Friday, 23 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us on the importance for us to keep our faith alive in our lives, by listening to what the Lord has reminded each and every one of us today, particularly in what we heard in our Gospel passage today, on the moment when the Lord Jesus drove out the merchants and money changers from the Temple of God.

In that passage, we heard of what the Lord did when He saw all the corruptions and wickedness that were present amidst the people of God, all their corrupt dealings with money and cheating of the Temple visitors and pilgrims, for their own selfish benefits and other corrupt purposes that were totally unbecoming of the place as the location for divine worship and praise.

That is why the Lord chased them all out of the Temple for their blatant wickedness and refusal to follow the Lord’s commandments. And this is actually symbolic of what we need to do with our own lives. The Temple is referring to our own bodies, hearts, minds, and all of our whole beings. That is because God Himself is truly present in us, through His Spirit and the Body and Blood which He has given to us through the Eucharist.

And because God Himself is fully present in us, within us and in our midst, then each and every one of us must be truly exemplary as God’s Holy Temple and House. Otherwise, through our actions, by our disobedience of God’s commandments and by our failure to obey the Lord’s will, through our sins, we are putting wickedness and sin in the midst of this Temple of God, that is our body and being, much like the merchants and money changers that corrupted the Temple of God in Jerusalem.

God loves each and every one of us, brothers and sisters in Christ. And that is why, He is doing so much in order to bring us back to Himself, calling on us to change our ways and to repent from our sins. However, all of the wicked things and evil deeds we perform in our lives are things that have no place in God’s presence. For God is all good, and disobedience through sin is a great obstacle in the midst of our efforts to reach out to God.

Today, we should reflect on our every actions in life, and see if we have truly been faithful to God or whether we have veered off on the way in our journey towards Him, by the many temptations present in this life. We should think and reflect on all these things, and perhaps also take note of the examples shown by two saints, whose feast day we celebrate today, that is of Pope St. Clement I and St. Columban.

Pope St. Clement I was the Pope and leader of the Universal Church during some of its earliest years, as one of the first successors of St. Peter the Apostle, the first Pope. It was told that St. Peter himself consecrated Pope St. Clement I as bishop, and later on, the latter succeeded the second successor of St. Peter as Pope and Bishop of Rome. And Pope St. Clement I was remembered widely throughout the Church at that time and later on, as an influential Church and Apostolic father, the first among many of those who would continue the good works began by the Apostles in the building of the Church.

He wrote extensively to the various Church communities at the time, some of which were preserved as the collective writings of the Church fathers, and he helped to continue the growth and the stabilisation of the Church at the time, and many of the latter Church fathers and communities looked up to the piety and the good examples set by Pope St. Clement I in following Christ. He was martyred during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan, during one of the many Christian persecutions.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Columban, a holy man and abbot of the Church, who was an Irish missionary noted for his great many works among the regions of what is now France and Italy, establishing many monasteries and communities in those regions. At the same time, St. Columban also helped to evangelise the faith among the people, especially among those who have not followed the Lord in the right manner, affected by fallacies and heresies of the time.

St. Columban inspired many people through his works, and by his monastic rule, the Rule of St. Columban, mirroring the more famous Rule of St. Benedict, many people turned towards God and reorientate their lives towards God through prayer and upright life. Some of them joined the monasteries St. Columban founded, and many others became missionaries as how St. Columban was.

Today, by looking upon the examples set by these two holy and devoted servants of God, Pope St. Clement I and St. Columban, let us all turn towards God with a renewed love and faith for Him, and let us always be mindful, that we are all the Temples and Houses of God’s Holy and Real Presence, and as such, we should strive to be holy and free from sin, and repent from those sins if we have indeed fallen into the temptations and sins.

May God be with us all in this journey, and may we continue to devote ourselves and become ever closer to Him, day after day, in our every lives. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, now and forevermore. Amen.

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