Tuesday, 24 October 2017 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings tell us that as Christians, all of us must always be vigilant and be ready for the Lord, as He will indeed come again just as He has promised to us His faithful ones. And when He comes again, it will be at a time we least expect, and many of us will be caught unprepared.

And if we do not take heed of the Lord’s reminders, we may end up at the wrong side when the Lord judges all of creation. Do we want to be counted among those whom God will reject and condemn? If that happens to us, we will only have regret with us and by then it will be too late for us to change anything.

We have to realise that God has given us every opportunities available in each of our lives, giving us the chance to be righteous and do what is good in our lives. He has shown us the way forward, and yet, many of us have not followed in His footsteps. Instead, many of us continue to dwell in the darkness and refuse to come into the light, by doing what is sinful and wicked in God’s sight.

Sin is the great disease affecting all of us mankind, and sin is the fruit of disobedience against God. Ever since Adam and Eve, our ancestors had sinned by their disobedience against God and followed instead the devil’s words, sin had become a part of mankind’s history, corrupting all of us by its wicked nature.

But God Who loves each and every one of us did not want us to fall into damnation in hell, for the very simple reason that He loves us dearly. He created us for a single purpose, that He may love us and may share the perfect love He has in Him, that all of us may also be like Him in everything, and forever may enjoy the heavenly bliss of our God.

That is why He sent to us our Redeemer, in Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son, through Whom He gave us the only way out of our predicament. For without Christ, all would have perished because of their sins, and all would have fallen into the eternal damnation in hell. It was the loving sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus on the cross which had brought us a new hope, the hope of salvation and forgiveness for our many sins and trespasses.

As mentioned in the first reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans, Christ has become the New Adam, as compared to the first and old Adam. By His perfect obedience He has shown us how each and every one of us should act in our lives, fully attuned and in full obedience to God’s will, just as Jesus was obedient to His Father, even unto accepting death on the cross.

While from the old Adam we have been corrupted by sin, from the New Adam, that is Christ, we have received the hope of eternal life. As such, if we want to have a way forward in this life, we must reach out to the Lord and seek His salvation. And how do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by turning ourselves from the path of sin towards the path of God, by obeying Him and following His examples in our own lives.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretians also known as the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a religious order of people devoted to God, following the vision of their founder, who was a great preacher and priest, spending time preaching and teaching about the faith to the people of God. Many people followed him and listened to his preachings, and were converted.

He did not have it easy, as there were many who were not pleased at his works, and thus opposed him. Yet, St. Anthony Mary Claret did not let these to trouble him, and continued to work among the people of God, and even when he was appointed as Archbishop of Santiago in Cuba. In his new capacity, he expanded the missionary efforts as well as establishing numerous infrastructures such as seminaries for the proper education of priests, as well as hospitals and schools for the benefit of his flock.

By seeing the examples of St. Anthony Mary Claret, we see just how in many things all of us Christians can follow from the examples of this holy saint, both for our own good and for the sake of our brethren. We should turn away from sin, repent and change our ways, doing what God wants each one of us to do in our lives, and then help one another in our path towards God.

May the Lord help us and bless us in our journey, that we may be thoroughly converted to the cause of the Lord. May He empower and give us all the courage needed to say no to sin and to the temptations of the devil and the world. May all of us draw ever closer to Him and receive from Him the promise of eternal life. Amen.

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