Tuesday, 23 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded that whatever it is we face in life, and no matter all that we experience through our earthly existence, we should keep our focus firmly on the Lord and not to be distracted by the many things and temptations that will keep us away and pull us away from the path to attain the salvation found only in our God alone.

In the first reading, the Lord reminded us through St. Paul His Apostle, that we should be wary and be vigilant of the false prophets and all the lies which they spread around us, as these would become obstacles and hindrances on our path as we walk towards the Lord. There are many of those opposed to us being saved in the Lord, not least of which is the forces of the devil and his allies.

It is the ultimate objective of the evil one in trying to subvert our attempt to find our way to the Lord, and it is imperative for him to try to make us stumble on our journey, for in his great pride and jealousy against God, as well as against the love and honour which God had accorded to us from the very beginning, he has declared war against Adam and all of his descendants.

Indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ has already come and died for our sake, that we might be freed and be liberated from our sins. However, it does not mean that we who still live in this world should then be complacent and be lax in our way of life that we may fall into the traps set upon our path by those who do not take kindly seeing us all be freed from our troubles and proceeding towards our salvation and life in God.

We should heed what our Lord Jesus told us in the Gospel, when He spoke out against the wickedness and the lack of faith among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, which led to the people being misled in their life and in their faith, by the obsession with appearances and with worldliness, as the emphasis on God and on our relationship with Him was lost, and instead was replaced with the emphasis on human and worldly status.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, when we worship the Lord, it is important that our interior orientation is properly attuned to the Lord, or else, we may lose our focus and instead of focusing on God, we become inappropriately focused on ourselves and on our own human frailties and all the things that led us to sin. It is important therefore that we spend some time to think about how we live our lives in order to be truly faithful to the Lord.

Let us all look at the examples of St. Rose of Lima, the holy saint whose feast we are celebrating today. She was an ordinary woman whose extraordinary life and devotion to God elevated her to the glory of heaven, and we all can learn from her life examples. She is the first saint from the Americas, then known as the New World, a woman of astounding beauty and charm.

Many young men, both rich and poor, influential and powerful tried to woo her and get her into marriage with them, but she turned away from all of them, because since her youth, she had promised that she would live a holy and chaste life devoted to God alone. Her parents opposed that decision, but she continued to persevere on despite the challenges.

She was well known for her great piety and devotion, often engaged in self-mortification and resisting the temptations of the flesh and the world. She was known to wear a heavy silver crown with spikes that pierced into the skin and the flesh of her head to remind her of her mortality and the futility of human fame, glory and all the false lies and promises that Satan tempted us with in this world.

Certainly the examples of St. Rose of Lima should inspire us to devote our lives in a similar manner. We should resist those temptations of the flesh, and all the things that have become obstacles on our path, that is our unrestrained desires, the pulling force of greed and human frailties, and instead, push on through, inspired by St. Rose of Lima and the other holy saints, to lead an ever more devoted life, not just by appearances alone, but also through real action, through charity and love, by caring for all those who are less fortunate around us.

May God see in us the light of the love which He had shown us, and may He bless us and our endeavours, so that through our good works, we may be justified in our faith and draw ever closer to His presence. May God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

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