Monday, 11 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin of Tours, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us all about the importance of keeping ourselves open to the Wisdom of God through His Holy Spirit, by which His presence and truth enter into us and transform us in the manner that is perhaps incomprehensible to the world and to the norms of the society where we are living in. Yet, it is something that is necessary for us as we grow in our faith.

And it is also an important reminder to each and every one of us that all of us living in this world have been entrusted with the responsibility and the duty of being witnesses of Christ in our daily living with faith, as we are all visible to each other through our actions and our deeds. If we do not live our lives with faith, essentially we are turning ourselves away from God and from His truth and wisdom.

Unfortunately, many of us often succumbed to the temptations of this world, the temptation of power, of fame, of worldly material goods and prosperity, of glory and human praise and adulation. Many of us chose therefore to trust in our own strength and wisdom, and ended up falling into the trap that the devil and our tempters have put in place to make us stumble in our journey of faith.

And the devil knows how to manipulate and trick us well, and the greater the power and responsibility we have, the more that we will be tempted to stray away from the path of the Lord. Power indeed corrupts, as the people says, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is in our human nature, our predisposition and desire for power, for pleasures and happiness in life, for joy of this world that made us vulnerable to the temptations to sin.

That was why the Lord Jesus rebuked His opponents, likely referring to the Pharisees and the elders and the chief priests as He spoke out against those who have misled the children of God into the wrong path. And all of that was caused by their preoccupation with maintaining their prestige, power, influence and authority in the society that led them to their haughty and misled attitudes.

Therefore, after having discerned about what we have just discussed, we can see how that all of us are called to serve the Lord and follow Him in His way of truth. However, following God requires us to be open to His truth and wisdom as I mentioned, and we have to be humble and lay down our pride, or else it will be difficult for us to resist the temptations to follow instead the path of the devil, that is the path of worldliness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we can get some inspirations from the saint of today, a renowned saint whose life is truly exemplary before God. St. Martin of Tours was one of the early bishops of Tours in what is now southern France, at the years of the waning of the Roman Empire in the west, about a century after the toleration of Christians through the Edict of Milan. St. Martin of Tours came from a noble background and was an officer in the Roman army before he had a change in life and became eventually the Bishop of Tours.

It was told that on one occasion, on a cold night, as St. Martin rode along on his horse, he saw an old beggar by the roadside suffering and without anything to cover himself from the cold temperature. St. Martin, moved by what he saw, took his sword and cut part of his centurion’s cloak, and gave the cloak to the old beggar to be a comforter and protector in the midst of the cold condition.

That very night, the Lord appeared to St. Martin and revealed that the old beggar was none other than God Himself, and showed him how he had done a truly blessed action by his humility and generosity for the least and the poorest, which reminds us of what the Lord Jesus said, that whatever we do to the least of our brothers, we are doing it for the Lord Himself. Through that and all other experiences, St. Martin of Tours eventually decided to leave the military and deepen his spiritual life instead, becoming the Bishop of Tours by the support of his flock.

St. Martin of Tours was truly dedicated in his service as the shepherd of his flock, dedicating his time and efforts to take care of the needs of his flock, in particular their spiritual needs. He was a champion of the true faith amidst several heresies that were rampant at that time, protecting his flock from the false teachings and helped to guide them down the right path, leading by example through his own virtuous life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow the good examples set by St. Martin of Tours? We ourselves can follow in his footsteps and do what he had once done in our own respective lives. What we need is the humility and the desire to resist the many temptations present all around us, and also the desire to love God with all of our heart. Let us ask for the intercession of St. Martin of Tours, that God will strengthen our faith through his prayers. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

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