Saturday, 11 August 2018 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Clare, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us heard the readings of the Scriptures beginning with the Book of the prophet Habakkuk, in which we listened to God speaking to Habakkuk about how everything will happen just as the Lord wills it, in His own time and not in our time. It is God’s will that will be done and not ours, as God alone has the power and authority over the fate of all of us, and also over time and workings of this world.

The prophet Habakkuk pointed out something that many among us also often to question in our own hearts and minds, especially when we see injustice and wicked things happening around us. We may come to wonder why the Lord seems to be doing nothing when an injustice occurs to us, and when especially the poor and the weak are oppressed, ostracised and being persecuted, while the rich and the powerful had their way as they wanted.

Some of us even come to doubt that God is really actually present in our midst, or if He is present, whether He cares for us at all, if we see these kind of injustices and wicked deeds being performed in our midst. But what the Lord told the prophet Habakkuk is a reminder to each one of us is that, when we make this kind of question and statement on the Lord’s presence and action in our lives, we are actually putting a condition and demand on what we want to have in Our God.

God works in His own time and acts according to His own will, and not subject to our demands and desires. On the other hand, as a loving God and Father to all of us, He also hears our prayers and all of our requests that we made in those prayers. He is not ignorant or unaware of them at all, but in fact, He wants to help us and provide us with as much as He could give us.

But in the end of the day, we cannot put restrain or demand on what we want God to do for us. It is simply not right for us as the creature to demand what we want from our Creator. Rather, what we must have, is trust, and with trust, comes faith in the Lord, Our God. This is what the Lord Himself told the people, and also all of us, in our Gospel passage today.

At that occasion, the Lord told the people off because of their lack of faith. They were saying that they came to His disciples with the intention of having their sick ones healed from their diseases and bodily complaints such as epilepsy and paralysis, but the disciples were not able to do so. Why is that so? That is likely because they came to the disciples expecting them to heal their sick ones, but they did not have faith.

It was not the disciples who had the power and ability to heal the sick people, but rather God working through them, performing His work and miracles, that made those who were sick to be whole again. Probably the disciples themselves did not have enough faith and doubted the Lord, as St. Thomas, one of the Twelve Apostles had shown on several occasions in how he doubted the Lord’s truth and resurrection from the dead.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord Jesus used the example of a mustard seed in comparing the faith that the people had in God’s power and in His truth. Why is that so? That is because a mustard seed is a very small seed, which is very insignificant in size, but it can grow into a very large tree once grown. The Lord Jesus used this as a comparison to show how even a small amount of genuine faith that we have in Him, is sufficient, and with enough encouragement and guidance, this faith can grow greatly into one that is vibrant and exemplary.

But many of us are often lacking in faith, and we do not have trust in God. Instead, we trust in our own human abilities, powers, in our wealth and worldly possessions. We place a lot of focus on worldly achievements and prestige, that many of us end up putting God aside and sidelining Him in our pursuit for worldly achievements and glories. And that is also why we often judge things based on how successful they are in terms of worldly matters, rather than to see them from the eyes of faith.

That is why we end up being angry with God for apparently not answering our pleas or giving us what we desires and wants. That is because we are limiting God into our criteria of worldly success and achievements, and we judge things based on our perception of affluence and success. But this is not how God works, and He did what He had done, not because He wanted to please our desires and wants, but rather because it is His will to do so.

Now, let us all look at the example of St. Clare of Assisi, the saint whose feast we commemorate today. St. Clare of Assisi was remembered for her great piety and dedication to the Lord, giving her whole life to God and to the service of others through prayer and charitable works. She was particularly remembered for one miraculous occasion, when the place she was living in was under attack by the marauding forces of an army that came to invade that region.

The armies ransacked the whole place, looting and causing destruction everywhere, and they did not want to spare even the convent where St. Clare of Assisi was in. She was without any weapons or any means to defend herself, but she entrusted herself completely to the Lord, reaching out to the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and as the enemies came barging into the place St. Clare was in, she lifted up the monstrance in which the Lord’s Real Presence was contained, up high, and immediately, all the enemy forces were brought to their knees.

They were brought to a great fear of the Lord’s Presence, and immediately left the whole place and town, one of the many proofs of God’s divine providence and the protection which He gives to all those who have been faithful to Him. Now, having heard of such a wondrous story of faith, are we able to do the same in our lives, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to show the same kind of complete trust and faith as St. Clare of Assisi had done?

May the Lord continue to strengthen our faith in our hearts, and may He continue to inspire us all to live with ever more commitment to walk in His path and to do His will, in every actions and deeds we do in life. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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