Saturday, 15 July 2017 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are reminded yet again that we should not worry about our worldly affairs and about our personal concerns. In the first reading today, Jacob was about to die and join his ancestors, and he was buried in the land of Canaan. The sons of Jacob were worried that Joseph, whom they once had betrayed to the slavers and cast out to Egypt, would seek revenge upon them now that Jacob, their father was dead.

But Joseph dissuaded them from their fears and reaffirmed his forgiveness and mercy, which he had shown them, even though they had caused him much misery and sufferings. Joseph did not seek for vengeance, but instead, he trusted in the Lord, Who had helped him in his time of need and delivered him from the hand of his enemies and dangers. He forgave his brothers just as the Lord our God has also forgiven us all our sins.

In the Gospel today, we heard about how the Lord Jesus told His disciples that the truth will always be unveiled and revealed in its fullness, no matter how one sought to hide it from being uncovered or known. For we have to know, brethren, that the Lord our God knows everything that is inside our hearts and our minds. There is no way we can hide any thoughts or deeds from Him, no matter how well it is that we try to do so.

But at the same time, He also mentioned again that we all should not worry for what could destroy the body but could not harm the soul, and instead, we should fear the One Who is capable of destroying us body and soul. What does the Lord mean with this? He meant that all of us must not fear persecution and challenges, or be worried when even the whole world rose up against us. We should instead be worried if we are to leave behind the Lord for the safety of the world because we are concerned that we will lose everything if we are to go against the world.

No matter how powerful or fearsome the devil may appear to us, and how capable he is in harming us physically through his rule over the world, he has no power over us. All of us who have given ourselves to the Lord and who have been cleansed from our sins are no longer under the dominion of Satan, but God. God our Creator and Master has all the power over us, over our bodies, minds, hearts, and over all of our souls. He is the One Whom we have to fear, should we commit sin that taint our soul and make ourselves unworthy of Him.

And therefore remember this, brothers and sisters in Christ, that if we ignore the Lord, and commit what is wicked in our lives, in order to appease the world and to safeguard ourselves, what we will gain for ourselves will just be a temporary respite from our troubles, and whatever benefits we will receive, will just be temporary, as what they can give us is not true happiness or joy.

The devil is always working very hard in order to persuade us that the way of the Lord is more difficult and challenging, and that his path is an easier and better one, one that is able to satisfy us and fulfil what we need. Yet, let us remember that while the path shown by the devil seems to be easier, but it is in fact leading us to greater sorrow and suffering in the end. And the path of the Lord, while it may seem to be challenging and tough at first, but this path leads to eternal life and true happiness.

As the Lord had said, that what is the point for us to gain the whole world if it causes us to lose our souls to condemnation? And how much better it is indeed for us, even if we do not gain the approval of the world but we are able to gain the salvation for our souls and enjoy forever true happiness and joy which can be found in God alone? This is what all of us really need to think about and reflect on in our lives.

We should also heed the inspiring examples of St. Bonaventure, a renowned holy man and saint, who was a Franciscan religious, eventually becoming a bishop and a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church for his many contributions to the faithful and to the Church as a whole. St. Bonaventure was known well for his great devotion and faith in God, in his dedication to the Franciscans and his numerous works and publications that brought about great intellectual revolution in the Church.

St. Bonaventure did not have it easy though, as he faced opposition for his efforts and works both from within the Franciscans as well as from various other sources. Yet, despite all of these obstacles and challenges, he continued to strive through those difficulties and influenced many others who would also end up being known for their great theology and philosophical works, following the example of St. Bonaventure.

Through this example, all of us Christians should follow the footsteps of St. Bonaventure in his faithful dedication to the Lord despite all the challenges he encountered through his life and his works. Let us all remain strong in our commitment to God even if there may be great temptations for us to do otherwise. Let us never forget that God is ever faithful to His promises, and if we continue to cling on to Him despite the temptations to do otherwise, He will bless us and grant us His grace.

May the Lord awaken in our hearts a strong desire to love Him and to serve Him faithfully in all the things we say and do. May all of our actions bring glory to the Lord, and may our faith in Him continue to flourish despite the challenges we face in life. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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