Saturday, 13 June 2020 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded to be sincere in faith, to be true to the Lord in all things, in following Him and dedicating ourselves and our efforts to serve Him, in whatever He has called us to, in whatever vocations He has shown us, the paths that He has laid out before us. We heard the Lord telling us through our Scripture passages today to be genuinely faithful and to be filled with real, living and true faith in us at all times.

In our first reading today, we heard from the First Book of Kings the story of the calling of the prophet Elisha, whom the Lord had appointed and chosen to be the successor for the prophet Elijah. The prophet Elijah found Elisha tending to the farm and the oxen, and he revealed to Elisha what God had planned with him, and almost immediately, Elisha told the prophet Elijah that he would follow him, and abandoned everything he had, saying his farewells to his family, and left, following Elijah to serve God.

Elisha had everything he needed, family, property, a sure guarantee of a good and settled life, with land and house of his own family, and yet, he chose to abandon everything and follow the Lord in whatever designs He had for him, and he obeyed the Lord entrusting his life to His care and providence. He embraced his calling fully and later on would become a great prophet much like his mentor, Elijah, performing many great works and miracles among the people of God.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord spoke to His disciples with regards to the matter of making oaths and vows. He told them all not to go around making vows and oaths, and base those oaths on either heaven or earth, or on their own body, even the smallest part of their body. And yet, we know that vows are an integral part of our Christian faith, with religious congregations and the order of priesthood making vows and oaths before the Lord, as with many other examples.

How do we then reconcile these facts? It is actually quite simple, and first of all, we need to understand that what the Lord truly wanted us to know is not to make vows and oaths that are merely gestures and empty in meaning, as when we make oaths and vows, and do not fulfil them, as what many of the people living during the time of the Lord had done, then what they did was actually very wicked, as they dishonoured and tarnished the name and identity of what they used to base their oaths on, including, the Holy Name of God.

What the Lord wants us to know is that, we need to mean what we say, and do as what we have said that we would do. That is why He said, ‘said yes when you mean yes, and said no when you mean no.’ Otherwise, we become hypocrites and liars. That is why, we have been reminded of the example of the prophet Elisha in our first reading today. When he responded to Elijah and the Lord that he would leave everything behind, and follow the Lord, he really meant what he said, and did everything as he said.

As Christians, all of us are thus called to mean and live through what we have promised to the Lord upon our baptism and entry as members of the Church. We have promised to reject Satan and all of his false promises, and we believe in the Lord and in His teachings and truth. And this is why, we need to truly live our faith actively, commit ourselves to the path that the Lord has shown us. Today, we can also then look upon the good examples of one of our holy predecessors to help and inspire us.

St. Anthony of Padua is one of the most famous saints within our Christian faith and Church. He was a renowned priest and Franciscan friar, who dedicated much of his life to the service of the people, especially those who were sick and abandoned. He spent much time to reach out to the people and called many to repentance. St. Anthony of Padua was also deeply honoured and remembered for his deep and extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, his eloquence and great ability in teaching and preaching the faith.

Through his many writings and his many works, St. Anthony of Padua dedicated his whole life to the service of God. Many were inspired by these and many believed in God because of his efforts and hard work, much like the prophets Elijah and Elisha in the old days. And through this, we are shown what it means for us to be genuine and sincere in our faith, that we live up to our faith as Christians, and truly mean what we say and what we believe in.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to do this in our own lives? Are we able and willing to commit ourselves to the cause of the Lord and to live ever more faithfully from now on, not just in words, but also in every actions and deeds, at all times? Are we willing to follow the good examples of St. Anthony of Padua, and of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, among many other inspiring examples we know of? To each and every one of us, God has given wonderful gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities, and it is up to us whether we want to use them for the greater glory of God, or whether we want to ignore them instead.

Let us all discern carefully our path in life from now on, keeping in mind that each and every one of us have been called to follow the Lord through the various avenues by which we can contribute. Those of us who are called to be holy through raising good and faithful Christian families, let us do our best, and to those who have been called to serve the people of God as priests and religious brothers and sisters, let us all also embrace God’s calling and do as what the Lord has told us to do.

May the Lord be with us in our respective journeys of faith, and may He strengthen each and every one of us that we may truly devote ourselves, our time, effort and attention as good and faithful Christians, living a meaningful and good Christian living from now on. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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