Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we heard about the opposition which the people of God faced from the world, and from all those who were opposed to the faithful. We heard about how there are those who plotted against the servants of God, as we heard in our first reading today, the opposition against the prophet Jeremiah, who was opposed throughout his ministry in the kingdom of Judah.
Let me relate to you what actually happened at that time, so that we can have a greater understanding of how it was to be one who is faithful to the Lord, in case we did not have the experience. Jeremiah was called by God to become His mouthpiece among the people of the kingdom of Judah, which at the time was at the last years of its existence, all of the people were not following the way of the Lord and living in wickedness.
Thus, Jeremiah spoke up against the sins of the people and called them to repentance and to be forgiven for their sins through genuine turning away from their old ways of sin. Yet, the people resisted and refused to listen to him. They ridiculed him and even plotted against him and threatened his life. Jeremiah had to hide and run away from his enemies in many occasions.
It was indeed so much opposition and difficulties, that if we read throughout the whole book of the prophet Jeremiah, we will be able to see sometimes the frustrations which Jeremiah even highlighted to God, complaining about the persecutions and treatments he received just because he was speaking the truth to them, and calling them to repentance, which the people refused to do.
In the same manner, many other saints and disciples of the Lord had encountered the same issue as they had also spoke the truth of God and called on their brethren to turn away from their sins. But they remained true to the Lord, and obeyed Him, trusting in His providence, as the prophet Jeremiah also said in our first reading today. God was his strength and source of support, and through Him, he was able to do all that he had been commanded to do.
Through all these, all of us ought to learn how to place our trust in God, for if we only trust in ourselves, it is easy for us to lose our way to temptations and pressures, and we mankind have that tendency to be rebellious and to be disobedient, as a result of our failure to conform to the will of God, ever since our first ancestors, Adam and Eve sinned by their disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
St. Paul had mentioned in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Rome, that because of the sins of one man, all have sinned, referring to the original sin of Adam and Eve, which led all men and women to be corrupted by sin. St. Paul then mention how through the obedience of another Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, all have gained absolution and forgiveness for their sins.
Through the disobedience of one man, Adam, all of mankind have received death as a punishment for their sins. But through another Man, Jesus Christ, all have received a new hope of life, for those who believe in Christ have the assurance of life given to them, by He Who is the Master of life and death. Sin has the power to cause suffering and death, but it has no power over our soul. Sin can harm us in our body and mind, but our soul belongs to the Lord alone.
That is essentially what the Lord Jesus told His disciples in what we have as the Gospel today. He told them that we should not fear sin, or persecution or whatever it is that can harm us bodily or in our physical existence. Rather, we should fear the Lord Who will be the Judge over all of our actions and deeds, over all the sins we have committed which we have not confessed or regretted.
It comes then to the reality of our faith. As mentioned earlier, as those who follow the Lord and obey His ways, there will be opposition and challenges that we will face in our path. But should that deter us from following the Lord? Should we be intimidated by the opposition we are to face because we are the Lord’s people? Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we will be tempted to take the easier path, the path of wickedness and faithlessness, which will appear easier and more convenient for us.
But at the end of that path, lies only condemnation and destruction, as those who separate themselves from God and His love will have no part in Him. He will reject them just as He had rejected all those who have refused to listen to Him, and just as He punished the kingdom of Judah, for refusing to listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah. Those who follow the path of wickedness may seem to enjoy the world, but that is all that they are going to get.
For all of us who remain true to the Lord, despite all the challenges and difficulties, despite all the oppositions and persecutions, a great reward has been prepared for us in the Lord, for He is always ever faithful. He will never forget His love, nor will He abandon all those whom He loved since the day He created all of us. This is what all of us need to remember, the fact that God loves us, and His love for us is so great that He even went so far as to lie down His life for us on the cross.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we all be role models for our fellow brethren, for one another, that we may lead one another to a life blessed by God, that we will persevere on despite the challenges and persecutions in life? Let us not be afraid to show that we are truly Christians, not just by word alone, but through real and genuine actions in life, by our loving actions to our brethren, even to those who slandered us and persecuted us.
Let us be loving to one another, even to strangers and to our enemies. Let us show mercy and forgiveness to those who have hurt us and cause us to suffer, for if we respond to violence with violence, and hatred with hatred, eventually all things will never end, and there will be endless cycle of hatred, misery and evil. Let us be those who would stand by our Christian faith and values, and become beacons of God’s love and light amidst this darkened world. Let us always put our trust in the Lord.
May the Lord be with us all, and may He guide us through all of our actions, so that in all that we do, act and say, we will always grow ever closer to Him, and be ever more worthy of being called His children and His people. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.