Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the reality of how we are insignificant before the Lord our God, and how limited our minds and intellect are before the Lord, whose will and plans are often not what we want in our lives. Thus, this was why the Apostles and the disciples of Christ did not comprehend the reason why Jesus spoke of His death and His suffering at the hands of the Pharisees and the elders of the people.
Our minds and thoughts are limited, and we are often not aware of what we are doing in our actions. In fact, we often act before thinking. We often jump into action not knowing that we should first carefully consider them, or else we risk consequences for our actions, which are more often than not, negative and harmful rather than positive.
And thus if we dwell always in our pride and our desires, then we are bound to worry, and worry and worry even more, because it is in our nature to worry and to care for our own well-being, to the point that we are deep in our own selfishness and self-preserving attitude, that we even are capable of deeds that cause discomfort and pain to others, so that we may preserve our own benefits and supposedly our happiness.
The disciples themselves still thought in the same way, and worked in the same way. They followed Jesus because they saw first in Him, a great Prophet and miracle worker of God, through whom many people were healed and made whole, had their demons exorcised and cast out of them, and even the feeding of a numerous multitude of four and five thousand men, and many more women and children. And in the end, they even witnessed how Jesus raised dead people back to life.
And in the Transfiguration, we knew how St. Peter, with St. James and St. John were brought by Jesus to the peak of the Mount Tabor, where they witnessed the glory and the true nature of Christ’s divinity, and how they were so joyful and buoyed by the happiness there, that they wanted to remain there forever, asking even Jesus that they ought to pitch tents there to stay on.
That is how mankind are like, as we always prefer the easy path and easy ways, and as much as possible, we tend to prefer to avoid ways of difficulties and challenges. And that was why the three Apostles pleaded with Jesus that they might stay in that place, in the glory of the Lord. But Jesus reminded them with a rebuke, that the reality and the plan of the Lord for us all, is not always a rosy one. He went down the mountain, away from His glory, and eventually, to strip Himself voluntarily from all of His glory and majesty, to suffer and die like a common prisoner and slave on the cross.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is also the reality about our faith and our lives as the children of God and part of His Church. At times we will encounter challenges and difficulties, and then we will truly be tested on our faith, on whether we ought to keep our own beings first before others and thus succumb to the temptations of our flesh and being, or to listen to the will of God, and do things as He had once done.
And perhaps, the life of the saint whose life we commemorate today will inspire us to do more in our faith, and this saint is in particular, known for his charitable works and even until today is still the patron saints of charitable actions and organisations. He is St. Vincent de Paul, a priest who lived in the late Renaissance era Europe and were renowned as the Great Apostle of Charity.
St. Vincent de Paul was once caught and enslaved by the infamous Berber Muslim pirates, who forced him to work as a slave on rowing ships and eventually was sold from one master to another. One of his master was a lapsed Christian who had converted into the religion of the heretics and apostates, and it was through the patience and hard works of St. Vincent de Paul, that he and his family was converted back into the true faith, and at the same time, St. Vincent de Paul gained his freedom.
St. Vincent de Paul worked hard throughout his life, dedicating himself to the poorest and the weakest in the society. Challenges and persecutions, opposition and hardships were common part of his life, but just as he had suffered even slavery and hardships earlier, he did not give up, and through his works, he became renowned for his great faith and charity, becoming a great source of inspiration to many who followed in his example.
Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we reflect on the readings of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels, let us all also take note of the examples and perseverance of St. Vincent de Paul. And we too ought to follow in his footsteps, exercising charity and love in all of our actions, casting away all of the pride and selfishness in us. Instead, let us all follow the way which our Lord Jesus Christ had set up before us, that is to love one another just as He had once loved us first.
May Almighty God thus also awaken the spirit of love and charity inside each one of us, that we may do something to help our brethren in need, especially those who are weak and poor, that the Lord who sees all and knows all, will approve of our actions and justify us in our faith and in our actions. God be with us all, brethren in Christ. Amen.