Tuesday, 3 February 2015 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Ansgar, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the healing which Jesus performed to the woman who had bleeding in her for twelve years, and also the resurrection of the dead daughter of a synagogue official. And both of them have a great significance for us, as they were both saved and healed because of their faith.

The woman was healed from her bleeding because she believed that Jesus had the power to free her from her afflictions, while the daughter of the official was healed because her father also showed the same faith in the power and authority of Jesus. What Jesus told the woman is important, as He said that the woman’s faith had saved her. This showed that we must have faith in the Lord in order for us to achieve salvation.

However, people tend to interpret this differently, thinking and assuming that faith alone is sufficient for us to attain salvation and liberation from all of our afflictions. Some were misled by the confusion to think that we just need to have faith and to believe in the Lord, and then all of our problem will be gone, and all of our difficulties will cease. But this is a wrong idea, an erroneous thinking and a heresy planted in our minds by Satan.

Our Lord Himself, as the first reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews had testified, is the founder of the Faith we have now, not just because He preached what He had preached, and not just because of all the words and things which He had mentioned and taught to His disciples, but even more importantly, Jesus Himself practiced and made true what He had taught and preached in His own actions.

He persevered and suffered grievously for all of our sins, and He bore that cross that is our sins, holding onto it as He ascended the hills of Calvary, and every single wounds He received is our sins that He patiently and lovingly bore upon Himself. What does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? Our Lord loves us all very much, and He wants us all to be saved. He had faith in us all being able to overcome sin, but without action, everything would come to naught.

And that was why, He showed us all the example through His own action, that faith is never complete without action and deed to prove that faith, and without action based on that faith, the faith is essentially dead. The woman with bleeding believed in Jesus, but had she not taken the action to come through the numerous crowd and try her best to touch the cloak of Jesus, she would not have been healed.

It was also the same for the daughter of Jairus, the synagogue official. Had Jairus not make the effort to come down and seek the Lord Jesus, he would not have received the reward for his faith, even though he was indeed faithful to the Lord. Thus, our faith requires effort, a conscious effort and work, which is our faith made alive and real.

Indeed, we cannot profess that we are truly faithful to the Lord, if we had not done anything to show that we are indeed faithful. Therefore, let us all from now on, change our ways and be truly faithful, just as today we celebrate the feast of two saints of the Church, namely St. Blaise and St. Ansgar, the faithful servants of God, whose examples hopefully may inspire us all.

St. Blaise was renowned as the patron saint of throat diseases, and we know of him now primarily because of the custom of the blessing of the throat, also known as St. Blaise’s blessing, with two crossed candles on our throats. St. Blaise was once a physician that cured and healed diseases, but he then settled on in the greater service of God and His people and instead he became the physician of souls.

The works of St. Blaise in calling the people of God to repentance and to a holy lifestyle is a constant reminder to all of us, that we are all always afflicted with the disease of the soul, that is sin, and we have to seek remedy for this affliction, that is by seeking the Lord our God with faith, and by doing what He had commanded us to do, as doing good deeds for others around us is a panacea and medicine against the sickness of sin.

Meanwhile, St. Ansgar showed us that we have much to do as the fellow servants of God, in doing good for one another and in calling many people from the darkness of the world into the Light. St. Ansgar was truly experienced in this as he lived during the early Medieval era Europe, in the midst of the people still gripped by pagan worship and pagan gods, and he was indeed sent to those people to bring the Light of Christ upon them.

St. Ansgar tirelessly worked to bring the Good News and the truth of Christ to them. Amidst all the difficulties and challenges, he managed to convert countless souls and gained them for the Lord, for their own benefit as well. And this should inspire us all to take up the same cross, the same mission to bring more and more people to the salvation in the Lord.

May our Almighty God be with us all, guide us all in our ways that we may always be upright in His eyes and at the end of the days, may we all find salvation and justification in Him, the One who rewards all His faithful with the abundance of graces. God bless us all. Amen.

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