Monday, 23 October 2017 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John of Capestrano, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s Scripture readings we are presented with two very interesting contrasts in the passages we heard, both involving very rich men, who had plenty in worldly terms, blessed by God in all that they do, bountiful with all sorts of wealth and possessions, yet with very different outcomes.

In the Old Testament, we heard how Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites and father of many nations was mentioned. Then in the Gospel, we heard the Lord Jesus telling us in a parable about a rich man who had plenty of grains stored in numerous granaries, earning him great amount of riches and wealth.

But the contrast lie in the fact that while Abraham put his trust and faith in God, as he was ready to leave behind everything in the land of his ancestors to travel into an uncharted territory solely based on God’s call, the rich man mentioned in the Gospel had trust only in himself and in his riches. The rich man mentioned in the Gospel was happy with his many riches, but not satisfied, because he wanted to have more.

Abraham placed his trust and faith in God, believing that in all he has received, all of them were due to the grace and blessings from God. He was satisfied in what he had received and was willing to give back to God what He deserved, that is his love and commitment. That was why God blessed him and chose him among many others, to be the father of many nations and as the progenitor of the race of the first chosen people of God.

The rich man in the Gospel put his trust in his wealth and possessions, and loved them more than his love for God. He was thinking about them all the time, worrying that he would not have enough barns to store all of his grains and not enough storehouses to contain all of his wealth. But God rebuked him, saying that all that he had gained would be for nothing, as if his life was to be taken away that very night, all the wealth and possessions he had would not save him.

It is therefore an important reminder for each and every one of us, that we should realise that the true treasure of our life lies in God alone, and in God we have that inheritance and promise of eternal glory that last forever, and not temporary in nature. Meanwhile, all kinds of worldly assurances and matters can be easily destroyed and perish, and if we put our trust in these, we will only be disappointed in the end.

Let us all therefore spend some time to reflect on our lives. Let us all think on how we have led our lives thus far, on whether we have spent too much time trying to assemble for ourselves worldly glories, fame, wealth and renown, to the point that we have forgotten what it is that we really should be doing with our lives. We should devote ourselves, our effort, our time and attention to the Lord, so that in all the things we do, we do not do them for our own selfish gains, but for the greater glory of God.

Today, we celebrate the feast day of St. John of Capestrano, a renowned holy man and priest, who was a Franciscan friar and preacher, giving himself wholeheartedly to the Lord, abandoning behind all forms of worldly glory, as he was once an influential ruler and governor of the province of Perugia in Italy. He left everything behind and joined the Franciscan order to serve the greater purpose of God, trusting everything to Him.

St. John of Capestrano travelled through many cities and villages throughout Europe, preaching against heresies and excesses of human nature. He called many people to repent from their sins and to turn once again towards God. He was also involved in many embassies sent by the Pope to the rulers of Christendom, going from place to place to combat heresies as well as to settle matters of state, or broker peace between kingdoms and rulers.

The examples shown by St. John of Capestrano should inspire us all as Christians, that we should put God ahead of everything else in our lives. There will indeed be plenty of temptations urging us to do otherwise, but we will do well in obeying God and putting our trust in Him, as Abraham our father in faith, St. John of Capestrano and the many other holy saints had done in their lives.

Let us all therefore renew our commitment to God, by learning to be faithful in all the things we do in life, by trusting God in each and every moment of our lives, and by learning to let go of the temptations of material goods, wealth and all other things that do bring us temporary pleasure and happiness, but in the end, bring us only to disappointment and become obstacles in our journey to reach out to true happiness found in God alone.

May the Lord bless us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path, that in our journey towards Him, we shall be able to draw closer to Him and find justification through our faith and commitment in Him. Amen.

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