Monday, 5 June 2017 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the person Tobit, an Israeli exile at the time of the Assyrian destruction of the northern kingdom, who was among the many descendants of Israel carried off to the exile in Assyria and in faraway lands. And even though many of the people of the northern kingdom abandoned the Lord and worshipped the pagan gods, but Tobit and his family remained faithful to the Lord God of Israel.

Indeed, Tobit was righteous and just in his actions, obeying the Lord and all of His commandments. He gave alms and cared for his fellow countrymen in exile, many of whom were suffering in poverty and slavery. Yet, in today’s reading, we heard also the reality of life, how people were persecuted and even killed because of their race, or because of they were weak and powerless, as what happened to the Israelites at that time, persecuted and scattered among the nations.

Such was the degree of human greed and desire, that they would even exploit others and made others to suffer in order to satisfy their own selfish needs and wants, and achieve their own personal glory. That is what the Lord Jesus wanted to show through the parable which He taught His disciples, what we heard in our Gospel today about the evil tenants who refused to pay their due to their landlord and master.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the evil tenants represent all those people who were wicked and who were controlled by their desires and greed. They should have paid their due to the landlord and master, who is none other than the Lord our God, Who has given them all the opportunity to live and to prosper from all His graces and blessings. Yet, they disobeyed Him and refused to listen to Him, even hurting and killing all those whom the Master had sent to them to remind them about their obligations.

This is representative of how mankind itself reacted to the Lord, as He constantly reminded them through His messengers and servants, whom He sent to be among His people, in order to call them to repent from all of their sinful ways, from all of their selfish deeds that brought about suffering and difficulties to their fellow men, and from all that they had done which were wicked in the sight of the Lord and men alike.

But many of those people turned a deaf ear and persecuted all those who had been sent to remind them and guide them. And thus the messengers, prophets and servants of God had suffered and died, and last of all, as Jesus Himself prophesied through His parable, they would even kill the son of the master, Who is representative of Jesus, the Son of God.

They rejected Him, ridiculed and mocked Him, and then arrested Him, putting Him under false charges and accusations made by false witnesses. They made Him to bear the burden of the cross, and condemned Him to death, death on the cross. And yet, as we all know, the Lord Jesus had transformed that suffering to grace, by obeying perfectly the will of God, His Father. That means, when the people had been unfaithful, His faith and obedience has become a great light that led the people from the darkness.

That was what the Lord had taught us all, His disciples and followers to do in our own respective lives. The Lord has shown us all by His own example, on how all of us ought to live in accordance with His will, helping to guide all those who have been swayed and corrupted by the evils of greed and desire, by telling them with gentle and yet firm words of reminders.

That means, all of us as Christians ought to do what the holy saints and martyrs had done, as they lived upright life and led an example for the rest of the people, all of whom had been struggling under the weight of their sins and wickedness. All of the saints themselves had been sinners like us as well, for everyone had committed sin at least once in their lives. And yet, they turned towards the Lord, and endeavoured to show others the way to do the same.

St. Boniface, the saint whose memory we remember today, did exactly just that, brothers and sisters in Christ. He was a bishop appointed to serve the people living in the areas and regions which now comprise the northern part of Germany, which at that time had not yet received the words and truth of God, as paganism was still the norm for the people living in those places, living in state of sin and wickedness, and doing what were abhorrent in the sight of God.

Yet, St. Boniface took up the challenge and set out to preach to those people, bearing to them the message of truth, as he patiently and courageously went about from towns to towns, from villages to villages, to proclaim God’s ways and calling on the pagans to repent from their sins and turn towards the Lord, their true God and Master. Yes, he was persecuted and faced many challenges, but he never gave up.

It is his conviction to help all those who were still separated from the love of God, be it because of ignorance or because of the temptations of the world, so that all those people would not end up in hell, damned because of their sins. He called them out of the darkness and into the light, through all of his hard work and commitment. This is what all of us Christians have to do in our own lives, as St. Boniface carried on doing his duty, even until he was martyred in the midst of his ministry, as told that he was attacked by brigands and was martyred defending his faith in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, all of us are called to be the messengers of God’s truth, that we may not end up becoming like those evil tenants who were swallowed by their greed and desire for personal glory and power. We should help one another, especially our brethren who are still struggling in their journey towards the Lord, not by great and marvellous deeds, but beginning from ourselves, from our own actions and deeds in life.

Brethren, let us all show exemplary actions and deeds in life, so that through all the work that we have done, and through all of our dedication, by loving tenderly and sincerely, and by showing genuine care and concern for all those who have fallen along the way, we may convince more and more people to repent and to turn themselves completely and wholeheartedly towards the Lord, their God. So that, ultimately, all of us will rejoice together in the end, enjoying together as one people, the heavenly glory the Lord promised to all those who keep their faith in Him. May God bless us all. Amen.

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