Friday, 14 October 2016 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callixtus I, Pope and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings reminded us all that God is our loving Father, our loving Lord Who created each and every one of us out of His boundless and never-ending love. He has promised to each and every one of us the promise of everlasting life and eternal glory with Him, which was what He intended for us and for our ancestors, if not for their sins, and ours as well.

For we were all destined to be loved by God, and to live forever in the grace and in the light of God’s presence, all the more that we are the most special among all of God’s creations, the ones whom He loves the most. He does not want us all to perish, even the smallest and the worst among us, for we are all equal before God, equally loved and equally cherished by our Lord and Creator. And yet, because of our sins, we have drifted away from the Lord and from His salvation.

And we are often not aware of that love which the Lord had for us, because our eyes, our senses, our minds and our hearts are veiled and blocked by that darkness that had been in us, which corrupted us and twisted us into creatures of sin and darkness. And sin is that veil that had corrupted us and prevented us from being able to realise and understand just how much love God has for us.

And that sin is the same that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for, the yeast of the Pharisees. It is the accumulated sin of greed, of jealousy, hatred and all things that these people have gathered in themselves, and which they unleashed against the Lord that had made the works of Jesus to be very difficult. Their sins were many, and they refused to admit these and repent from those sins, and as a result, they led even more of the people of God into the wrong path.

They thought that whatever they had done could be hidden from the knowledge and awareness of the people, but God saw all that they had done, and He would count all these against them on the day of judgment. Jesus Himself said that, nothing that has been hidden will remain hidden forever, at any one time, these may come to light, all scandals and inappropriate acts even those which were most well-hidden of all.

It is a reminder to all of us Christians, that each and every one of us ought to live righteously in God’s presence, following and obeying His will, His laws and commandments, and these are as we all know it, love. His will for us is love, that we all love one another, care for one another, for each other and be concerned about the salvation of one another, that each and every one of us may find our way to God.

We should not follow the examples of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who were very proud of their status in their society, and they were haughty and proud, looking down on others who did not belong to their caste and class. As Christians, each and every one of us should be humble, caring, loving and merciful. And perhaps we should also be inspired to follow the example of Pope St. Callixtus I, Pope of the Church and holy martyr of the Faith, whose feast we celebrate today.

Pope St. Callixtus I lived and reigned as Pope at a time of great difficulty for the Church and the faithful. During that time, at the height of the pagan Roman Empire and in the early days of the Church, many persecutions faced the faithful and many were in hiding because they were members of the Church. Discrimination, oppression, resentment and hatred against these faithful people of God were rampant.

Yet Pope St. Callixtus led the Church and the faithful with courage and vigour, often not fearing the dangers and the risks he had to face as he went on to minister to the faithful, caring and serving them with love. He faced many difficulties and sufferings throughout his life, having been punished, incarcerated, exiled and forced to do tough labour in many occasions, and yet he continued to persevere hard in his life and in his vocation as a servant of God.

He helped to establish the Church and made it stronger by resisting the works of heretics and rebels against the authority of the Church, while encouraging many sinners to repent their sins and to return to the Church of God. There were those who refused to follow this path of mercy and forgiveness, but through Pope St. Callixtus I and his deep commitment to the salvation of sinners, many souls were saved from certain eternal damnation.

Through these examples which Pope St. Callixtus I had shown us, we too should learn from his examples on how to become an ever better Christian, and how to practice our faith ever more devoutly in our respective lives. Let us all do the same, devoting ourselves, heart and mind, to show mercy to our brethren in need, whether it is for material or spiritual sustenance.

Let us all as Christians be beacons of light for one another, that by working together, inspired by the examples of our Lord and His holy saints, we may help each other to draw ever closer to God and to His salvation and eternal life. May God bless us all and keep us always in His grace. Amen.

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