Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are all reminded that as Christians, all of us must remain united with the Lord, and we cannot be separated from Him in our faith. We must remain truly and firmly rooted in Him, the One and only True Vine, out of which all truth and graces come from. If we are separated from Him, we shall perish.
That is the fundamental truth which all of us Christians must be aware of, that we have to cling to the truth which the Lord had revealed to us, and He has established a vessel through which all of these can be done, namely through the Church He had founded upon the foundation of the Apostle St. Peter and with the assistance of the other Apostles and disciples of the Lord.
It is through the Church that God had done many of His wonderful works in this world, even though He no longer physically walks among us in this world as He had done at the time when He was still with His Apostles and disciples prior to His Ascension into heaven. Yet, God Who ascended in glory to heaven never left behind His Church and His people, and He is always ever with them through good times and bad times alike.
And as Jesus mentioned in the Gospel today, the world needs to know about our Lord Jesus, about the love which He had shown His Father, our Father and Creator. For Jesus is the Son of God, Who had assumed the flesh of mankind, that by sharing in our humanity, He might show all of us the meaning of true faith and devotion to God, the meaning of perfect obedience and submission to the will of God.
That is the mission which Jesus our Lord had given to His Apostles and disciples, as He entrusted it to them before He ascended in His glory to heaven. This is the primary mission of the Church, the salvation of all souls, that all may be freed from the darkness of their sins and wickedness, and come into the light of the Lord. It is important for us to remember this as we are all parts of the Church, and as the members of God’s Church we have our responsibilities and obligations.
We cannot overlook or ignore this obligation, as without us, then who will be the ones to bear forth the word of God and tell the world of His salvation? It was because of the Apostles and their dedication to their given mission, which had brought about the birth and the growth of the Church. They have laboured hard for the propagation of the Good News of God’s salvation, and many had been saved through them.
In the same manner, many of the holy saints and devout servants of God throughout the ages and history have dedicated themselves, their lives and their efforts in the good works of the Lord, bringing salvation upon many souls, not least of all, the saint whose memory we remember today, namely St. Rita of Cascia. St. Rita of Cascia was a holy religious, an Italian widower, who was renowned for her great piety in life.
And she was also a devoted wife and mother, who was known to persuade her husband to get rid of his violent and abusive lifestyle, often getting into conflict with rival families and groups. Unfortunately, it ended with him being murdered by his enemies, leaving St. Rita of Cascia a widow and her children without a father. During those turbulent times, where rivalry and vengeance were common, St. Rita of Cascia strongly dissuaded her children from seeking vengeance.
As it was inevitable that her children would end up committing sins by the blood feud and vengeance that her larger family plotted, it was told that St. Rita of Cascia begged in her prayers before the Lord, that her sons should be spared the fate of eternal damnation, by calling them up to heaven early. It was told that, precisely that was what the Lord granted to her, by their death through dysentery in the same year.
After that, she joined the monastery, but the nuns feared her husband’s families’ feuding that would affect the community. As a result, she was allowed to join on a condition that she should help to resolve the bloody feud among the noble families. St. Rita of Cascia managed to do just that, through her hard work she made it possible for the feuding families and nobles to be reconciled with each other and ceased all forms of hostilities.
The examples of St. Rita of Cascia, her great piety and devotion to the Lord, her exemplary lifestyle and commitment to her faith should be inspiration to all of us. All of us should be more and more inspired to follow in her footsteps, in how we ought to live our faith life, and therefore, fulfilling our obligations as the members of the Church, as I mentioned earlier in this homily, to bring the people of God closer to God, and get them out of the darkness and into the light, through our actions.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray that the Lord will give us strength, courage and commitment, so that we will be able to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, the holy saints and martyrs, especially the holy woman, St. Rita of Cascia, so that by our good works and deeds, we may bring more and more souls towards the salvation in God. May God bless us all. Amen.