Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Saturday Mass of our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about how Isaac blessed his younger son Jacob with the blessing which was intended for Esau, the eldest son. And in the Gospel we heard how Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who criticised the way that the disciples of Jesus followed, not fasting and following what the norm of traditions at the time dictated.
It may be difficult to see the link and connection between the two readings, but the truth is that the two are indeed very related, considering what Jesus told them about how new wine ought to be placed in new wineskins, and how old wine ought to be placed in old wineskins. This is related to the two sons of Isaac, Esau and Jacob, each of whom represent the old ways of the world, and the new ways of the Lord and His salvation.
The triumph of Jacob over his brother Esau showed the incompatibility of the old ways with the new ways, and that we must indeed make a choice between the two of them. This also means that if we call ourselves followers and disciples of the Lord, then all of us cannot do what is contrary to what is expected of us as the followers of the Lord.
If we call ourselves the disciples of the Lord, and then we commit things wicked and evil in the sight of God and men, then we discredit and trample on our own faith. In this manner, we are exactly like the old wine being placed into new wineskins. The incompatibility between the two will tear apart the whole wineskin and wine inside it will be spilt and wasted. In the same manner, therefore, if we believe in God and yet did not do as is expected from us, then it created a scandal for us.
We have to realise, brothers and sisters in Christ, that in order to be true disciples of our Lord, then all of us have to show it not just by mere words or proclamations of faith, but instead, we must also show it through work and devotion, which will vindicate our faith, that it is indeed real and genuine. This is what we ought to do, and what we must stand up for.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we have to wake up to the realisation that we have to listen to what the Lord had taught us. He had taught us about love, for He is love Himself, and by showing that love for us, He taught us that we need to love Him and love one another in the same manner. Yet, we know that even among us the faithful, we see so much discord and divisions, infighting and conflict among us.
We should know that faith is meaningless and dead without action and commitment. True faith requires us to go forth and do what the Lord had commanded us to do, to be righteous in all of our dealings, to defend the truth which He had revealed to us, and to stand up for the Lord. Indeed, the world will be hard on us and it will oppose us with all of its might.
But remember, they have also rejected the Lord when He came into the world, and they refused to listen to Him, and persecuted Him and His servants and disciples. This is why we have to have courage in our faith, and do not fear, for God is always with us, and He will guide us on the path, and if we remain faithful to Him, we will receive the fullness of the richness of God’s grace and blessings.
On this day, we commemorate the feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, who was the Queen of Portugal in the middle ages, who was renowned for her great faith and piety, and who after her husband’s death, she left everything behind and chose to devote the rest of her life in a prayerful retreat in a monastery. She continued to do great works of charity, even in her old age, helping those who were less fortunate, poor, weak and ostracised.
The examples of St. Elizabeth of Portugal reminds us that while we live in this world, filled with much vices and evil, it does not mean that we have to succumb to it and to follow the way of this world. We can choose to be righteous and just, as St. Elizabeth of Portugal and the other holy men and women of God had done throughout the ages. Let us all go forth and show God’s love to one another, a concrete show of our faith.
May Almighty God be with all of us, strengthen our faith and devotion to Him, and empower us to be even more devoted disciple of His cause. God bless us all. Amen.