Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of the Scripture readings which we have received and listened to all spoke of a very important thing in our faith which all of us tend to forget and overlook, or even worse, that we misunderstand its true intention and purpose. And therefore, it is imperative that we come together and understand what the meaning of the Scripture passages is for us all, and reflect on them so that we may be awakened to the Lord’s will and grace.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the punishment which God metes out for the sinners and for all those who have disobeyed Him and betrayed His love and trust. It is what we call justice, or to be more precise, divine justice, as we have sinned against the Lord and committed what is evil in His sight, and therefore, it is just that we face the consequences of our sins and wickedness, and the just reward for sin, is death and damnation in hellfire.
And yet we all should know how loving and merciful our God is, to those who are willing to be forgiven, and who has shown the desire and right attitude to be forgiven. In the first reading today we heard about the exchanges between the prophet Samuel and king David of Israel, the one whom many people, especially among the Israelites, regarded as the ideal king, the just ruler and as the role model and example of how one should be faithful to God.
And yet, we know of two very prominent moments when king David was unfaithful to God and disobeyed Him. The first one was the one which was mentioned in the Book of the prophet Samuel as we heard it today, about how David plotted against the captain of his guard, Uriah, and planned for his death, because he was enamoured and indeed had committed adultery with Uriah’s wife.
The second of which, king David in his great pride and the time of his great glory, conducted a survey of his entire realm even against the advice of his advisors. And by this act, he showed disobedience against God, when he placed himself above all else and succumb to the temptations of human pride and glory. It showed his lack of satisfaction with what God has already blessed him with, by counting them and thus presumably wanting for even more.
Then, we should ask ourselves, what is the significance is for us? It is because if we look at what king David had done, certainly we should realise that no one is perfect and beyond reproach. Even the faithful king David himself also faltered and fell into sin. This is a reminder for us all not to be ignorant of sin, and not to be overconfident of ourselves just because we think that we are not capable of sinning or committing what is not right in the sight of God.
But at the same time, we should also take note how king David responded to those situations. What did he do? He immediately humbled himself before God and repented from his sins. He regretted having committed all the sins which he had done, the sin of adultery and the sin of the desires of the flesh, as well as the sin of pride and human greed.
This is where many of us are often misguided and misled by wrong thoughts and ideas, where we think that God loves and forgives us all, no matter what wrongs and sins that we have done. Some of us may think that God is a loving and kind God who tolerates everything that we did, but we often do not understand and realise that God is as much as He is loving as He is also just and good.
This means that sinners who have sinned and then continued to live in their sinfulness without the desire and the attempt to recant and reject their sinful ways, will not be forgiven by God. A sinner remains a sinner as long as he or she wishes it to be so, and if they continued to commit things and do things that are against God’s will and His ways, then they only have themselves to blame for their damnation and rejection by God.
This is where we come to the point where we have to reconcile between God’s justice and anger, with His everlasting mercy and love for us. God loves us all, the people whom He had created, as the most beloved of all His creations, but He did not love our sins and wickedness. Indeed, He Who is perfect and good despises all of the sins and the darkness which we have brought upon ourselves.
Thus, when we suffer and when we groan because of the hardships and challenges we face in life, and when some of us fall into damnation and eternal suffering in hell, all these were not intended by God for us. God Who created us out of love did not desire our suffering or for us to perish in that suffering. Death and hell were not intended for us either, and in fact, God intended for us all to live forever in joy with Him, ever since the day He created us.
But it was us who have betrayed Him in the first place, preferring to give in to our human desires, falling into the temptations and the lures of pleasure, both of the flesh and the mind, as well as into the words of the devil, who tempted us with sweet words and falsehoods to trick us and to lure us away from attaining salvation in our God.
But God is willing to give us all a chance, the opportunity which He presented to all of us to change our ways and to choose out of our own free will to be forgiven for all of our trespasses. This is what God had told those He had forgiven, including the woman who was in the Gospel today, tearfully and humbly anointing the feet of Jesus, a sinner and yet a very courageous sinner who was aware of how grave her sins were and desiring forgiveness for her sins.
Sin no more and do good from now on, and this is the key message which Jesus told those sinners, and which is expected from all of us as well. We may all be sinners, but what is required from us is repentance and renewed devotion to our Lord. Without repentance, a sinner remains as a sinner, and the sins which we have remains with us, and on the day of judgment, these will come back to judge us.
We must be careful, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we do not fall into the trap of giving false mercy. That means, showing true mercy to each other means showing with love, the love of God, that all mankind have hope for salvation, but it requires commitment and hard work to be done by those who seeks God’s mercy. We cannot and we do not tolerate the sins that we make, or else, we are dooming our brethren to certain destruction.
But neither should we act in the way that caused sinners to stay away from God and His salvation because they worry about the anger and the punishment from God, if we made it too harsh and too difficult for them to return to the Lord and to re-embrace His ways. Thus, a middle ground has to be reached, and it is our duty and responsibility as Christians to keep one another from sin.
May God help us and guide us in our lives, so that we may be ever faithful to Him, and be filled with grace and love, and with the courage and strength to care for one another, to stop sinning and do good from now on. Let us be pure and be worthy of our Lord, reminding each other to be ever faithful to the Lord our God. Amen.