Saturday, 7 January 2017 : Weekday of Christmas Time, Memorial of St. Raymond of Penyafort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings spoke to us about believing in God and following His ways. And a warning has also been given to us, in order to warn us against those who would corrupt us and mislead us into sin, namely the wicked spirits and the false prophets, the agents of the evil one. And the key to differentiate the truth from the false ideas, as mentioned, lay in knowing the good works of God, through which God by His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, had redeemed us.

Those who believe in the Lord and in His ways will be able to know if someone is genuine or fake in their devotion to the Lord. They will know this through witnessing and seeing the actions of those who claim to have come from the Lord. No matter how good they are in trying to subvert the messages of the Lord and in trying to trick us into doing evil, those who serve the evil one will not be able to proclaim and recognise that Jesus is their Lord and Master, and it will also show through their actions.

Indeed, there are many obstacles and challenges for us Christians. There are many difficulties that we have to overcome in order to be able to reach out to the Lord and to His salvation. There will be those who try to bar us from reaching Him, and there will also be many people who will criticise us and oppose us in our works and in our attempt to be faithful servants of our Lord. But that is because the ways of the Lord we are following, are against the ways of the world.

The world preaches a life of sin and wickedness, a life filled with the pleasures and desires of the flesh, with all sorts of corruption and unworthiness before God. It is a world which has been filled with all sorts of sin and wickedness, ever since mankind first disobeyed God and preferring to listen to the devil and his lies. It is a world of darkness, where we are blinded by the darkness of our own sins and human weaknesses, where we did not know the path and the way forward.

But we have to know that God loves each and every one of us, and through that same love, He had endeavoured to send unto us the true Light, the Light which has penetrated the darkness of this world, and became the light that guided us through the journey of this life, and filling us with a new hope, that is a hope for the salvation of our souls.

He came into the world, as mentioned in the Gospel today, with the mission to heal the sick and the afflicted from their sickness and afflictions. He touched the lepers, the blind and the deaf and mute people, and these were healed from all of their physical afflictions. But ultimately, Jesus also healed us all from the greatest affliction of all, that is the scourge of sin. By healing us from our sins, He had made us whole again and once again were made worthy of the kingdom of God.

It is therefore the same calling and mission which our Lord had entrusted to us, that we may show the love of God, the mercy of God, and the healing with which He had made many people whole once again, to all of our fellow brethren, especially to those who are still living in the darkness of this world. When there are those who seek to mislead and to bring the people of God to ruin and damnation, we should be those who help to guide one another on the path towards God.

Let us therefore on this day remember the life of the holy saint whose feast we celebrate on this day, so that we may imitate the examples of this holy servant of God, and find our way to God’s salvation. St. Raymond of Penyafort was a holy and devoted man, a holy priest of God who belonged to the Order of Preachers or the Dominican Order.

St. Raymond of Penyafort was renowned for his many good works for the sake of the Church, helping many people on their path towards redemption. He helped the Church and the Pope to reform the Church and the lives of the faithful. Through him, many people turned back towards the Lord and reformed their sinful lives into a life worthy and righteous to God.

It was also told in one very well-known tale, that he even rebuked the king of Aragon in Spain, to whom he was a confessor, for his sinful ways. The king was a good and faithful person, but at the same time, he allowed his lust and the temptations of the world to take over him. The holy saint repeatedly asked the king to dismiss his concubine, but the king refused to do so.

And when the king also refused to let the holy man go, because St. Raymond could no longer tolerate the king’s sinful ways, he said to the king that the Lord, Who is the one true King over all, will show him His power and rebuke the wicked king’s deeds. It was told that St. Raymond took off his Dominican preacher’s cloak and spread it on the water, on which he sailed through the sea, a great miracle witnessed by many, which also made the king to believe and to repent his ways.

Each and every one of us as Christians also have the same obligation to keep one another in the faith, so that each and every one of us will continue to walk in the way of faith, and not falter and fall into temptation. St. Raymond of Penyafort had shown us one such example, and also many other examples not mentioned today. We do not have to perform miraculous deeds as he had done, but at least from ourselves, we should devote our time to care for our brethren, and to help each other to watch our path that we will not be lost to sin and eternal damnation.

May the Lord help us on our path, that we may remain ever faithful amidst this world filled with all sorts of temptations. May we remain in the Lord’s grace and be filled with faith, that all of us may be worthy of Him when He comes again, and He will bring us all into the everlasting inheritance and bless us with eternal life filled with true joy. God be with us all. Amen.

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