Liturgical Colour : Green
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the law of God which He first revealed through Moses had been adapted, changed, and suited to the uses and means of the people of God, that is the Israelites, which they had often misunderstood in its true purpose, that is to serve God’s purpose rather than the purpose of men. Yet, in reality, the laws had been made subservient to the will of men.
And no other time was this more evident, than at the time of Jesus, when the abuse was at its relative maximum. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the law, who were the leaders of the people in the matter of faith, misused their teaching authority and gave the people of God a much improvised version of the true law of God.
The strictness of the law of God which was revealed through Moses, was indeed due to the thick-headedness of the Israelites, who constantly grumbled and disobeyed the Lord on their way through the desert to the Promised Land. They ignored the precepts and way of the Lord, preferring instead to submit to their own emotions and human desires, rather than obeying the Lord their God.
But was the intention of the Lord truly to punish and burden them with such laws? No! These laws were there because God loved and cared for them, and He dreaded the most if any of His beloved were to fall into the hands of Satan and evil, and be separated from Him by the eternal agony of hell. God loved mankind and all of His children, and that is why He bothered to give them His laws to help them.
But what the people had done by the time of Jesus was that of blind obedience, which can be as bad as thick-headedness and plain disobedience of their ancestors. That is because if their ancestors refused to believe in the Lord and His ways, the people at the time of Jesus believed only at the surface, through the various observations of the complicated rules and regulations as established by the Pharisees.
And the result is that they were as wayward as their ancestors were, and first of all would be the Pharisees and the leaders of the people themselves, who led the people in their obstinate state, refusing to listen even to the Holy One of God, the promised Messiah. When God came down upon us to explain the truth about what He desired in mankind, they refused to believe in Him and preferred to trust in their own human wisdom and judgment.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, these people saw the Lord, and yet they did not realise, as the first reading today mentioned, that the judge is already at the door, ready to mete judgment against them. But He still gave them chance for repentance, and some did repent, accepting His mercy and love.
The same too applies to us, brethren. Do we recognise the Lord and His Presence? Do we recognise Him in our faith, and do we truly believe in what we believe? Are we like those who only prefer to believe what they want to believe and discard the rest, the so-called cafetaria Christians? If we do so then we are no better than the Pharisees who chose to believe in their own human wisdom rather than in the Lord.
Are we genuine in our love and devotion for the Lord? Our devotion and faith cannot be just merely mean going for Mass every Sunday and that is it. It cannot also mean just saying our prayers without real action, and neither can it be just plain works and good deeds, without prayer and proper devotion to the Lord. If we are to dedicate ourselves to God, then we must be genuine in our faith, and we cannot be half-hearted in it.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us resolve from now on to deepen our faith in God ever further, that our faith may grow ever stronger in the Lord, and that we no longer be hampered by our own human pride, arrogance, ambitions and stubbornness, that we may listen to the Lord and know what He truly wants from us.
May we all become good and faithful children of God, resolving not to disobey the Lord by following our own path, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done. Let us dull the edge of our pride and sharpen the edge of our humility, and open wide the doors of our heart, and put up our ears, that we may listen to God as He speaks to us, and follow His ways, always and till the end of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.