Saturday, 21 July 2018 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (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 reading from the Scriptures telling us about the lamentation of the prophet Micah who spoke against the wickedness of the people of God, who have sinned against Him and acted wickedly against His laws and commandments. This come at a time when the prophet Micah was going up against the whole nation of Israel.

In the Book of Kings, the prophet Micah was also mentioned, speaking up against the King of Israel, Ahab going to a battle against his enemies. There were other, false prophets who were with him, who spoke favourably of the king’s plan and assured him that God was with the king, while in fact, they were lying to him. Micah spoke the truth before the king and was rebuked harshly by the false prophets. Yet, in the end, it was Micah’s prediction that came to reality.

Therefore, this is in fact one way in which what we heard in the first reading passage today was fulfilled. God gave those who have disobeyed Him and betrayed Him to the pagan gods, the just and rightful consequences for their sins and disobediences. He wanted them to be reconciled to Him, and He wanted to forgive them from their sins, but it was the people themselves who were the difficult stumbling blocks in the path of reconciliation with God.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard of the same issue which the Lord Jesus had encountered with the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who opposed Him and His works. They stubbornly hardened their hearts and minds against the Lord, just as those false prophets during the time of Micah hardened the hearts of the people of God because of their lies and falsehoods.

Yet, in all of these, we can see just how much the Lord cared for us all, despite our sinfulness, and despite how rebellious and unreasonable we have been. We have hardened our hearts against God for generation after generation, but God has always been ready to reconcile us to Himself, as long as we come to realise the extent of our wrongdoings and sins. This is why God kept sending to us so many of His messengers and servants, to call us to Himself.

And He sent us, as the Gospel today mentioned, the One Whom the prophets including Isaiah and many others had prophesied about, the Messiah or Saviour Who was to come into the world in order to save us all, God’s beloved people. This is why He sent us Jesus, His own Beloved and only begotten Son, to be that Saviour, to bring unto us the salvation which He has promised to us, to bring a new and everlasting Covenant to us.

And He gave us His all, to the point that He surrendered all and emptied Himself, and let Himself to be raised on the Altar of the Cross at Calvary. He became for us the source and hope of our salvation. What He wants from each one of us is that we may have a change of heart and mind, and be open to His love and compassion, to the forgiveness which He offers freely to each and every one of us.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to accept this great love which God has given us so freely and willingly? Or do we rather continue in our path of rebellion against God? What is the choice that we want to make for ourselves? This is what we must decide, as the Lord has given us free will, to choose our path in the time to come. He has offered us His forgiveness, mercy and love freely, but ultimately, it is up to us, to collaborate with God in His mercy.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, a renowned Capuchin priest who was a great theologian, who produced a lot of works on theology and various other areas of the Church teachings and the faith. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was remembered for his great piety and devotion to God, in how he worked among the people of God and inspired many others, both through his actions and writings, to return to a life of holiness in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the holiness and inspirational life of St. Lawrence of Brindisi should also be our inspiration, in how each one of us should live our lives from now on. Are we able to turn towards the Lord with faith, with all of our hearts and minds, opening ourselves fully to His love? And are we able to follow in the footsteps of St. Lawrence, whose work and ministry among the people caused many who have fallen into heresy and falsehood to return to the true faith?

May the Lord be our strength and our Guide, that each one of us will always look up to Him as we continue to carry out our actions in our daily living. May the Lord bless us all and our every work, that in all things, we will always remember to glorify His Name and to be filled with grace at all times. Amen.

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