Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are exhorted yet again, to be faithful and dedicated followers of our Lord, through our real and concrete actions, and not just empty promises and dedications. In the first reading from the Book of Proverbs, we are also reminded of the very fact, that what God desires from us is our love and commitment, and not just mere sacrifice.
And today, we commemorate the feast of a great and renowned saint, one who lived just less than a hundred years ago, and in fact he passed away just less than five decades ago. His deeds were still renowned throughout the world and the Church, as a holy man and servant of God, thoroughly dedicated in the service of God and the love he possessed both for God and for his fellow men.
That holy servant of God was St. Pius of Pietrelcina, more commonly known by his name of ‘Padre Pio’, a Franciscan monk and priest who was renowned for his great piety and devotion to God, and for his gift of the stigmata, or the wounds of Jesus Christ that appeared on his feet and his hands, which became for him a source of both great inspiration and strength, as well as of pain and suffering.
St. Padre Pio was a simple man and a simple priest, humble and unassuming, noted for his great piety since early in his youth. He joined the Franciscans and dedicated his whole life to the Lord. He was noted for his dedication to his calling and his work as the servant of God Most High. His charitable acts were numerous and his zeal unquestionable. He would have been perfectly satisfied in his condition and life at the time, if not for God having another plan for him.
Through St. Padre Pio, God wanted to reawaken the spirit of faith that have long been laid dormant in the hearts and minds of men, and through His servant, He revealed His glory and majesty, as He revealed them through the actions and deeds of St. Padre Pio, who worked faithfully and zealously, even though he faced many difficulties, challenges, oppositions, and even ridicule and doubts by the people around him.
St. Padre Pio was therefore like the ones who had obeyed and followed the Lord in His laws and precepts, and as such, he was honoured and glorified through the miracles which He performed through the person of Padre Pio. Through this example, we know that the Lord loves and cares for His people, and all who place their trust in Him will not be disappointed.
This is just exactly like what Jesus said to the people, when He referred to those who do the will of God as His brothers and sisters, and as His relatives. This was said when His mother Mary and His relatives came to visit Him and wanted to meet with Him in the midst of His teachings. Indeed, if one were to just look at the words Jesus said literally, this would be quite an insult to His own mother and also to His relatives, by apparently snubbing at them and rejecting them in the public.
However, if we look at it closely, there is no greater honour that Jesus could do, other than what He had done. As a matter of fact, Jesus had praised and honoured Mary in public, for the very devotion and actions that she had done, the most faithful and devoted of all the servants of God. In the same way, God had also honoured St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio for his piety and great service, and obedience to the Faith. The same therefore, will also be our due if we honour our part in the covenant with Christ and follow His ways in all of our deeds and actions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, from what we have heard today, and from what we had reflected in the life of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and in the faith and devotion which the Blessed Virgin Mary had shown in her life, as the mother of God and the most faithful servant of all the servants of God, we are therefore also urged to follow their examples, which means for us to reject all forms of evil and impiety in all of our actions, words and deeds.
In this way also, our faith will be real, concrete and living, so that we can avoid committing sins in our lives which will corrupt our hearts, minds and soul and therefore end up subverting our true goodness and undermining our effort to seek out the Lord. We must intensify our own efforts to walk in the footsteps those who have walked before us in the path of the Lord, namely the holy saints, and model our own lives after theirs.
May Almighty God guide us on our way, so that all of us may turn ever closer and more convincingly towards Him, that we may find our way towards Him, and together with those who are still lost, receive justification and salvation through our dedicated actions, which are based on the laws and ways of the Lord. God bless us and guide us, and may the prayers of St. Pius of Pietrelcina be upon us always. St. Padre Pio, pray for us! Amen.