Friday, 23 March 2018 : 5th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we approach the coming of the Holy Week, the readings taken from the Scriptures increasingly took up a very peculiar tone, to highlight the gravity and the importance of the events that would take place soon in the liturgical calendar of the Church. In today’s passage from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, we heard of the plotting which the wicked people of Judah plotted against the prophet Jeremiah, who came into their midst speaking God’s truth, and yet, he was rejected because of what he had told them.

The prophet Jeremiah had to endure much difficulty and opposition throughout his ministry among the people of Judah, and few believed in his message. They ridiculed him, made his life very difficult, and placed obstacles, one after another in his path. But the prophet Jeremiah, despite his occasional grumbling and complaints about his challenges and difficulties, he remained ultimately faithful to God and entrusted himself to Him.

God was with Jeremiah, and He guided him through those turbulent times, and despite all the challenges encountered by the prophet, he did not give up or stop his preaching and calling upon the people to turn away from their sinful ways. This is similar to what the Lord Jesus experienced, when He came into the world, bringing His truth and His salvation into our midst.

As we can see in the Gospel passage today, the Lord also encountered great opposition to His mission and work, because the people to whom He was sent, refused to believe in Him and they ridiculed and rejected Him just as their ancestors had done to the prophet Jeremiah. They refused to listen to Him, and hardened their hearts as they became angry at Jesus’ mention that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, sent into the world to correct all of mankind’s wrongs.

Instead of allowing God to enter into their hearts and listening to His offer of mercy and forgiveness, they resolutely continued down the path of their rebelliousness, and they were in fact the ones who would also reject the Lord before the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, when they were asked to choose between the Lord Jesus and the murderer Barabbas. They called out for His death and said in a loud voice, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is the attitude that many of us have also either willingly or unwillingly taken in our lives. We have not allowed God to enter into our hearts and minds, and we close ourselves up from Him. We would not listen to Him and preferred to follow our own ways and thoughts instead. And that is why we have fallen into sin and became distant from God.

Today, let us all look upon the example of a particular saint, whose feast day we celebrate on this day, that is St. Turibius de Mogrovejo. He was a Spanish priest who was appointed to be the Archbishop of Lima in Peru, then part of Spanish America. He was remembered for his great piety and commitment to God, living honest and good life in accordance to God’s will.

St. Turibius de Mogrovejo showed great concern for the poor, the sick and those who were oppressed in the society. He established many houses and schools to care for them and to provide for their needs. He also championed for the case of the slaves and all those who were often prejudiced against by the society. He was also committed to serve the needs of his flock, entrusted to him by God. He enforced a stricter standard amongst the clergy, which by then had fallen into corruption and scandal. He even excommunicated the members of the clergy who had corrupt dealings and persecuted the native peoples of the Americas.

St. Turibius de Mogrovejo showed us all, how to live as true Christians, by doing God’s will and turning away from wickedness and sin. We must not allow our ego and pride to be in the way of our salvation in God, but instead, let us all be humble and be open to God’s mercy doing its work in our lives. Let us all make this our resolution from now on, that we no longer live to serve our own selfish desires and our ego, but instead, to serve the Lord with all of our hearts and with all of our strength.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in this life, that we may progress in our journey of faith towards Him and find in Him the eternal life and the salvation that we are looking forward to, each and every day of our life. May all of us be reconciled with Him through our genuine repentance and turning away from our sins, and by embracing His ways, as His holy saint, St. Turibius de Mogrovejo had done. St. Turibius de Mogrovejo, pray for us. Amen.

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