Friday, 25 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we approach the closing of the current liturgical year, all of the Scripture readings which we heard and received all have that ‘Apocalyptic’ slant, that is, many of them are talking about what will happen soon, in the future, when as foretold in the Book of the Revelations of St. John the Apostle, our Lord will come again in His glory to save all of those who are faithful to Him.

And we are told about what will happen at the great and Last Judgment of all the things living and the dead, as we pronounce every time we recite the Creed, when the Lord Jesus, the Great Judge of all will give His judgment on every single one of us, from the lowest among us to the greatest, from the richest to the poorest, from the kings to the lowliest peasants and beggars, all will receive judgment according to their deeds in life, as written in the records of the Lord.

And we are also told how those whose lives have been worthy in the eyes of the Lord have their names written in the Book of Life, while those who have been wicked and been against the Lord and His ways in their lives do not have their names written in that Book. It is a measure of comparing between those worthy and unworthy in the sight of God.

And the Lord’s Judgment is simple, that those who have been found worthy and whose names are in the Book will receive the eternal glory and joy promised to them, and the others whose names are not found in the Book will receive for their part, eternal damnation and suffering, separated from God’s love and grace without any hope of escape or succour.

In the Gospel, we heard Jesus telling His disciples and the people about knowing and being able to discern the sign of times, so that we will not be caught unaware of what will happen, as we have just discussed earlier on. We cannot remain ignorant and complacent in how we live our lives, as many of us tend to do, for the danger is that when the Lord suddenly comes again, we may be caught unprepared, and by then, no amount of regret is going to save us from what is to come.

And how do we prepare ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ? Then let us all heed what Jesus told His disciples in another occasion in the Gospels when He told them about what will happen at the Last Judgment when He will separate the worthy ones from the unworthy and wicked ones. All of what Jesus told them is about the failure of the wicked ones to stretch out their hands to help out those who are needy, poor, naked, suffering and in prison, while those who are worthy have already done something to help these.

Therefore, that is what we need to do, brothers and sisters in Christ, by making ourselves readily available to help those who are weak, the least and the ostracised ones in our society, those who are unloved and those who have no one to care for them, poor and in need of help. This is what we need to do as Christians, as our form of Christian love and charity to our brethren, what God has asked us all to do.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Catherine of Alexandria, who is a devout and holy woman whose examples can be our inspiration on how we should live out our lives in faith. It was told that she was a noble by birth and was renowned by her beauty and also her piety, who converted to the Faith through visions she received from the Lord.

She showed concern for all of her fellow Christians who were suffering under persecution by the then Emperor Maxentius, by challenging the Emperor himself to rescind his persecution order and let the Christians be. The Emperor was told to have gathered over fifty best philosophers to argue with St. Catherine, but they were all soundly defeated by the wisdom of God found in the holy woman and servant of God. Many of them in fact were converted to the faith and would later be martyred together with her.

St. Catherine was arrested and put in prison, and while in prison, her courageous faith and zeal continued to bring forth even more good fruits, and more people converted because of her, and it was told that even the Empress herself believed and was converted, and thus, even the Empress would join St. Catherine in her martyrdom. She met her end knowing fully that God is with her, and through her, many good deeds have been done. She is therefore truly worthy of the Lord and His promise.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be inspired by her examples, by her piety and devotion, and by her dedication and commitment to live a life filled with faith and devotion to God. We should do our best to help one another, and to give our life into a dedication of service to our less fortunate brethren, so that in the end, when it is time for us to give an account of our own lives and be judged, our names will be written in the Book of Life and we shall receive the fullness of God’s promise. May the Lord guide us in this endeavour and bless all of us. Amen.

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