Wednesday, 23 November 2016 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reassured yet again by the Lord, that we will never be alone amidst the difficulties and challenges that we may face as those who belong to the Lord. It will not be easy for us to stay faithful and devoted to God, and be a true Christian. If we have not had difficulties and challenges thus far, then perhaps we have not been true to our faith in God, or we might not have practiced our faith as we should have.

There will be clashes and conflicts arising between the ways of this world and the ways of the Lord which we are following. We can already see it clearly in the world we live in today. While this world is inundated with materialism and greed, our faith promotes moderation, charity and compassion for our fellow humanity, helping those who are poor and less fortunate than us. And while this world is filled with hatred and prejudice, the Lord taught us to be inclusive and to love one another without reservation.

And this is where divisions can arise, as the world may at times reject our ways and then act to condemn what we are doing, and rally against us. At times, there will also be ridicule and false charges levied against us, just as the people once condemned and rejected Jesus our Lord. But we must not lose hope, just as our Lord overcome the humiliation of the cross and transformed it into a symbol of triumph, defeating sin and death forever, we too will triumph in the end.

God has given us His words that He will not abandon us to the darkness and to the devil. Opposition will always be there against us, but God will send us His help and providence. He will never left us alone, and if we are faithful, we shall receive the rich rewards of the promise given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, the promise of everlasting life and glory with Him in heaven.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we commemorate the feast of two saints, Pope St. Clement I, holy Pope and Bishop of Rome during the days of the early Church, and St. Columban, a holy religious and Abbot renowned for his great faith in the Lord. Both of them were devoted servants of our Lord, and of the people entrusted to their care. Both of them were very important in the establishment of the early Church and in the strengthening of the faith of the faithful.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the first successors of St. Peter the Apostle, chief of the Apostles and the first Pope and Bishop of Rome. He succeeded Pope St. Linus and Pope St. Anacletus who in turn succeeded St. Peter, as the fourth Bishop of Rome and Pope, and thus leader of the entire Universal Church. He helped to establish the jurisdiction and leadership of the bishops over the Church, and in his many letters and Epistles, he taught many of the faithful throughout the Church about the faith and how to remain strong in their faith.

Eventually Pope St. Clement I was martyred because of his faith during one of the persecutions of the faithful by the Roman authorities. However, he faced his death with joy knowing that God is on His side, and He will never abandon His faithful ones to destruction, since He would preserve their souls, and although his body and the bodies of the other martyrs would face destruction, but their souls are eternal.

Meanwhile, St. Columban was a renowned Irish missionary and religious who travelled and ministered throughout the region of Gaul, that is now known as France. He worked hard and preached about the faith in many places, establishing religious communities throughout his journey sites in France and also Italy. He helped to bring discipline to the many religious communities at that time, and also strengthen the foundation of their faith.

St. Columban faced many challenges and oppositions throughout his works and travels throughout the land, even against bishops, nobles and kings. However, he was never deterred by these, and continued to work hard and preached the word of God and His truth with zeal and commitment. These are the good examples that we all have to follow and emulate, as we continue to live our lives in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all today spend time to reflect and pray, so that all of us will learn to put our complete trust in the Lord, and change our ways and actions so that we will be able to attune ourselves to God and His ways. May the Lord help us and bless us always, and may He keep us in His grace forevermore. Amen.

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