Wednesday, 23 September 2020 : 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 word of God in the Scriptures that we need to put our faith and trust in the Lord. And we have been called by God to be His witnesses and to reach out to others to proclaim His truth, His love and kindness to all. We are called to follow the examples of His disciples, all those whom He had called earlier on to be His witnesses.

The calling to be a disciple is not an easy one, and the Lord told them as described in our Gospel today, to bring nothing with them, no money, no food, no spare tunic and all other comforts, and to be prepared to face rejection and hardships, because there were bound to be failures and trials that they would have to endure during their journey and mission.

The Lord told them this so that they will depend not on their own strength and on the providence of the world, but rather to draw their strength from Him, from their faith in Him and their commitment to follow Him. And they faithfully followed the Lord and what He had tasked them to do. They endured all sorts of trials and difficulties in their mission, preaching the Good News of salvation and showed God’s love by their actions.

It was definitely a tough and yet fulfilling experience for many of the disciples of the Lord, the missionaries who have dedicated their lives to God. They strived for the Lord and not for themselves, and God guided them in their path, and led them on where they were to go. And more and more people came to believe in God because of them and their works, and in turn, many among these themselves became missionaries and witnesses of the faith.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, in our world today, there are many who have yet to believe in God, and there are many others who have also abandoned their faith and their God. And it is indeed up to us, as God’s followers, as Christians, to be the bearers of His truth and love in our world today, to be His witnesses and bear forth the love with which He has passed on to us, in our daily actions and living.

And how do we carry out this faithfully, brothers and sisters? Perhaps we should look up to the examples showed by the famous St. Pius of Pietrelcina, also more well-known as Padre Pio, the Franciscan priest and famous bearer of the stigmata renowned for his great piety and love for God as well as for his fellow brethren. St. Pio was a humble man who was dedicated to his calling as priest.

St. Pio had been pious since his youth and it was told that he had begun having spiritual visions and experiences since the early age, and he eventually joined the Capuchin Franciscans and became a priest. St. Pio was often sickly, but he devoted much of his time to serve the people in the community at San Giovanni Rotondo, where his great shrine is located at today. He spent many hours listening to the confessions of many who flocked to see him, day after day.

Story of miracles and wonderful supernatural experiences came to make St. Pio even more famous as time went on, and even more people flocked to see him and seek healing through him. Through well-attested testimonies, some had been freed from possession of demons when St. Pio performed exorcism on them, and others received much strength in their faith through their consultation with the saint.

St. Pio did not have it easy, as not only that he had to experience difficulties at times, having even his faculty of hearing confessions taken from him during the time when the authorities were against him for his spiritual experiences and even some thinking that he was a fraud. On top of all these, he also experienced attacks from the devil in several occasions, suffered from the pain of his stigmata.

Nonetheless, St. Pio remained faithful to his mission and committed himself wholeheartedly to what God has called him into. He remained pious and devoted, each and every day, ministering to the people and in being an exemplary person in faith. Many came to believe in God through him and many were strengthened in their faith through his works and piety. And he converted many through his efforts. Until his death, St. Pio never ceased his efforts in working and striving for the greater glory of God.

The Lord has called us all to follow in the examples of St. Pio and all the others who had given their time, effort and even lives for the greater glory of His Name and for the salvation of many souls through the Church. Are we willing and able to follow in their footsteps, brothers and sisters in Christ? Let us all be exemplary in how we live our lives with faith, so that others may be touched by our faith and believe in the Lord as well.

May the Lord help and guide us in our mission in life that each and every one of us may draw ever closer to Him, be ever more faithful in reaching out to our fellow men with faith. Let us be the courageous witnesses of our faith at all times. Amen.

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