Thursday, 13 July 2017 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard how Joseph, the son of Jacob, then the Regent of all Egypt, was reunited with his brothers, who came to Egypt in order to buy grains and food for their family. They have once plotted against Joseph due to their jealousy and anger, and threw him into a well, before selling him off to the slavers who brought him to Egypt.

However, Joseph did not feel angry or resentful towards his brothers. Neither did he seek vengeance against them for what they had done. Instead, he returned their actions with love, revealing himself to them as their long lost brother, to their utter disbelief and shock. Thus was God’s will done, and the whole family of Jacob, the people of Israel were brought to Egypt and lived there in prosperity for a while, while Joseph was Regent over Egypt.

How is this related and relevant to what we heard in the Gospel passage today? We heard about how Jesus our Lord commissioned His disciples, sending them all to many places ahead of Him, to preach the Good News and to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. They were reminded not to bring anything in excess of what they actually needed, which was truly basic needs such as clothing and sandals.

The disciples of the Lord were called to serve the Lord wholeheartedly, fulfilling what He had promised His people, their redemption, liberation and forgiveness from all the faults and mistakes which they have committed in the past, beginning with the first mankind, Adam and Eve, right down through the ages, through their descendants to all of us living in this world today.

This is what we have heard, which was in common between our Gospel and first reading passages today. The forgiveness and mercy which was shown to those who have committed mistakes and faults. Joseph showed his mercy, forgiveness, love and compassion on those who have wronged him, and similarly, our Lord has also shown His mercy and forgiveness to all of us who have disobeyed Him and desire to be reconciled with Him.

This is the message which He has sent His disciples out there for, sending them from towns to towns and from villages to villages in order to preach the Good News of God’s salvation, to invoke His mercy and compassion among His people. He called them all to be His representatives and workers, to bring many more souls to be saved in God. This is what the Lord has endeavoured to do, and what we all need to take note of.

Why is that so? That is because all of us are called to walk in the footsteps of the Apostles, to be the ones who continue the good works begun by the Apostles and disciples of the Lord, who have toiled and laboured to bring the Gospel to the people and calling them to repentance. And in our world today, there are still many souls who are in need of salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we should be inspired by the good examples of the holy saint, St. Henry, also known as Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor and a mighty ruler of Christendom who was however also known for his great magnanimity, compassion and care for the poor, the weak and the sick throughout his realms and domains.

St. Henry worked hard as a just and upright ruler, who placed his duties to his people ahead of his own personal desires and needs. And he was also a very active contributor to the Church by his many contributions to strengthening the Church throughout his realms. St. Henry established many churches and parishes, helping to build up a stable and strong foundation of the Church.

Now, let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. If someone like Henry II, holy Emperor and Saint can do such good deeds with what God had blessed them with, despite what must have been tempting for him to use the power and glory for his own personal purposes, but he instead used them to glorify God and for the benefit of his fellow men, those who have been placed under his care.

Are we able to make the same commitment? Are we able to walk in the footsteps of our holy predecessors? This we can do for the good of ourselves and our fellow brethren, all those who are still wandering in the darkness and separated from God’s love and mercy. This is the time for us to ask ourselves, what it is that we can do as Christians to be part of God’s plan for our salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to the Lord, focusing our efforts to help out in God’s mission of love and mercy, calling mankind to a new life, blessed by God and worthy of Him. May the Lord bless us all and our endeavours, and may He remain with us always. Amen.

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