and the chains that bound them were proven to be loose-able, and mankind gained a new hope in God.
In the first reading, we heard about the calling of Ezekiel by God in the land of exile, in Babylon where some of the people had been brought to when the king Nebuchadnezzar first invaded Judah and Jerusalem. He was called from among the group of exiled people of Judah, a people enslaved by war and conquest, and a people without hope under the chains of the Babylonians.
Yet, God made Ezekiel to be His servant and spokesperson to the people in exile and to the future generations, giving them new hope in life and assurance that God is on their side. In the Gospel today, Jesus explicitly mentioned when He spoke to Peter on the matter of paying taxes, that we are the children of God, and to those of us who are true children of God we are given special privileges as the children of our loving Father.
Jesus mentioned that the children of those who tax the people, namely the kings and rulers, need not pay the tax by common sense and rationale. That means those princes and the family members of the rulers do not need to pay the taxes because they belong to the group of those with power and wealth, and thus instead of paying taxes, they truly should be the ones who receive the taxes from the people.
In that sense, therefore, because we are children of the Most High God, Lord of all lords and King of all kings, Master of everything that exist in this Universe, we need not be bound or answer to any other powers and forces, except that of our Lord and Father of course. He is the only One whom we should be obedient to, and the only One whom we should listen to, and not any forces of this world, and definitely not Satan, the father of corruption and evil.
And yet why are we still bound by the laws of this world and obey the statutes of our countries and nations? Why are we then still bound to the earthly rules established by the rulers of this world, our leaders and rulers? It is the exact same reason as why Jesus mentioned in the Gospel, that in order not to incite outrage and opposition from the masses, the sons and relatives of kings and rulers also have to obey and pay their share of the taxes.
And thus, we all, as the children of God, do still have the need to obey the laws and statutes of this world. But we have to always remember that in doing so, we must always use our faith in God and our conscience as guidance. We must never obey those that come in direct opposition to the laws and statutes of the Lord. Obey and be faithful citizens, but we have to be children of God first before considering ourselves as children of this world.
God is our light and our guide in the darkness of this world. Indeed, there are many moments when we can easily fall into despair, such as when we are persecuted or hated because of something, especially if it is because of our faith. But as the Lord showed Ezekiel, that everything that are arrayed against us, they are all nothing compared to the infinite and great majesty and power of our God.
God had given us Jesus, His own Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer. He is the One whom we can trust and place ourselves to. There is no other option for us other than to follow the Lord whenever we lose our way in this world. We must seek the Lord and find Him, and even in greatest despair and sorrow, we must never lose hope because Christ is our hope and our light.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Clare, the founder of the Clarist religious order, also known as the Order of Poor Ladies, much inspired by the Franciscan order of St. Francis of Assisi, a contemporary of St. Clare, also known as St. Clare of Assisi. The religious order she founded became the female counterpart of the Franciscan tradition, and over the years they worked together to bring much goodness to the people of God.
St. Clare was born into a rich and privileged background, and she was destined to be married off to another rich man and heir of other Italian noblemen and wealthy peoples, and yet, God had another plan for St. Clare. St. Clare was very devoted and faithful to God since when she was still very young, and she was adamantly opposed to any plans to marry her off to a rich suitor. She ended up running away from home and sought refuge with St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Clare then devoted herself fully in prayer and to the works related to her religious order, and together with her sisters in service to God, they served the people who are poor and weak, those who are marginalised and bring them new hope in life. She was also well known for her defense of her convent, when an invading force by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II was about to ransack the place.
With the monstrance containing the Holy Eucharist inside lifted high above her head, she repelled the invaders, who were scattered in great fear by a blinding light that came out from the Real Presence in the Eucharist. This is a sign of God’s devotion to mankind, to release them from their bonds, just as He released St. Clare from her bonds in her family, Ezekiel and the exiles of Israel from their Babylonian exile and slavery, and eventually all of mankind from the slavery of sin through the loving sacrifice of Jesus, His Son.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the life and works of St. Clare, we all should from now on put our complete trust in God. We should no longer doubt Him but believe in Him completely, that in Him we have our hope, and our only hope against the forces of darkness and evil arrayed against us, seeking to bind us with the chains of sin, in order to drag us with them into hell.
Therefore, let us all put our trust in God, and strengthen our faith in Him. Let us all no longer fear Satan and his darkness, for God is with us, and He will always be with us, and His light will dispel the darkness of our sins. What we need to do now is to truly repent, change our ways and follow Him. God be with us all. Amen.