Tuesday, 21 July 2020 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures in which we are being reminded again of God’s amazing and most generous mercy and His desire to forgive all of us our sins. He has always been loving and kind towards us, but unfortunately it has been us who have been constantly stubborn and refused to listen to Him and His truth. We have ignored His reach towards us in love, and we have ignored His compassion and chose to remain enslaved to sin.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Micah, we heard the words of the prophet Micah uttering a prayer before God, the prayer for God’s love and mercy, for Him to show kindness to His people and forgiveness to the trespasses and the mistakes that they had committed. The prophet Micah was particularly known and remembered for his words calling on the Israelites to reevaluate their lives and to be good and righteous once again in their lives.

That is why the prophet Micah reminded the people of just how kind and loving God has been, how patient He had been throughout all of their history even when they have disobeyed Him and rebelled against Him for so many times and on so many occasions. God has always been willing to be reconciled with us. And through all these, His love for us has been unwavering even to the point of giving Himself for our sake.

God has even then given Himself to us, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Master and Saviour. He, the Divine Word Incarnate, was conceived and born through His mother Mary into this world, and by that, all of us have shared in His humanity, and we became, through our baptism, His brothers and sisters, and members of His Church, the parts of the same Body of Christ, of which Christ Himself is the Head.

In our Gospel today, we are reminded of this fact further as the Lord mentioned before the disciples and the people, how all those who follow Him, obey Him and His father’s will, are His brothers and sisters, parts of His family. This reminds us again and again how all of us are truly beloved by God, for God Himself had adopted us all as His own sons and daughters through Christ, in Whose death we share the death to our past sins and in Whose resurrection, we share the new life of our resurrection into this new existence in Christ.

However, we need to remember again what the Lord said, that those who have done the will of God are the mothers, brothers and sisters of the Lord. This means that each and every one of us are truly called to walk with God, to go forth with Him in faith, to obey Him and His will, and to be genuine and truthful in how we devote ourselves and commit ourselves to the Lord, in each and every moments of our lives.

However, it is important for us to take note that, there are many obstacles and challenges we are facing in our path, as we encounter many temptations, distractions and pressures in life to disobey God, to follow and conform to the accepted ways and norms of the world, the path of sin, of selfishness and evil, those ways that lead us to seek the pleasures of life and the pursuit of material wealth and goods. It is a challenge for all of us to resist these temptations, and remain focused to walk down the right path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we can be inspired by the example and faith showed by St. Lawrence of Brindisi, an Italian priest and member of the Capuchin Franciscan religious order. St. Lawrence of Brindisi was remembered for his scholarly work and contributions to the Church that made him to be recognised as one of the Doctors of the Church. He was remembered for his brilliant talent in language learning and his role therefore in diplomacy at that time, as papal nuncio, emissary and diplomat in various occasions.

However, it was often overlooked that the brilliance of his works was also brought about by the amazing sensitivity and care that he showed to his fellow men, the sensitivity and connection which he had towards his fellow brothers and sisters, that in all of his efforts and works, he always had the Lord and his fellow men first and foremost in his minds and thoughts. His role as a diplomat helped to defuse tensions and troubles between nations and peoples.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, all of us heard all these wonderful reminders of God’s love and kindness, and how all of us have been so blessed to be considered as the Lord’s own sons and daughters. But are we willing to commit ourselves to Him as we should? To walk with Him and to devote ourselves to the path that He has shown us? Are we willing to embrace Him fully and to put Him first and foremost in our lives?

Let us all reflect on these as we continue to progress through life. Let us all seek the Lord with a renewed faith and conviction. May the Lord also be our guide and our strength throughout this difficult and challenging journey, that hopefully, we will be able to remain faithful and remain firm in our love for Him with each and every passing moments in life. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

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