Saturday, 10 February 2018 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the sins done by the people of God, as we continue to hear the story from the ancient kingdom of Israel, after the division of the old kingdom of Israel of David and Solomon into two kingdoms. The southern kingdom of Judah remained in the family of David until the end of that kingdom, while the northern kingdom also called Israel, started with Jeroboam mentioned in the first reading today, would change hands many times.

And the rivalry, jealousy and fear which king Jeroboam of Israel felt, having seen how the people still went to Jerusalem to worship God in the Temple built by Solomon, made him to disobey God and went on to impose a new pagan and wicked worship of golden calves. In this we see once again, how the people fell again and again into sin, disobeying God and refusing to follow Him.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, if we think that what the people of Israel had done were wicked, then so were our actions, our words and our deeds. Many of us often do not realise just how much wickedness and how many sins we have committed, sometimes even unknowingly, because for us, often sinning is the norm for us. Temptations to sin and the pressures from our peers and those around us are plenty, and that is why, we often fall again and again into sin.

That happens in particular when God is not in our hearts and minds. Even when we think that God has a place in our hearts and minds, but often we relegated Him to a less prominent position, putting Him aside to a corner, and instead focusing on our numerous worldly concerns and desires. We forgot about God because we were too busy pursuing our worldly careers and concerns, and we only remembered Him when we were desperate and in need, thinking that God would surely listen to us.

But God will only help those who are willing to be helped themselves. What does this mean? It means that if we do not proactively live our lives in accordance with His ways, and refuse to accept His offer of love and mercy, then we cannot be helped. It is only upon our agreement of accepting His generous offer of mercy and love, which He had made unconditionally for our sake, then we can be saved.

But we can be assured of God’s everlasting and generous love, ultimately because even though despite all of our sins, wickedness and disobedience, God still loves us, each and every one of us, just as what we have heard in the Gospel today ought to assure us of this fact. The Lord Jesus saw a large multitude of people, four thousand men not counting the women and children present there, and they were all hungry, having followed Him and heard His teachings without stopping by to rest and eat.

Thus, we heard how the Lord took seven loaves of bread available in the hands of the Apostles, and blessed them before the people, breaking them all and gave the bread for all the people to eat. And they all ate well, according to what we have heard, and there were enough leftovers in fact, to fill up seven full large baskets of leftover loaves of bread. Such a miracle was God’s doing alone, and it showed also just how much He cared for us.

And not only that, not just that the Lord had pity on His people who suffered from physical hunger of the body, but He also had pity on us because of our afflictions of the soul, the mind, the heart and our whole beings. Sin has claimed us and has enslaved us under its power, and we have therefore been made unworthy and unclean before God. Without God’s help and mercy, we would have fallen without hope into hell, to suffer for eternity as a consequence for our sins.

But the Lord laid down His own life, by offering His life in exchange for ours. He willingly sacrificed Himself on the Altar of the Cross, at the hill of Calvary, when He was crucified for us and died. He gave us His own Most Precious Body and Blood to eat and drink, that by the Most Holy Eucharist He has passed down to us through the Church by the hands of our priests and bishops, we may be filled not just physically, but also well satisfied in spirit, and healed of all of our afflictions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us think back again at our own respective lives. How many times had it been that God had been kind to us, giving us chances after chances, and opportunities after opportunities, guiding us towards the right path? We might have disappointed Him and rejected Him, but God Who loves us all very much, will not easily give up on us.

Let us all reorientate our lives that we no longer refuse His love and generous offer of mercy, but instead, follow in the footsteps of our holy predecessors, the Apostles and the saints, especially today’s saint, St. Scholastica, holy virgin and devout servant of God, whose memory we remember together. She is the sister of another great saint, St. Benedict of Nursia, and together, each of them showed many future generations of the faithful, right up to our present era, how to be truly devoted to God, in a life filled with God and His love, and for some, they followed her examples, and devoted themselves to God in a consecrated life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us fill our lives with prayer, not just prayers mumbled through the mouth, but prayers made from our hearts and minds. Let us open ourselves completely to God, allowing Him to come into us, and to dwell in us, speaking with us in the depths of our heart. Let us allow Him to transform us all by His love, so that eventually, we may be ever more like Him, and be worthy of the eternal glory He has prepared for all of those who are faithful to Him. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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