Friday, 23 September 2016 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the readings from the Holy Scriptures, speaking to us about how God has made this world and all of us, and through His will, He has made everything to be as it is. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, our first reading today, we heard about how everything in this world has been set in motion by the Lord, and that no matter whatever we mankind have planned, but the time for everything has been set by the Lord to run its course.

No matter what mankind has planned, God’s will shall be done. Indeed, He has given us all free will, the freedom to choose what we want to do with our lives, and how we want to act in them, but there is indeed a limit to how much we can do on our own, separated from the Lord. It is by our ancestors and our own disobedience that we have been separated from the Lord our God, caused us to commit acts of wickedness and sins unworthy of He Who has created and loved us.

But that was why He sent us His own Son, Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary His mother, that through Him, taking the very flesh of our own, that He may bring together all of us through His examples, and show us the way forward, in how we ought to live as all those who have walked in His ways and followed Him. And He showed it through great and perfect obedience to the will of God His Father, following the plan He had intended for mankind’s salvation.

And we know how to that extent, He was willing to take up the cross, bearing all of our sufferings to become His own, shouldering the burden of the cross. And that was the gist of what we heard in the Gospel today, that even He, the Son of God, Messiah and Saviour of the whole world had to suffer, be rejected by the very people to whom He had been sent to, and to be crucified and died for the sake of the salvation of everyone He loved.

And today, we celebrate the memory of a great saint who is still in our recent memory, a saint whose piety and faith, obedience and strength in his convictions to the Lord and to His Church has been inspiration for many people up to this day, an example to all of us. St. Pius of Pietrelcina was a great saint, a holy and devoted man, who was better known by his alias of Padre Pio, an Italian Capuchin friar and priest.

St. Pius of Pietrelcina or St. Padre Pio was a humble man who dedicated his life to the Lord from his youth, leading a life of great piety and eventually joining religious life as a member of the Capuchin Franciscans, and devoted the rest of his life serving the people of God and the Church. Since his youth, he has received visions and spiritual experiences from the Lord, one that he would receive throughout his life.

And what made his most renowned was a moment in his life when he experienced a vision of the Lord, and which afterwards, the holy wounds of our Lord Jesus Christ themselves appear on the body of St. Padre Pio, on his hands and feet. The stigmata, which the wounds are called, are signs of great holiness and grace from God, which happened to only a few holy saints, and yet they were also signs of great suffering and challenges.

Many doubted the veracity and the truth about his stigmata wounds and the miracles attributed to him, and some even ridiculed and opposed his works, but St. Padre Pio never gave up, for he continued obediently to serve the Lord and His will, serving the Church, caring for the spiritual needs of the people of God who have been entrusted to his care. And indeed many people flocked to him and listened to his many wonderful teachings and sermons.

In St. Padre Pio all of us can find a great example of a humble and obedient servant of God, much like our Lord Jesus Himself, serving the will and the purpose of God through hard work and ceaseless efforts made to make the will of God a reality. God loves us all and He wants us all to find salvation and liberation in Him, and yet many of us still linger in the darkness of this world and have yet to embrace Him. And that is exactly why He sent us all these holy and faithful ones to help us on our way.

Let us all at the same time also reflect and think about what we ourselves as Christians are capable of doing to contribute to the work of the Lord and to help His Church, as well as our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men in finding our way together to reach out to the Lord. Let us all walk in the footsteps of the holy saints and servants of God, particularly St. Padre Pio, St. Pius of Pietrelcina, whose faith is an example to us all. May God help us in this endeavour. Amen.

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