(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Feast of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr (II Classis) – Sunday, 28 September 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the feast of St. Wenceslaus, martyr of the faith, Duke and ruler of Bohemia, a holy, devoted and pious leader of his people, and ultimately, the humble and good servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, and who walked in His path so faithfully, that he brought good things to those entrusted under his care, and he even obeyed Him all the way unto death in the hands of his enemies.

The key of our readings from the Holy Scriptures on this holy day is that we ought to be exemplary and faithful in our lives, so that in every things that we do, we do it in e Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that through our every words and deeds, we may give glory to our Lord, and so all those who see us will know who the Lord is, and that we belong to Him, and we are saved by our works.

For the Scriptures had said, that even the Gentiles would come to proclaim the Lord as Lord and God, even though they once did not know who He was, until the Apostles came to them and deliver to them the Good News of God’s salvation which He had first proclaimed to the world through the coming and the works of Jesus, His Son. The Apostles became living witnesses of His works, and thus from them, they passed on that knowledge to others, who in turn became witnesses of the faith.

Jesus Himself showed to His people, how to live as a faithful and good servant of our Lord. The cardinal virtues of faith, hope and love are always indeed at the forefront, and we should always keep these in mind. And in all things, we ought to think not of ourselves first, but we ought to keep the Lord ever first in our minds and our hearts, and then also our brethren around us.

Jesus criticised the Pharisees and the elders of the people of God, who failed to look beyond the words of the Law of God, on the matter pertaining to the sabbath day and its observations. They failed to understand the meaning of those laws which God had given His people, and instead, they oppressed the people by their strict and unbending word-to-word obedience to the law. But, as Jesus made it clear to them their folly, that what they did was in fact feeding on their own ego and obeying their own human-made laws and not the law of God.

For the Law of God is in essence, love. And love will not cause or bring unnecessary suffering among the people whom He loved greatly. What He seeks after all is not empty promises and empty profession of faith, or empty observances of the laws and the events, but rather, a true and sincere love which mankind, His people, has for Him. He seeks for our hearts and our love, not our appearances!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why St. Paul and the Apostles, as well as all the saints and holy men and women of God were witnesses to the love of God, and what He desired out of us. They showed not by mere words or appearances, as the Pharisees and the elders had once done. Where these people showed off their supposed ‘piety’ in the common places by praying loudly and openly in the sight of the people for their praise, the Apostles and disciples of Christ toiled and worked, in the defense of their faith and in the effort to bring the Good News to the people, to us all.

And St. Wenceslaus, the saint whose feast we celebrate today is no different indeed. He was born into privilege, into the ruling house of Bohemia and Moravia, which today corresponds to the territories of both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and St. Wenceslaus became the Duke of Bohemia, a great lord and a respected position in Christendom.

St. Wenceslaus was one of the first Christian rulers of his people, together with his father. Many of the people under his care remained as pagans and beyond the reach of the Church. St. Wenceslaus was a wise and great ruler, who truly cared for his people. He built many churches and other facilities, designed to help the people of God, both in things physical and spiritual. He helped the faith to grow and spread among the faithful, bringing countless souls closer to salvation.

He led by example, and practiced his faith by real and concrete example, serving the people of God humbly even though he is mighty and powerful. He brought the people he has been entrusted with closer to the love of God, as a faithful shepherd and servant of God. He had his enemies of course, and those plotted against him, assassinating him while he was on his way to a celebration, the enemies of all the faithful and the agents of Satan who had done this to remove this holy servant of God.

Yet they have failed in the end, as the examples of St. Wenceslaus shone very brightly for all to see and follow, and he was made a saint, truly because of his great virtues in life, and he now is our intercessor in heaven, who together with the many other holy men and women, pray for us unceasingly before our Lord, that we too may repent from our sins, and endeavour to be faithful in all of our actions.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be examples to one another, that in our actions and deeds, we show our faith in God, and we show how devoted we are to the Lord, not just by empty promises and professions, but through real action, founded upon the three cardinal virtues of our faith, that is faith, hope and love, and love for God as well as love for our fellow men. God bless us all, brethren, now and forever. Amen.

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