Wednesday, 27 January 2016 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard firstly about the king David of Israel, who desired to build for the Lord a house of residence, just as he thought that because he lived in a palace, it was unfitting for the Lord to live in such a condition as it was, that is in a tent. But the Lord spoke through the prophet Nathan, that he was not to build the house of God for His sake, but rather that his son would do it instead.

Thus was the Temple of Solomon known as it was, being built by king Solomon, David’s heir. It was renowned as a grand place, a grand edifice and building filled with much gold and silver, with many craftsmanships and works of art, as we can see ourselves in the extensive description of the Temple architecture and interior as explained in the Book of Kings and in the Book of Chronicles.

However, there is one thing that we have to realise that, for all of its greatness, for all of its grandeur, the Temple of Solomon, or any forms of worldly and grand house of God, all of these are nothing compared to the Temple that God had prepared for Himself as He entered into the world. This Temple is not like the Temple of Solomon, or any other temples and houses made by the hands of men.

What is this Temple? It is none other than ourselves, the Temple of our bodies, the Temples of God’s Holy Presence, the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us. And this is related to what Jesus told His disciples about the parable of the seeds and the sower in our Gospel reading today. We heard about how the seeds spread by the sower spread out in various places and how they ended in different fates.

The seeds in fact represent the word of God, being spread from the Lord, Who was the sower, into every sorts of situations and places, which represent all of us mankind in various conditions and places, and let me explain each and every condition that applies to what Jesus had mentioned. The word of God came to every men, but depending on how they treat it, the outcome is different.

The seeds that fell on the roadside and which was eaten by the birds were those who have listened to the words of the Lord, received His teachings, but these were swept away by the temptations and the lies that the devil and his allies used in order to sway those people to abandon the truth in the words of God and instead follow the falsehoods and the lies of the devil.

The seeds that fell on the thistles and brambles were those who received the word of God, and yet the concerns and worries of this world, the temptations of pleasure and the temptations of power and desires prevented them from allowing the word of God to grow and blossom within them, and as a result, they too fell along the way and failed to attain salvation.

The seeds that fell on rocks and did not manage to grow roots were those who have the faith in God, and yet this faith was not deeply rooted in them. That is why when difficulties, challenges and tribulations came their way, they readily and quickly gave up, leaving behind their faith for safety and comfort the world could give them. And thus, they too fell behind in the path towards salvation in God.

And the seeds that fell on the rich soil, they grew and multiply in massive numbers, growing healthily and strong, and they provide numerous bounties and returns incomparable and far beyond all the efforts put into helping them to grow up. This represents what the faith can do, when faith is cultivated well, and when the people of God listens to the word of God and practice it in their lives.

In this, we can also follow the examples of St. Angela Merici, the faithful servant of God, a holy virgin who devoted herself and her life totally to God. St. Angela Merici was an Italian woman who founded the society of the sisters of Ursula, or the Ursuline sisters, and who devoted herself to the advancement of Catholic education and teachings.

She was a very beautiful woman who once had many suitors who tried to earn her hand in marriage, but those suitors were unsuccessful, as St. Angela Merici had dedicated her entire life in a vow of perpetual virginity, devoted entirely to the Lord. She even coated her hair and clothing in ash and with other things that hid her beauty so that people would no longer go after her.

St. Angela Merici devoted herself to the Lord, and through her works, she inspired many others who also followed in her footsteps, as what would become the Ursuline sisters, one of the foremost in the field of Catholic education and service of the people of God. Through education, St. Angela Merici helped many people who have become wayward and erred in their path to rediscover their path to God, and at the same time, also guiding the young generation towards the Lord.

In all these, we can see how all of us have much to learn from this holy saint, and how each one of us indeed have become God’s Holy Temple. Remember that Jesus our Lord Himself had given all of us His own Body and Blood to eat and drink, and by them, He dwells in each and every one of us the faithful who have worthily accepted Him into ourselves.

All of us are His Houses of dwelling, where He dwells inside each of us. If we do not make ourselves worthy, then how will we have any part in God’s salvation. God will reject us instead and cast us into the eternal damnation and hellfire prepared for Satan and his angels. But if we show our faith through real action and devotion, then our reward in God will be truly great and rich.

May God bless us all, and may He strengthen in all of us the spirit and the desire to love Him and to commit ourselves to Him in the same manner as St. Angela Merici had been. May all of us draw ever closer to God and to His salvation. God be with us all. Amen.

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