Tuesday, 27 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we have listened to the words of God from the Holy Scriptures, when He spoke to us about the tale of Job the holy man of God, who was tormented and troubled by the acts of Satan who brought calamities and difficulties, one after another, crushing him under the cumulative sorrow and despair.

By nature, it is normal for someone to complain and grumble about that kind of state of life, as what Job had done, when in our first reading today he spoke of how he regretted having been born, and complained why he was allowed to live on and exist in the first place. But nowhere was it that he blasphemed or cursed God for His condition. He remained true and faithful to the Lord despite of his doubts and sufferings.

What we heard from the Gospel today will then show to us how God in fact does not desire our demise or destruction, but instead, He is willing to give us opportunities and chances, one after another, encouraging each and every one of us to repent and change our ways. In that Gospel passage, we saw how a Samaritan village refusing to welcome Jesus, and His disciples asked for His permission to destroy the people there with fires from heaven itself, but Jesus refused to do so.

What we heard from the Book of Job in the first reading today is just part of the overall story. If we read the entirety of the Book of Job from its beginning to the very end, and then understood the message behind what we heard in the Gospel today, we should realise that in the first place, God is a loving and caring God. He does not want us to suffer or to perish in the darkness, but instead, His intention has always been good for us.

He showed mercy and love for His beloved ones, caring for them and encouraging them to find their way back to Him, abandoning their sinfulness and leaving behind their past lives of sin. God Himself does not bring upon us our destruction, although He is perfectly capable of doing so. It is in fact we ourselves who brought upon our own beings, the destruction and harm which we inflict upon ourselves because of our sins.

Sin leads to death, and death brought about the separation between us and the Lord our God. And that is not the fate which God wants to happen to us. He has destined us all to live forever in joy and harmony with Him, that we who are His beloved ones may live in perfect harmony and joy together with Him in paradise. Rather, our disobedience and sins brought about that painful separation and the many sufferings we now endure.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all look at the example of St. Vincent de Paul, the renowned saint and holy man of God whose feast we celebrate today. Through his examples, we will be better able to understand how to live like people who belong to the Lord our God. He is a devoted priest of the Lord, serving the spiritual needs of the people, and at the same time, he also cared for their earthly well-being, caring and giving generously to them, that he was even known as the Great Apostle of Charity.

While we mankind tend to complain about our conditions and become bitter at our situation, St. Vincent showed us all that if we keep our faith in the Lord and remain firm in our ways, devoted to the Lord our God, then the way forward is opened for us. St. Vincent de Paul himself had suffered a lot during his life, enduring difficulties when he was abducted by pirates in his youth days, who sold him as a slave to be traded with from masters to masters, regarded as a mere commodity and not as a human being.

But he did not lose his resolve and his faith, and instead, through his faith and examples, even his last master would eventually come to his senses and repented from his sinful ways, and he came back to the faith after many years as a lapsed Christian. And St. Vincent de Paul was set free, and eventually devoted his life serving the Lord and His people as a priest.

He gave generously to the poor, encouraging others to do the same, caring for the needs of the poor farmers and workers who had little or none with them to sustain themselves. He founded several religious congregations dedicated to a life of service to God and to the Church, especially those sharing his charitable approach and examples. He helped many younger priests and many others to develop their calling to be good and devoted Christians, who know how to love others generously as he had done.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all devote ourselves to the Lord in the same manner as St. Vincent de Paul had done. When calamities, difficulties and troubles come our way, let us all learn to persist and to devote ourselves instead to help one another, as St. Vincent de Paul and the other holy saints of God had done, that those who have more may share with those who have less, and everyone may have enough for themselves.

May God bless us and help us in our endeavours. May He strengthen our faith and our dedication to the Lord, giving us all in order to love Him and in the same manner, loving and caring for our fellow brethren with genuine love. May the Lord be with us always. Amen.

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