Saturday, 26 May 2018 : 7th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture, telling us about the importance for us as Christians, to care for one another, our fellow faithful, our brothers and sisters in the same Lord. St. James told us this, in the Epistle he wrote, that we should pray, pray for our sake and pray for each other.

A good and devout Christian will pray, and pray in order to communicate with the Lord, Our God, the source of our strength, hope and power. And through prayer, we show our concern towards one another, and then, we put ourselves into action, to help lead and guide one another, that each and every one of us are responsible for the well-being of one another in faith.

And this means that, we should not be quick to judge or to cast our brothers or sisters out, just because we think that they were not as faithful as we are, or that they are not doing things the way we want it to be. In the Gospel passage today, we saw how the Lord Jesus rebuked His disciples because they tried to prevent children from coming towards Him. He was angry at them because they tried to impose what they thought was right over others.

And we have to understand this in the context of their actions towards one another. The disciples were often arguing and bickering among themselves on who among them, will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. But in doing so, they are trying to undermine each other, and exclude others from God’s grace and love. St. James and St. John went with their mother to the Lord, asking Him to grant them special favours over that of the other disciples.

But the Lord showed them that it is not the way that He wants from each one of His followers and disciples. Rather, He showed that the Church must be welcoming, especially to little children who want to come to the Lord and know Him. This is important because, those children are still innocent, and are willing to know the Lord with genuine intention and faith.

If we prevent them from reaching out to the Lord, then we have committed a great sin, for we have caused their souls to be lost to Him. And then, if we, through our actions have caused them to fall into sin, because we ourselves have not been faithful and committed what is wicked and sinful before God, then we will also be held accountable for the souls of these little children, as well as anyone else that we have misled into sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we celebrate the feast of St. Philip Neri, a famous holy man and devout servant of God, who was an Italian priest remembered for his great dedication to the Lord, for his missionary work and outreach to many of the faithful, calling many people to repent from their sins and follow the Lord. As a result, many people followed the Lord and turn away from their sins. He has done the Church and the people of God a great service.

Now, each and every one of us as Christians should follow the examples of St. Philip Neri and live in the way that he has lived his life, and in how he has served the people of God. Let us all devote ourselves anew to God, and be exemplary in our lives, by truly living them with faith, through genuine actions, by loving one another and by our guidance towards one another in faith. We hope that through all these, we may help to guide each other, to remain true to our Christian faith, and welcome all those who seek the Lord, especially those who desire His love, like those little children who come to Him.

May the Lord be with each and every one of us, and may He continue to strengthen us in faith, that we will grow to love Him more and more, with each and every passing day of our lives. Amen.

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