Saturday, 10 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are called to examine our lives and actions, and see how we can be better disciples and followers of Christ in our daily living. From the readings of the Scripture we can see just how to be a true Christian will often require us to persevere through trials and difficulties, and often to suffer rejection and pain in life.

Why is that so, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord Jesus succinctly summarised the reason into what He said in the Gospel passage today, ‘that you cannot give yourself to two masters, God and money.’ He mentioned this, saying that we cannot have two masters, for if we obey one, we are bound to disobey the other, and vice versa.

In the Gospel passage itself, we already can see this tension between the Lord and the Pharisees, who loved money, power, fame and the attention of the world. The Pharisees and many of those in the priestly class resented the Lord Jesus and sneered at Him at His words, although in fact their very action actually vindicated them in proofing that the Lord’s words were true.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, throughout the Gospels, we can see from historical facts and the actions of those who opposed the Lord’s good works, how those people adored attention and had worldly ambitions, fuelled by their greed, human desires and ego. And that is why they were not able to devote their hearts and minds entirely to God, exactly as what the Lord had said Himself.

That was why, He labelled them as hypocrites and as those who did not have true faith or love for God. In their hearts and minds, they were filled with ego and desire, and hence, had the wrong focus and attention that showed in the way they lived their faith. Instead of being centred on God and directing the people towards Him, they projected an image of self-centredness and egoism.

And this is what the Lord calls us to avoid and turn away from, that we do not fall into the same trap that the Pharisees had fallen into, or otherwise, we too will be in danger of falling into sin and away from God’s salvation. We must turn ourselves completely towards the Lord and resist the temptations of worldly things and concerns that will often influence us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Leo the Great, one of the great Popes of the Church and a devout defender of the faith and reformer of the Church, in the midst of the turbulent years of his reign as Pope. He became the successor of St. Peter at the time when the authority of the Roman Empire was crumbling everywhere in Western Europe, and that includes the city of Rome itself, where Pope St. Leo the Great was the bishop of.

Yet, Pope St. Leo the Great was remembered as a great Pope who helped to steer the Church through those difficult times, devoting himself wholeheartedly to the Lord, standing up against heretics and all those who followed the false ways of the unorthodox faith. He helped the Church and the faithful to go through those difficult years, and he even stood up against the brutal and mighty Attila, king of the Huns, who had no fear of man and who caused countless deaths in his rampages across Europe, and managed to persuade him to stay away from Rome, the City of God and heart of Christendom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we ought to follow the good example, the faith and the courage shown by Pope St. Leo the Great in his life and work. Let us all be faithful in the same way that he has been faithful, and commit ourselves to serve the Lord to the best of our abilities from now on. May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us, every single moments of our lives, that we may turn to Him with all of our hearts and love Him with all of our strength. Amen.

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