Friday, 19 August 2016 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the message from the the Word of God speaking to us about the Law of God, what that Law is about, and what we ought to do as those seeking to obey the Lord, giving of ourselves to fulfil His commandments and walk in His ways, through the one kind of act and through that one word which meaning constantly elude our ability to comprehend it, that is love.

What is love? Do we really understand what it is and what it means? Love is not just the joy and happiness that two people, between male and female have for one another. It is not just the kind of material love that this world is trying to promote love as, and neither it is about the attraction or the worldly and flesh lust that existed between two lovers.

True love is just as what the Lord Himself had shown us, the example of the perfect love. He has given His love for us even though we have repeatedly spurned that love and left to seek other idols and other things to worship and adore. And as a result, in our rebelliousness that led to sin, we have deserved to die and to be cursed forever in darkness. Yet, God did not let go of His love for us.

And that was what He showed to Ezekiel His prophet, when He showed him the great vision of the land filled with an immense number of skeletons, which He gave life back to, transforming the dead and lifeless skeletons back into living beings, humans with their flesh and their breath in them. Through this vision, all of us see how God is the Master and Lord over our lives, and our lives are indeed the greatest gifts to us from our God.

Without God and the life He has given to us, we are nothing but bones and dust. We are truly nothing without God in our lives, and yet that is what exactly many of us were unable to comprehend. Many of us thought that we really are great and our deeds are wonderful, but all of them are in reality the greatness of God expressed through us all, His masterpieces in this world.

At the time of Jesus, the common misconception that prevented many of the people from seeing the truth which Jesus spoke to them was that they were too preoccupied with themselves, with their wants and desires, and they were too busy serving and trying to please the world and the society they were in, that they have largely forgotten about God. And when they tried to obey the Law and the commandments of God, they forgot that it was not about themselves, but really about God and about serving others who live around them.

Let us all look at the examples of St. John Eudes, the holy saint and holy priest whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. John Eudes was a French missionary who lived and worked around a few hundred years ago, renowned for his devotion to the Lord and to His mother Mary, and spreading that devotion by establishing several renowned congregations of religious life, the Sisters of our Lady of Charity of the Refuge, from which the Sisters of the Good Shepherd would come from, as well as the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.

In his daily life and in his works, St. John Eudes was particularly devoted to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ, immersing himself in the greatness of the loving heart of our Lord, meditating for many hours and spending his time to devote himself wholly to God and knowing His love. And he spread that devotion to those around him, telling them to love the Lord with all of their hearts, for the Lord Himself had first loved all of them without any hesitation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I think it is really time for us to realise that God loves us all unconditionally, and He alone is the One Who truly loves us all dearly from the depths of His marvellous and wonderful Heart. While we mankind may falter and fail each other, as history had often shown us, but God never disappointed us. If we think that He had disappointed us in any way, it is likely because we do not understand how His love works.

Let us reflect on this matter, and see in our own lives just how God had in fact blessed us and helped us along the way over the years. When we are able to take a step back and let ourselves to think for a while, certainly we will be able to see that there are many things that we have to appreciate in this life, and we need to show that same love to each other, and that is how exactly we shall fulfil our obligation to obey the Lord.

For if God is love, then how can it be that His people, His disciples and His followers do not practice them? How can we be God’s people if our ways are filled with corruption and evil deeds, with hatred and with anger? Let us all find our ways anew to the Lord, and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to be ever more loving and be ever more faithful disciples of our Lord. May God bless us all. Amen.

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