Saturday, 11 November 2017 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we continued the discourse from the Scriptures which started yesterday, in the Gospel according to St. Luke, in which the Lord Jesus taught the people with the parable of the dishonest steward, pointing out what the dishonest steward had done in order to secure his livelihood after he was fired from his job as steward. The steward used his guile and craftiness to trick his master from his money, that there would be people who had gratitude in him and thus would take care of him.

The essence of this passage today is not for us to think that God despises the rich or those who have more possessions than others. Indeed, in the Gospel today, it was mentioned how the Pharisees loved money and sneered at what Jesus had just told and taught them. Yet, in this, we have to understand the context in which the Lord spoke to His people. Jesus did not say that money is evil or wicked, but rather, it was the Pharisees’ love for money and other forms of worldly glory that ended up becoming their downfall.

Throughout the history of mankind, we have seen how our love and desire for money, wealth, possessions and worldly things have resulted in sorrow and suffering for many people because of the actions that those who seek money, wealth, fame and worldly glory have taken, in order to secure for themselves these things. And we know that it is very difficult for us to be satisfied with what we have, as even after we get what we wanted, we will be tempted to want even more.

Thus, at the root of the problem is mankind’s inability to resist the temptations of money, worldliness and pleasures of life, which distract us from our attention and faith towards God. This is what we must address, and what we must take care of, if we are to be true disciples of the Lord, as true Christians. We must not put ourselves and our selfish desires ahead of our obligations to love, for Christians are called to love just as the Lord our God Himself has loved us.

Let us spend some time to reflect, brothers and sisters, on the love of God. God has loved each and every one of us so much, that He has bestowed on us the greatest gift of love of all, that is the perfect love shown by His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who willingly died on the cross for our sake, that through His crucifixion, suffering and death, He delivered us from the tyranny of sin and death.

If God has loved us all so much, then should we not also love Him in the same manner? He has given us all everything, even to the point of humbling Himself unto death on the cross for us. That is why as the Lord Jesus said, that the Law and the Commandments of God can be summarised into two key laws, that is, to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, strength and our whole beings. And then, because we have loved God, we must also love our brothers and sisters in the same way, for God loves all of us, without exception.

We must realise that the more we have been given by God, the humbler and more loving we should have become, and the more we should have shared our blessings with those who have less, little or none. We should follow the examples of the Apostles and the disciples of Our Lord, in the first reading today, where it was mentioned all those who have given themselves for the service of God.

Today we also celebrate the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, a saint who dedicated his life to the service of God, and who was remembered for his many good deeds, care and loving concern for his people, first as a layman, and later on as the Bishop of Tours in what is now southern France. St. Martin of Tours was once a soldier in the Roman army, and according to some accounts, he was an army captain.

It was told that in one occasion, St. Martin of Tours met an elderly man who seemed to be homeless on the roadside, without clothing or cover, in the middle of a cold day. Therefore, St. Martin of Tours was moved with pity and compassion, and using his sword, cut off half of his army captain’s cloak, and use that half of the cloak to cover the old man. That same night, the Lord appeared to St. Martin of Tours in a vision, showing him that He was the old man whom St. Martin had helped.

This example is a reminder for all of us, of what the Lord Himself had said in another parable, that whatever we have done for the least among our brethren, the poor, the hungry, the destitute and the lonely, we have done it for the Lord Himself. St. Martin of Tours and the many other holy men and women of God had shown us the example of how each and every one of us as Christians should live in accordance to our faith.

Let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to the Lord, and seek to devote ourselves, our time and effort more and more, to love first of all, Our God, and then to love our fellow brothers and sisters, particularly those who are in need of our love, and those who have no one else to turn to, and those who are unloved and have been rejected by their peers. May God help us in this endeavour, and may He strengthen our resolve to live always in accordance with His ways. Amen.

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