Friday, 9 June 2017 : 9th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the healing of Tobit, the faithful servant of God, who had become blind in his time of sorrow, when by misfortune it was told that as he rested, birds’ droppings fell into his eyes, causing him not to be able to see for many years. Yet, in his despair, like another servant of God, the more well-known story of Job, he did not curse God for his misfortune, but remained faithful to Him.

And God listened to His prayers for supplication and help, by sending Him assistance through none other than one of His holy seven Archangels, among the greatest of the Angels, namely the Archangel Raphael, whom we know now as the Archangel of healing and of God’s mercy, precisely because of his role in bringing about healing and mercy upon God’s people who looked for Him in their times of need.

As we heard from the Scripture passages of the earlier days this week, we heard how God through His Archangel rescued the woman Sara, who had been beset by the powerful demon, Asmodeus, who killed all the seven men whom Sara had been married to as husbands. To that point, she was driven to great despair, as even her handmaidens badmouthed her and accused her of wrongdoing, of committing the murder herself for her benefits, and she almost committed suicide out of that despair.

But she trusted in the Lord, and holding back her despair, she prayed to the Lord, and the Lord heard her prayers, and together with the prayers of Tobit, He sent them His deliverance through the Archangel Raphael, who was disguised as a man who went to help Tobias in his journey. Eventually, all that God willed for the two faithful yet distressed servant of His became reality, and both were rescued from their troubles.

Through all of these, all of us ought to know that no matter how difficult a situation we are in, or how hopeless things seem to be for us, or no matter how tough our path ahead seems to be, we must not give up hope, for even though all earthly methods and ways failed, even though all those doctors were unable to restore the vision of Tobit, and none of the methods were able to cast the demon away from Sara, God was with them.

In the Gospel today, we heard Jesus speaking about David and about Himself, Who is the Son of God and Son of David both. In speaking about His ancestor, Jesus spoke of how David, the humble shepherd of Judah, coming from the hill country, used to work with lambs that he guarded, was able to combat and defeat even lions that wanted to threaten his sheep, and how in the famous story of his fight against Goliath, David was able to defeat the giant Goliath, all with the provision and help from God.

David was not physically imposing or strong, compared to Goliath and also to king Saul, whom David was eventually about to replace. However, God was with Him, and He guided David on his way, leading him through times of difficulty and also through good times. Eventually, he became the king of Judah and Israel, as the one anointed by God to be the ruler of His entire people, and to whom God promised that his descendants will rule forever, a promise fulfilled in Jesus.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of these examples serve to show us that the Lord loves each and every one of us, and He will not abandon us to be destroyed. All that we need to do, is to put our trust in Him. Yes, there will indeed be times when we doubt Him because of our sufferings and pains, but eventually we shall triumph against them, in God’s own good time, through His own way of helping us. He shall protect us and guide us, and we shall rejoice in Him once He comes in glory to be with us.

Let us all, therefore, deepen our relationship with God, especially through prayers. Tobit and Sara prayed to the Lord asking Him to save them from their troubles and distress, and God heard them. King David himself was very devoted to the Lord, and often prayed in good times, as well as bad and troubled times, and the Lord heard him. Let us pray often, and not pray only from the mouth, but more importantly, from our hearts, and allow the Lord to speak to us as well, in the silence of our prayers and focus on Him, so that we may know what His will is for us.

May the Lord guide us all in our path, and may He strengthen us all always, so that we may never give up amidst all the challenges and temptations, and we will be able to seek the Lord and find our way to Him even amidst tribulations and difficulties. May the Lord be with us always, now and forever. Amen.

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