Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard firstly the prophecy of the prophet Hosea, who came to pronounce the words and the will of God at a time of great turbulence. At that time, the kingdom of Israel had been divided into the northern kingdom also called Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah. And the people of the northern kingdom, to whom the prophet Hosea had been sent to, had become corrupt and wicked, revelling in the pleasures and the goods of the world, as they lived in prosperity and wealth.
The prophet Hosea often rebuked the people for their debauchery and wicked ways, but at the same time, as what we have heard in today’s first reading, he also spoke of the coming of the time of God’s forgiveness and redemption of His people, as a hope for those who chose to keep their faith in their one and only true Lord and Master. Those who would abandon their past obstinate attitude and embrace fully God’s love and mercy would receive the rich fruits of God’s mercy and love.
And this has been proven in what we have heard in the Gospel today, the well known story of how Jesus healed the woman with bleeding issues, and how He raised the daughter of the synagogue official from death and back into life. We saw through these examples, that if we have faith in God, everything will be made possible for us. And God will not abandon all of His faithful ones to despair and hopelessness.
Because the woman had faith in Jesus, and she dared to seek Him to heal her from her afflictions, God saw her faith and praised her for the faith which she had, and healed her from the sickness that had troubled her for so many years. And because the synagogue official believed in Him, and sought for Him when his daughter was in trouble, and in fact had died, because of this Jesus healed the daughter and returned her to life.
From all these, we heard that faith in God is what saves us all. If we do not have faith in Him, then there is no way that we would achieve salvation. After all, Jesus Himself had said that only through Him that salvation can be achieved, and beyond Him there is no hope for salvation, for He is the Bridge, the Way to the Lord our God, the One Who linked us between ourselves and God our Father.
Let us then look at the example of the holy and faithful St. Elizabeth of Portugal, whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Elizabeth of Portugal was once a Spanish princess who married the King of Portugal and hence became the Queen of Portugal. As Queen, she was devoted to her people, and committed many charitable works that made the people’s livelihood better.
She was a pious person, and she devoted her life to God. She was a great servant of God and tried her best to show the people how they ought to live as the people of God, by having true faith in Him, by loving one another. And she was indeed leading by example, doing as much charity as she was able to. And after her husband, the King of Portugal passed away, she left behind her life as queen, and devoted herself to God by entering the religious life.
And yet, even so, she still committed herself to many good works, including to broker peace among the kingdoms at the time which were rife with rivalry and warfare. She made peace among the fighters and warmongers, and won for the people of God the peace and harmony through which more good works of God’s salvation could be done.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, St. Elizabeth of Portugal had great faith in God, and for that great faith she was rewarded with the glory of heaven. And even after she passed away, her examples and works in life still continued to inspire many others, and indeed, became a source of courage for many of those who were unsure and uncertain about following God.
Shall we too do the same as those people had done? Shall we also follow in the footsteps of the holy saints of God, the woman whose faith healed her from her bleeding affliction, and the synagogue official whose faith restored her daughter back to life, even from death? It is our choice now, brothers and sisters, and we must now choose, whether we are going to be faithful to God, or whether we are going to abandon Him for some other things.
Just as at the time of the prophet Hosea, there are many temptations in this world. And as we progress on, there are going to just be more and more temptations along our path, be it wealth, possessions, fame, human glory and praise, as well as many others.let us ask ourselves, are we able to resist these temptations? Are we able to be truly faithful to our God without being overly attached to all the things I had just mentioned?
May God strengthen our faith for Him, and enkindle in our hearts the fire of His love, that through them, we may draw ever closer to Him and find salvation and succour in His presence, and be worthy to receive the promise of eternal glory and praise He had promised to all those who believe in Him and keep their faith in Him. God bless us all. Amen.