Monday, 23 September 2019 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, Padre Pio, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded through the readings of the Scripture we have heard today to become God’s true disciples, to follow Him wholeheartedly and to be free from the bondage and slavery to sin, as symbolically represented in our Scripture passages, beginning from the Book of Ezra in our first reading where we heard about the moment when the Israelites in exile in Babylon were liberated by King Cyrus of Persia.

At that time, the people of Israel have endured many decades of exile after their kingdom of Judah had been destroyed by the Babylonians, having the city of Jerusalem and its Temple, built by King Solomon, destroyed and razed, and their Ark of the Covenant being lost. They were brought into exile, in a humiliating reminder of their slavery in Egypt, and all because of their own refusal to obey God and His will.

But God did not abandon them to suffer and die separated from Him. Rather, His love for them remained strong and true despite their constant rebelliousness and stubborn refusal to believe in Him. He wanted them to be redeemed, forgiven and reconciled with Him, to be liberated from sin and from all things that separated them from Him. And that was how He moved the heart of King Cyrus of Persia to free the Israelites and let them go back to their own homeland.

God has been so kind and loving to His people and He has always been so patient towards them even when they have caused so much trouble. But He does not want them to remain like that forever. He is calling on the people to change their mindset and way of life. He wants them to be His true children, those who are truly righteous and just in their ways, following God with all of their hearts and minds.

God wants us all to have a change in heart, to be holy and good in all the things we do, in walking with Him faithfully. God has always been patient in guiding us all towards Him. In what He has revealed through the parable in our Gospel passage today, God wants us all to be true to our faith and to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly. He made use of the example of a lamp that ought to be put on a lampstand and not hidden in the darkness.

What does this mean? It means that all of us who have been created by God good and wonderful, as children of the light and as God’s own children should therefore not remain in the darkness of this world, that is sin. We should not allow sin to bind and enslave us any longer. As long as we remain bound to sin, we are not free and we are in danger of being lost from God. That is why we should try our best to free ourselves from this darkness in our lives.

Today, all of us should reflect on our lives and how we should live it better and be more faithful as we should. Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Pius of Pietrelcina, who was also better known as Padre Pio, a Franciscan priest who lived in the last century and was remembered for his great faith and dedication to the Lord, his holy and pious life, his commitment to the Lord and to the people, hearing confessions and casting out evil spirits from many.

St. Pius of Pietrelcina also suffered a lot throughout his life and his ministry as a priest. He encountered much opposition from various sources, even from the authorities within the Church. He was once restrained and prevented from speaking publicly or exercising his priestly ministry due to doubts over the veracity of his actions. And at that same time, he was also suffering from the miraculous stigmata on his body, in which the wounds of Christ Our Lord appeared on his hands and feet.

But despite the physical, mental and spiritual sufferings and struggles that he had to face constantly all the time, St. Pius of Pietrelcina continued to dedicate himself, his time and effort for the sake of God’s people, for the greater glory of God and for the salvation of many souls. He has shown us exactly what it means for us all to be those who shine the light within us, like that of a lamp being placed on a lampstand.

St. Pius of Pietrelcina has shown us all what it means for us all to be truly faithful to God in all things, and in being role models and examples for our fellow men. Let us all be inspired by his examples and dedicate ourselves thoroughly from now on, and seek to glorify God by our every words, actions and deeds from now on. May God bless us always and may St. Pius of Pietrelcina intercede for us sinners. Amen.

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