Saturday, 14 July 2018 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God in the Scriptures, beginning with the account of the vision of the prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament. In that account, we heard about the great glory and majesty of God, in His true and eternal splendour in heaven, in His might and power, with the Angels by His side, praising His glory.

The prophet Isaiah, seeing this vision, was called by God to be His servant and messenger to His people, to spread the word of the Lord to His people and call them to be faithful and to remain united with God and follow His ways. The prophet was afraid, after seeing the great majesty of God and thought that he was doomed, as no one who is a sinner can see the face of God and live.

But the Angel of God, a Seraph, came and reassured Isaiah that God had chosen him from among His people to be His instrument and the means through which He would bring about many of His good works and intentions to fruition. And this is related to what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, in which the Lord Jesus told His disciples about what they must expect as His followers and His disciples.

The Lord essentially told them not to be worried or to be hesitant when His disciples follow Him and do His works. First of all, He mentioned about the need to remain strong and fearless amidst the opposition rallied against them by the forces of Satan. Indeed, the opposition against them might be fearsome and seemingly insurmountable or undefeatable, but God was with them. And that, is more than enough.

This can then, explain, why there were so many holy men and women, who chose to defend their faith and die a martyr during the early days of the Church, when the Church and the faithful were subjected to particularly vicious rounds of persecution, torture, arrest, rejection and suffering. Amidst the difficulties they faced, they still kept the faith and even inspired many more to follow their examples.

What we need to realise, brothers and sisters in Christ, is the fact that we may often feel inadequate, unworthy or even felt the reluctance to live truly in a Christian way, because of various reasons. We are therefore reluctant to live out our full Christian life, and in the end, many of us end up becoming lukewarm in our faith life. This is not what the Lord wants from us.

Do we remember how the Lord called His disciples? He said, “Take up your cross and follow Me.” This sentence alone summed up everything that the Lord wanted us to know, that being His disciples means we must be willing and be ready to embrace and to endure the sufferings and trials which will come our way, that is our crosses in life. Are we willing and ready to take up such a challenge of faith?

Today, we commemorate together the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, a holy priest whose life was remembered for his great care and compassion for the poor and the sick. He himself had not been cared by his family and was neglected, and endured many hardships, including sickness and troubles that came by him every now and then. But, this holy saint of God persevered nonetheless to carry out the good works of God.

His zeal and love for God is shown in his love and care for those who are least fortunate and weakest in the society. He devoted himself to that cause and inspired many others to follow in his examples. He continued to suffer throughout his life from illnesses and other difficulties, but he entrusted himself to the Lord, and continued to do whatever good work God entrusted him, to the very end of his life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we not follow the example of this holy saint, as well as our numerous and countless predecessors, the holy saints and martyrs of the Church? Let us all begin our lives anew by redirecting our effort and attention to the Lord, so that we no longer live selfishly for ourselves, and seek our personal gratification and happiness over the suffering of others, but endeavour to do what we can, to love the Lord our God, and our fellow brethren, all the more from now on. May God bless us all. Amen.

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