Tuesday, 8 August 2017 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Dominic, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the passage from the Book of Numbers, telling to us the moment when divisions rocked the community of the people of Israel, with the siblings of Moses, the one whom God appointed to be the leader over the entire people of Israel, trying to stake a claim on leadership and power over the whole community.

Aaron and Miriam resented the fact that even though they were the siblings of Moses, whom God appointed to be leader and to be the one through whom He spoke to Israel, they had no authority or power whatsoever. They were not given the position of honour, even though Aaron was indeed appointed as the leader of the priests, the Levites. In all of these, we can see how human pride and ego had taken the better of both Aaron and Miriam.

Then, in the Gospel today, all of us heard of another confrontation that occurred between Jesus and His disciples with the Pharisees, who in many occasions continued to hound the Lord and follow His works closely, often with contempt and criticism, because in their eyes, what the Lord Jesus and His disciples had done did not conform with their teachings and the way approved by them.

However, the Pharisees had become drunk with the temptation of worldly power and glory. They occupied the upper strata of the society at that time, and they were highly esteemed, and even feared by the others in the society. They had the influence and the power to even dictate the life of others, as those appointed to be the guardians of the laws and customs of the Jewish people. But, they have misused the authority granted to them and ended up opposing God's good works, just as Aaron and Miriam had risen up against God and Moses.

In all of these, we see the dangers of the temptation of worldly power, the ego that lies inside each and every one of us, which is a great obstacle on our path to reach the Lord. The devil is always active in his efforts to tempt us with power, worldly glory, fame and all other forms of persuasions, through which he convinced us that all that we have attained in life are due to our own power and might.

But we must know that all of us humans are intrinsically greedy and filled with ego, ambition and desires, and unbridled power can corrupt us in heart and mind, as we end up as what Aaron and Miriam had done, desiring control, glory and prestige of the position that they desired, and as what the Pharisees had done, in jealously guarding the power, authority and the prestige which they had attained in the society, refusing to let even the Lord Who came to bring His truth to the people.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all remember what the Lord said in the Gospel today, that all those that do not belong to God shall be uprooted and destroyed, all those who have refused to obey the Lord and walk in His ways and instead preferring to follow their own standards and ways. Let us not be taken over by our ego and by our greed, and instead, let us actively seek to be true Christians, who is humble, obedient and loving in all of our actions and deeds.

Let us all follow the example of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominicans after their founder. St. Dominic is one of the most influential and well-known saints, remembered for his hard work and evangelisation drive among the people of God, and he worked hard to convert many people who have fallen into heresy, particularly in what is now southern France, where the Albigensian heresy was at its height at that time.

He founded the Dominicans as a religious order, gathering many other people who were willing to give their lives for the sake of the Lord, doing His will and caring for His people, by teaching them the Word of God. They travelled frequently, preaching the faith to the people through words as well as through actions, in their many works of charity among the people, resulting in many souls being saved from damnation due to heresy and sin.

The hard work of St. Dominic and his companions, and many other holy men and women of God throughout the ages are reminders that we as Christians are also able to do the same in our own respective lives. It is too often that we have been preoccupied with our attempts to bring more wealth, power, fame and glory upon ourselves, at the expense of our relationship with God, distancing ourselves from Him because of our sins.

Let us therefore strive to do more in our lives, to devote ourselves to the Lord and His cause. Let us commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, that we will no longer seek personal glory or worldly pleasures, but instead, following the examples of St. Dominic and the many other holy men and women who had gone before us to the glory of heaven, by doing God's holy will, we too may be worthy to share in the glory of the saints in heaven. Let us cast aside our pride and therefore be worthy in the sight of God, our Lord and loving Master. Amen.

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