Wednesday, 27 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard the readings from the Sacred Scriptures this day, there are two key takeaways which we should keep with us, as we proceed on with our daily living. First of all, it is about our sins and how God has been merciful to us, as He forgave us our sins and were willing to overlook our trespasses. And secondly, it is also about what each of us as Christians have been called to do in our lives.

In the first reading we heard today, we saw how Ezra the priest, prophet and leader of Israel humbled himself such before God that he offered the humble subjection on behalf of the whole nation and people of Israel, admitting the many sins and faults which they have committed before the Lord, all the betrayals they have made against their God, when they stumbled and worshipped the pagan gods, in all of their inappropriate and wicked actions.

Yet, God has been willing to overlook our sins and to forgive us, so long as we are willing to be forgiven. And how is it that we know that we are willing to be forgiven? It is by our sincere desire to repent from our sins, in the manner as Ezra the priest had shown us all today. He has humbled himself, lowered himself greatly before God, recognising the faults and the unworthiness of his corrupt and impure self, having been corrupted by sin, just as the people of Israel have been corrupted by their disobedience.

This is a very important step in the path of forgiveness, for many of us often forget that in order to be forgiven, we must be ready to change ourselves, and to admit our shortcomings and inadequacies, our imperfections and flaws. We often think that we cannot be wrong, and that our way is correct, and we are too proud to admit that we are in the wrong. It is often our pride and ego that prevented us from attaining true redemption.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all not be prideful or arrogant, but instead let us be humble in everything, especially before God. For He has been willing to forgive us from our sins, if we are just able to humble ourselves and seek for His forgiveness, by actively turning ourselves ever closer towards His ways. This is what all of us should be doing, and what all of us should be focusing on in life.

Let us all heed the examples of St. Vincent de Paul, the saint whose feast we celebrate today, and whose life exemplifies what we have also heard in the Gospel today. All of us as Christians are also called to reach out to our brethren, bearing the words of the Gospels and the truth of our Lord, through our love and our caring outreach to them, as St. Vincent de Paul himself had done.

St. Vincent de Paul was the patron saint of charity who was renowned for his many works among the poor and the needy in the society, who was the inspiration for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul today, which continued to carry out the same works begun by the saint all those years ago. St. Vincent de Paul had a tough life, for once he was captured by pirates and was enslaved for a number of years.

But his actions, piety and exemplary life inspired one of his masters, who repented his sinful life, and helped to return St. Vincent de Paul to his homeland. These experiences affected St. Vincent de Paul, who was ever since then, always sought to care for the poor and the needy, all those who have little or nothing to survive on, by founding several congregations to gather the like-minded people to participate in helping the least of their brethren, obeying what the Lord Jesus Himself had told His disciples to do.

The examples of the good works of St. Vincent de Paul should be our inspiration in life, that as Christians all of us are called for a higher purpose in life, that is to look beyond our own needs, especially our selfish desires, and seek for the betterment of our brethren who are not as fortunate as us in life. Let us all reach out to them, and out of true spirit of charity, let us show our love towards them.

Therefore, let us from now on be ever humble in the presence of God and men alike, knowing that each and every one of us are sinners, to whom God has given the grace of forgiveness and mercy, and let us thoroughly repent from our sinful ways, and from now on, let us all be loving and charitable, in the same way as St. Vincent de Paul had been in his life. May the Lord bless us all, and may He continue to inspire us to live worthily of Him at all times. Amen.

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