Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today in the Scriptures we heard about how Jesus sent His curses and warnings against the cities of Galilee, that of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, on their lack of faith and refusal to listen to the truth which Jesus had brought into the world, into their very midst, while at the same time, saying how in Tyre and Sidon, if such truth was delivered, they would have believed.
Then in the Psalms we heard how God is so great and powerful, and how in all things within our lives, He had His role to guide and lead us into the ways of the righteous, to lead us so that we may find our way to Him and not to be lost to the darkness of the world, and how indeed we ought to recognise Him and what He had done for us, to deliver us from certain destruction.
And lastly, in the first reading taken from the Book of Job, was the reply which God gave in the end, after the long series of lamentations, complaints and words from the suffering Job, who suffered tremendously at the works of Satan to test his faith in the Lord, and God reminded Job how the vastness of the Lord and His wonders, as well as the infinite nature of His thoughts and plans, could not possibly be understood by Job and his human mind and intellect. And Job realised how God did not abandon him and in fact was about to bless him for his constant faith, and through his repentance, he gained blessings and graces.
In this we see the very importance for us to put our trust in God, and to listen to Him in all of His words. We should not put forward our pride or our ego, which are indeed great obstacles to our ability to reach the Lord and all His goodness. Pride and human ego lay in the path towards of our salvation, especially because they lead us to believe that we are saved, because of our greatness, our superiority and others that separate us from the love of God.
In order to fully understand and discern the meaning of the Gospel today, we have to understand the kind of prejudice and opinion prevailing in the society of the people of God at Jesus’ time. The Jews lived in the land once given to their ancestors, but they did not live there alone. Just as their ancestors once had lived among the nations, they also lived among many nations, the Samaritans, the Nabataeans, to which King Herod the Great and their descendants belonged to, and the people of the region of Tyre and Sidon, north from Judea, the land where the Jews lived in.
Some Jews also lived in Galilee, occupying cities such as Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin among many others, including the village of Nazareth where Jesus lived with His parents on earth early in His life. And the Jews at the time, particularly among the caste of the Pharisees, were very puritan and fanatical in their faith and lives, to the point that they disdained all the foreigners living in their midst.
They thought highly of themselves, thinking that they alone among all the races and peoples of the world who deserved salvation and grace in the Lord, and that all others were condemned to hellfire. They thought of that because they considered themselves being the people chosen by God, they deserved that salvation, and they looked down on the ways of those who lived in their midst.
But they failed to understand that God does not desire the destruction of the righteous, just as He did not desire the destruction and the suffering of Job, His faithful servant. God therefore did not act with prejudice against those whom He did not choose first, and He will also save them if they are indeed righteous and just, and walk in His path.
This is why, God Himself had spoken through His prophets, through Isaiah and others, that even the Gentiles would come and see the light of God, and revel in its wonder. This is to presage the flock and throngs of the non-Jewish peoples coming to seek salvation in God by following Christ and His teachings. Isaiah at the same time also mentioned, how a new light has dawned in the land of Issachar and Zebulun, which is exactly at the place where Jesus lived, in the land of Galilee.
But we have to take note indeed, that no matter what the Lord had done, and even when the light of God has arrived in the world, if those to whom the Lord had intended it to, never paid attention and ignored it, then it will be of no use to them. And this was exact what had happened. The people of God saw the miracles which Jesus had performed in the areas around His hometown of Nazareth, including the three cities mentioned in the Gospel.
Yet, they would not believe in Him, although they were awed by what He had done, and those who knew who He was in life even rejected and ridiculed Him, and none worse than His own hometown relatives and acquaintances, who ridiculed Him as they thought that He was a mere carpenter’s Son. The people of God refused to listen to the Lord and believe in what He had done, and that is why, He bypassed them for those who truly are worthy of Him.
Many of the non-Jewish populations, including a widow from the region of Tyre and Sidon, the Samaritans and others believed in Jesus and His truth, despite them being looked down and ridiculed by the people of God, especially by the Pharisees. Yet, their actions were clear, and they were faithful not just in words but also deeds, and as such, they would indeed receive the promised salvation of God.
Those who only believed superficially and gave only lip-service to the Lord, such as the Pharisees and those who refused even after Jesus revealed to them the truth about Himself through His actions, were doomed to oblivion and suffering. They did not understand that, in their own little minds, they thought they have everything and they were able to do as they please, but of course they were wrong.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all come to reflect about these words of the Lord which we should ponder within our hearts. That we should aim to be closer and closer to our Lord, seeking always His mercy and love, that in all things, we may grow to be more like Him, and be found righteous and just in all our ways, and thus merit the salvation which God had promised to all those who walk in His ways, not just by mere words, but also with actions. God bless us all. Amen.