Thursday, 27 September 2018 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures mentioning to us about the meaninglessness of life as we know it. In the Book of Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth, we heard this word of wisdom, speaking to us about how all of the things we do, our achievements and glories in life, are truly like rivers that can never fill up the sea, no matter how much water from them flowing into the latter.

Therefore, similarly, no matter how much we have achieved in this life, but first of all, none of them will truly be able to satisfy us from the desiring more achievement and worldly glory and fame. When we have achieved something and received satisfaction, it is part of our nature to want to achieve even more and to desire for more pleasures and satisfactions, and as a result, we will end up craving and desiring for more.

That is why we mankind are so often preoccupied by so many things in life, that end up in us spending so much time in trying to gain more of these worldly desires and objects of our cravings, be it wealth, or fame, or prestige, or human praise, glory and influence. But in the end of the day, let us ask ourselves, how will it benefit us, should we gain and hoard for ourselves, so much of this wealth, prestige, glory and fame? Will all those things last forever?

And then, the reality is that none of these things will be with us forever. The Lord Jesus mentioned this in another occasion in the Gospels with the parable of a rich man, who proudly and greedily gathered much wealth for himself, and gathered many grains in his barns, and he was indeed boastful about that fact. However, the Lord reminded that as man, all of us are mortal beings whose life and earthly existences are limited.

Nothing will last forever for us, and in the end of the day, our legacy is not in what we have achieved and in what we have gathered in life, for those things are impermanent and have limited timespans. Instead, our true legacy will be how we impact one another, and how we have touched those whom we have encountered in our respective lives. And even when we are forgotten and not remembered, it is the legacy of our Christian faith that remains down through the generations.

That is why, from now on, each and every one of us as Christians must have a thorough conversion of attitude, action and outlook in life. We can no longer be complacent or passive in how we lived our lives, or worse, if we have not even acted in accordance with our faith, as shown by what we have just discussed earlier. If our lives have been marked by our preoccupation with worldly desires and temptations, then perhaps, it is time for us to reevaluate our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul, a renowned holy priest and holy man of God, whose life is truly exemplary and should become inspiration for each and every one of us. St. Vincent de Paul was remembered especially for his great works of charity, his personal humility and great dedication and faith in God, which inspired many others to follow in his footsteps.

St. Vincent de Paul endured slavery during the early years of his life, when he was taken captive by pirates on his journey. He was passed on from master to master, until his last master and his family were so impressed by the great faith he had, and the exemplary virtues he exhibited, that they all converted to the faith and St. Vincent de Paul regained his freedom. St. Vincent de Paul continued his works of charity, and helped the poor and the weak, remembering his own ordeals and challenges in slavery.

He showed us an example of what Christian discipleship and life is all about, through his commitment to the Lord, his pious devotion to a life of prayer and his many charitable works among the poor, the sick and the oppressed. We see for ourselves how St. Vincent de Paul showed such an exemplary actions and faith that it touched the life of his former master and converted him. We should also do the same with our own lives.

May the Lord strengthen our faith, and may He empower us all to live according to our faith, in all of our actions, words and deeds, so that we may be truly worthy as disciples of the loving God. Let us ask St. Vincent de Paul fo his intercession and prayers for our sake, that we may find the strength to live ever more devoutly and with greater courage day after day. May the Lord bless us all and our works, now and always. Amen.

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