(Holy Week) Tuesday, 11 April 2017 : Tuesday of Holy Week, Memorial of St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about how Jesus said that one of His own disciples would betray Him and surrendered Him to the hands of the chief priests and the elders. He was speaking of the time of His own suffering and death, which at that time was indeed about to occur. We heard of the betrayal of Judas who left to inform the chief priests and the elders on how and when to arrest Jesus in exchange for monetary compensation of thirty silver pieces.

Then we also heard how Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before others, even as he said that he would give his life for the sake of the Lord. This is what we are certainly quite well aware of, how during the time when Jesus had been arrested, out of fear and doubt, Peter denied three times knowing Jesus and had wanted nothing to do with Him when the bystanders at the trial of Jesus asked him.

In what we have heard thus far, what the Lord wants us to know is that all of us mankind have sinned, committed acts out of disobedience to Him, and we are easily tempted by various things, from money, to pleasures of the body, to desire, to lust and greed for power, human ambition, to fame and renown, and all other things that have caused us to doubt, to falter and to fall into sin, as the disciples had done when the Lord was arrested. They all abandoned Him and hid themselves out of fear.

Yet, we must be wondering why then did God call such weak and easily tempted men to be His disciples? Then, we should also think then that the Lord called people who were sinners like the tax collectors, prostitutes and all others whom the general public considered to be the dregs and the lowest of them all, outcasts and unworthy people, who should have been condemned because of all the wickedness that they had done.

But God called them and made them turn away from their past sinfulness and He made them to abandon their old ways of wickedness. He had transformed all of them from the beings of darkness and sin, into the children of the light, and therefore, we have to realise that even all saints were once themselves sinners too, just like each and every one of us.

What is it that differentiate between saints and all those who have fallen into damnation? Since all of them were once the same in what they had done, in whatever sins they have committed, we may not realise the answer for this question. But truly, it is because while saints turned away from their sins and made the commitment to sin no more, those who have been condemned ended up with such a fate because they continued to live in the state of sin.

As we progress through the Holy Week, and approach the time when we will commemorate again the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, let us all ponder upon these matters and reflect on our actions in life thus far. How have we made use of this life and opportunity given to us by our Lord? Have we used it in accordance with what He wanted us and willed for us? Or have we instead ignored His will and decided to follow our own path, by turning into sin and debauchery?

We should look upon the examples set by St. Stanislas or St. Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr, who was a renowned saint and martyr from Poland, who lived almost a millennia ago, as the Bishop of Krakow in Poland. St. Stanislas was a just and upright man, who committed himself wholeheartedly to the mission to which he had been called to. He spent much of his time to help guide the people of God through difficulties, challenges and temptations in life to seek God and His ways.

And he was very courageous in standing up to his faith and to the truth that could be found in the Lord alone, as he even stood up against the king of Poland, king Boleslav who was told to be immoral in his life and in his activities. He was chastised by the courageous saint, who ended up excommunicating the king when he refused to change his ways and continued to commit scandalous acts before God and men alike.

The king took matter to his own hands and personally killed the Bishop as he was celebrating the Holy Mass outside the city. The uproar over the killing of such a holy and pious man forced the king off from his throne, and it was told that he had to go into exile, and some accounts placed him as a penitent who went about trying to be forgiven from his grievous sin of murdering a holy man of God. Nevertheless, the faith of St. Stanislas were widely noted and many venerated him after his death.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us should also walk in the footsteps of St. Stanislas. We should emulate his commitment to live a pious and worthy life, rejecting all forms of sins and wickedness. We should turn our way back from our sins, and reject all those things that had led us to sin. Let us all devote ourselves and our time from now on to serve the Lord with all of our hearts, with all of our strength, so that we may join the company of the saints, all the sinners whom God had forgiven and welcomed back into His embrace, and now enjoy the eternal glory of heaven. May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

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