Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture starting from the Gospel passage that told us about the wonderful work that the Lord had performed among His people as highlighted in His miraculous feeding of the five thousand men and more people, as the women and children accompanying the men were not included in the count. He provided for them and gave them all food to eat.
And then, we also heard from the Epistle of St. John in our first reading today that spoke about God’s love for us mankind and how that love has manifested perfectly in the person of Jesus, the beloved Son of God, Who was sent into the world to redeem us, to help us, to show us just how much God loves each and every one of us, that each and every one of us may not perish because of our sins but have eternal life. The Lord Jesus Himself said this, and St. John reaffirmed it in his Epistle.
We are reminded therefore how each and every one of us as Christians are God’s own beloved sons and daughters, and we are made into such a privileged position because of none other than the Lord Jesus Whose birth we celebrate during this Christmas season. His birth and arrival into this world marked the beginning of the reconciliation between God and mankind, once separated by the wickedness of our sins and disobedience.
Christ has entered into this world as a unique Being, both a Divine being, because He is the Word of God and the Son of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also a Human being, because He was conceived in the womb of a woman, Mary, His mother, taking the fullness of our human existence and qualities. He has two natures, Divine and Human, both united in His one single person though the two natures remained distinct, but inseparable. This is why through Christ, we have been adopted as God’s children.
Because if Christ is the Son of God, then all of us mankind who share in His humanity is also the sons and daughters of God, by this adoption through Christ. All of us who believe in Him and become members of the Church are adopted as children of God. And we are all truly privileged to have been granted this honour and opportunity, that we really should not waste it. We should appreciate just how God still loves us so dearly even when we have erred against Him and should have been exterminated instead of being forgiven.
Today, all of us are called to reflect on our lives and how we have lived them with faith. We are called to think of whether we have reciprocated God’s generous offer of love and mercy, and how we can draw close to Him, entrusting ourselves to this love, which He has shown us through His Son, Who fed the multitudes of five thousand men and more, and even more so, gave us all spiritual sustenance through His truth.
Have we been faithful and loving towards Him, brothers and sisters in Christ? Or have we been too preoccupied and busy with ourselves that we end up distancing ourselves from Him and getting trapped deeper and deeper into the path of sin? This is where perhaps we should look upon the good examples set by our holy predecessor, St. Raymond of Penyafort, whose feast day we celebrate today, who was a Spanish Dominican friar living in the twelfth and thirteenth century.
St. Raymond of Penyafort was renowned for his lifelong dedication to God, and although he was remembered more for his important contributions in the compilation of the canon laws of the Church, which eventually became the version of the Canon Law used for many centuries, but actually St. Raymond of Penyafort was also known for his steadfastness in faith and dedication, in how he persistently opposed the King of Aragon in today’s Spain because of his immoral behaviour with a supposed mistress.
St. Raymond of Penyafort was punished and put under arrest and watch by the king for his criticism and opposition to his immoral and wicked attitude, but the saint remained steadfast in faith and in his opposition. In a well remembered miracle, it was told that St. Raymond sailed away from his island exile on a cloak and this miracle, witnessed by many caused the king to renounce his wicked behaviours and turn back towards God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have heard how St. Raymond of Penyafort loved God and had great faith in Him to the point that he was willing to oppose a king in doing so, and to do what he has done in his many contributions to the Church for so many years. Are we able to follow in his footsteps? It is something that we should perhaps think about as we continue living our lives with faith from now on. May the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us all in everything we do, and help us that we may grow ever stronger in our faith, love and devotion towards Him. Amen.