Tuesday, 22 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the apocalyptic messages from the Scripture readings that we heard, about the coming of the end of times, when the Lord will come to judge all of His peoples. But before that, as foretold in the Gospel and in the Book of Revelations, there will be tribulations, challenges, difficulties and all kinds of obstacles on the path of us all, the faithful people of God.

There will be many false prophets who are trying to dissuade us and lure us away from finding our way to the Lord, and these are active out there, spreading lies and sweet promises trying to gain our attention and allegiance to their cause. And it will be difficult to remain true in our faith to God, challenges and obstacles abound and plenty in our path. But God had also foretold this to us through His disciples, and we ought to expect this outcome.

And we do not know of the time of our Lord’s coming, which will come suddenly in the end at the time of His own choosing. When God comes, will He find good on earth? Or will He find plenty of wickedness instead? It is more likely that it will be the latter one, as mankind increasingly forget about their Lord and God, and continued to act in ways that are contrary to His ways and teachings.

We live in this world today at a time when the world increasingly becoming more secularised as well as materialistic. We live at a time when in the hearts and minds of many people, God no longer exists. To many people, God is not a priority for them, and some others even contended that God does not exist at all, and actively seeking to persecute the faithful who are living their daily faith, ridiculing and striking at the holy people of God.

And in the ever more materialistic world we have today, increasingly there are more and more temptations and all the other obstacles placed by the agents of the evil one in order to make us stumble and fail in our journey towards God. We are inundated with messages from advertisements and other forms of communications, with inappropriate conduct and behaviour, with improper persuasions of lust, pleasures of the flesh, greed and other wicked things.

The question that we are facing now is, what are we, as Christians, going to do in the midst of this difficult and troubling times? Do we run away and pretend that we know nothing about what is happening? Should we be ignorant and just carry on with our normal routines and our daily lives? Or should we fall into the line and conform with what the world expects all the people to be like?

There is a better option, brothers and sisters in Christ, and that is to stay faithful and committed to the Lord in all of our ways, as what the holy martyrs and saints of the past had also done. St. Cecilia, whose feast we are celebrating today, is one of those great examples. She was a young noble Roman woman who devoted herself to her faith in God. But she was asked to marry another nobleman.

At her marriage, she sang her heart out to the Lord, telling all who were present that she devoted herself wholly to the Lord, and that is why she is now patron saint for all musicians, all who devoted themselves to the Lord through song and music. She continued to lead a chaste life, devoted in holy virginity to the Lord, and through her many others were inspired to lead a more devout life and existence in the world. Even she convinced her husband by a vision to be baptised as a Christian.

St. Cecilia, her husband and some others of the faithful were martyred for their faith by the Roman prefect, at that time when a great persecution of the faithful was carried out. Yet, their examples and their inspiration continued to inspire many people throughout the centuries. We too should follow the examples of St. Cecilia in how we lead our lives.

May the Lord help us that we may resist the temptations of the world and grow ever more devoted and stronger in our faith. Let us all commit ourselves to God, be true in our ways and never fear, for God will always be with us and reward all of His faithful ones in the end. May God bless us all. Amen.

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