Saturday, 28 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about faith in God, and what our predecessors have shown to us regarding that faith which they had. Beginning from the days of our early forefathers, from the days of Abraham, to his son Isaac and then to the latter’s own son Jacob, and down to the days of the Apostles, when Jesus was with them.

In the Gospel today, we heard the well known story of how Jesus calmed the waters and rebuked the storm. The disciples were in the same boat as the Lord, and while He was sleeping calmly in the boat, the disciples, seeing the strong winds, terrible thunderstorms and the strong waves feared for their lives and became panicked. They were afraid that the boat would be overturned and then they would sink into the lake and die.

Their faith in the Lord was then not strong, and they were wavering. They were having so many concerns about themselves that they were not able to think rationally and they were not able to appreciate what they have amongst them, the Lord Himself, Whom they could really trust. But they instead worried and panicked, and they doubted. This was where Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith.

If only that they would look and remembered at how God had cared for His people in the ages past, with mighty deeds, then they would not have panicked, or doubted, or be worried about themselves, because God Himself will not abandon His people. Throughout time, again and again, even when we mankind had been unfaithful to Him, He is always ever faithful, as He was, and as He will ever be.

During the days of Abraham, when many had not yet known the Lord, for many who saw and witnessed what Abraham did must have been a folly and crazy deed indeed. After all, what would a man gain by leaving his entire family, possessions, inheritance behind? What would Abraham, then known as Abram, gain by leaving his ancestral lands of Ur behind and travel to Canaan as the Lord had instructed him?

Certainly, his own family, his own friends and all those he knew must have laughed at him, mocked and ridiculed him for what he had done. And all others who heard his tale must have also thought that he was out of his mind. After all, in the reckonings of this world, who in his or her right mind would just abandon all of the earthly goods he or she had, or what he or she was bound to receive?

And on top of that, he and his wife Sara had been barren without a child. This would have been considered a curse for a people at that time, as a sign of divine displeasure and wickedness. But I am sure that all of these must not have deterred Abram from obeying God and listening to His will. He ventured on to the land which God had showed him, and listened to God as he went along with his life.

We know the rest of the story. God did not just give him a child as He had promised, even through Sara who was already at an advanced age. In the Psalm today, taken from the Gospel of St. Luke we have the Magnificat, the song of Mary, who thanked the Lord for His great graces, having blessed Elizabeth her cousin with a child at her own very advanced age, and the greatest of all, God Himself had been willing to enter into this world through her.

Those who are faithful will never be disappointed by God, for He is ever faithful. Abram, whom He renamed Abraham, did not just get a new name, but also a new life, as the father of many nations, and also as our father in faith. He was blessed among all the nations, and from a man, certainly ridiculed by his friends and relatives, who was barren without a child, had come a great and many nations, blessed and chosen by God to be His people.

Without Abraham’s faith, there would not have been Israel, and without Mary’s faith, the work of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ would have been thwarted. And no salvation would have come into this world, and we would all have no hope. It was because of God’s faithfulness, and our human responses and readiness to accept that faith which allowed God to work His great wonders among us.

Today, we also commemorate the feast of the great and renowned saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, the great confessor, theologian par excellence and Doctor of the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas was truly known for his brilliant and intellectual mind, through which he did many works and writings trying to explain to us the nature and the love of God.

St. Thomas Aquinas was a devout and truly committed person, teaching many others about the Lord and about having faith in Him. This is the perfect opportunity for us to read up more about this holy and devout saint, a role model for all of us, just as our holy forefathers had shown us how to be faithful to God. Having faith in God is not such an easy task, as even the disciples themselves wavered in their faith in the midst of great difficulties, but it is possible if we have the will and the strength to have that faith in God.

Now, what we all need to do is ask ourselves, have we been faithful to God? Have we all been faithful to God even though the world may be against us, and even when they may be mocking us, reviling us and humiliating us for believing in God, and keeping our faith in Him? Let us never forget what God had done for Abraham, our father in faith, for Israel, when they were enslaved in Egypt, and for ourselves, when He chose to send His own Son to us to be our Saviour.

Let us be ever faithful in all of our ways, and grow ever stronger in the way of faith. Let us inspire one another and help guide each other so that we will always remain true to our faith in God, and be completely devoted to Him in all of our ways. Let us also ask for the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas, that his devotion and dedication to the Lord will inspire us all to do the same as well in our own lives. May God bless us all. Amen.

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