Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Holy Scriptures about the arrogance and selfishness of men, and on the contrary, how God is ever loving and forgiving, showing His mercy and love ever upon us all. As we embark upon the celebrations of the Holy Week starting tomorrow, we have to come to realise that for many times in our life, it is our selfishness and stubbornness that have brought about our downfall.
The people of Israel were torn into two peoples, the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah, because of the selfishness that grew in the heart of Solomon, the great king of Israel, as he grew older and became enamoured and occupied by his great wealth and by his many wives. And therefore by his stubbornness and refusal to listen to the Lord, calamity befell the people of God.
And as had been proven many times throughout the Old Testament, and even into the New Testament, the people of God had displayed selfish attitudes so many times so as to suggest that it is in their nature to be selfish, and indeed we mankind are all by nature selfish. And it is this selfishness that led Israel to constantly rebel against the will of God and disobey His commandments.
The Israelites constantly complained against the Lord and refused to listen to Him, demanding for more and more during their journey towards the Promised Land from Egypt, because of their inability to look beyond themselves. Each of them were only concerned about themselves and not for others, and definitely for the Lord. And this is despite the fact that God had given them abundance of food, large birds and others, even manna, the bread from heaven itself, and abundance of clear and clean water to drink in the midst of the desert.
And for many times, the kings of Israel did not give glory to God, but seek for their own glory and honour. They did not care about the Lord and His precepts, and in their rule, they mistreated the people and abused their power, and at the same time they misled the people into sin, into treating the prophets and the messengers of God badly, rejecting them and murdering them for having spoken the truth about their wickedness.
This is exactly the same resistance which Jesus had encountered when He came into the world, being rejected by His own people, His own townspeople of Nazareth, and by the Pharisees, the elders and the chief priests. They refused to listen to Him and they viewed Him as a threat to their own authority, to their own sphere of influence, and most importantly, to their own way of life as they had it.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, those people rejected the Lord because they thought first of themselves, as made clear by the elders themselves in our Gospel today, when they spoke of how Jesus and His actions would bring calamity and disaster to them, and to all that they held dear in their livelihood, as the Romans would come and destroy the Holy Temple and the Jewish nation.
Thus, to them the Temple and earthly things such as power, influence and nationhood is more important than honouring the Lord? They were interested only in furthering their own interests and advancing their own cause. This is why in their heart the Lord did not have any place at all, which is filled with their hubris and their pride. This is what our Lord had warned against, so that we will not follow in their path towards doom and annihilation.
Let us all reevaluate our lives and seek to be better in terms of our attitudes and our approach in life. We have to realise our sinfulness and how we can change for the better. What is at stake is none other than our own souls, our own fate. Do we want to enjoy for a while the pleasures of this world and risk our souls into eternal suffering? Or do we want to endure difficulties a bit, and then receive our eternal reward in joy?
May Almighty God guide us on our path, so that we may find our way to Him and be saved from the darkness of this world and turned to the light. God bless us all. Amen.