Tuesday, 31 January 2017 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard from the Scripture passages about how the people doubted Jesus our Lord, when they made Him and His works very difficult, as they ridiculed Him, rejected Him, and refused to listen to Him. They had not believed in Him, but doubted Him and even laughed at Him, as what we witnessed when He healed the daughter of the synagogue official and brought her back to life.

It is not easy to have faith in God, and certainly our first reactions will be like that of the woman’s. The woman was fearful and unsure, even though she believed that Jesus would be able to heal her from her afflictions. That was why she did not openly approach Jesus, and chose to try to approach Jesus quietly, hoping that no one would notice what she had tried to do.

In this we also see our own fears and our own insecurities, as the woman was probably trying to hide her own conditions. At that time, such a bleeding condition in a woman would have been considered as a curse, and the people would have judged the woman, thinking that she had her condition because of her sins. But nonetheless, despite of her fears and uncertainties, she went forward regardless, and touched the cloak of Jesus.

It was her great faith that allowed her to be healed and saved from her miseries. It was the same with the synagogue official, whose faith in Jesus also saved his daughter. Had he not been faithful and called Him, and had the woman with bleeding not had such a great faith, nothing in her condition would have changed. Her faith allowed God to do His wonderful works in her, and she was saved. The same applies to the synagogue official and his daughter.

Now let us ask ourselves, how many of us have been courageous enough to be like the woman whose faith had healed her? How many of us are aware of our own sinfulness, and how wicked we are, to have that desire in us to be healed? For if the woman wanted to be healed from her bleeding affliction, each and every one of us man have even greater affliction in us, that is sin, for sin is the disease of the soul and of the whole being.

But many of us are unaware just how sick we are from all of the sins inside us, and therefore we do not take the necessary steps to seek healing and forgiveness from God. And therefore instead of being like the synagogue official or like the woman with bleeding, we instead became like the people who were bystanders in the official’s house, who did not understand what Jesus was about to do, and what Jesus was indeed capable of doing, laughing at Him when He told them that He would raise the dead girl back to life again.

Are we like them, brothers and sisters? Are we doubting the Lord and His love? Are we too busy to notice our own foolishness and weaknesses? It is important that we understand this or else we will end up losing our way amidst the darkness of this world. Today, as we celebrate the feast day of St. John Bosco, a holy priest and saint of God, perhaps it will be good for us to look into the life of this holy saint, and look for things which can help us in our journey towards the Lord.

St. John Bosco was a renowned priest and holy man, who devoted his life to the service to the people of God. He served among the people of the city of Turin, who was filled with many poor people, as a result of rapid industrialisation. He was particularly worried and disturbed seeing many of the youths prior to adulthood who fell into crime and got themselves arrested, without proper jobs and had to struggle for their lives.

Therefore, St. John Bosco helped to establish institutions meant to help these young people to renew themselves and to equip themselves with the education and the skills to help themselves persevere and survive in life later on. He established shelters for young boys who were orphans and jobless, taking them out of the streets to have a decent and disciplined life under his care and watch.

Eventually several of those who have been helped by St. John Bosco would go on to follow in his examples, and established the congregation now known as the Salesians, which now have inspired many countless others, both men and women to follow in the footsteps of the holy and devout saint. St. John Bosco is also our inspiration, and therefore, let us all also follow in his footsteps.

There are many people out there who are in need of our help, not only for material help but even more so, for spiritual guidance and help, those who have been sickened by sin, corrupted by the darkness. Instead of ridiculing and condemning others because of their sins, let us instead help each other, for after all, each and every one of us are sinners before God, Who have received the full offer of mercy from God Himself, Who through Jesus had revealed to us His salvation.

May the Lord help us all that we may persevere through our lives in faith, and that we may be able to commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and devote ourselves more completely to Him. Let us all strengthen our zeal and our faith, and in our actions, may we all proclaim the glory of God, and show love to our brethren in need, that everyone will be touched by the Lord, and be healed of their afflictions. Amen.

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