Friday, 23 October 2020 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John of Capestrano, Priest (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 Scripture we are reminded to live our lives as Christ-like as possible, that is heeding what St. Paul and the Lord had told us through the readings of the word of God today. In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul exhorted the faithful to live faithfully as members of the one Church of God, while the Lord in our Gospel passage today told us to be always ever ready for everything.

In our first reading today, we heard the conclusion of a relatively long series of discourses the past few weekdays from this Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, which centred a lot of attention on the divisions within the Christian community and Church, as the many among Jewish converts disagreed with the non-Jews or Gentiles who had also become converts as well.

The Jewish converts who belonged to the Pharisees group wanted to impose the strict observance of the laws of Moses and their even stricter interpretation and impose all these on all the Christian faithful. As I mentioned earlier, many of these practices and rigours would have made it very difficult and even impossible for the Gentiles to follow the Lord as that would have made them having to adjust immensely, which was not easily done or acceptable at that time.

Hence, St. Paul came to be the peacemaker and also intermediary between these two groups, and reinforced the same decision of the Apostles made earlier that the old observances of the Law should only be done in its utmost essentials, and removing the obligation to all the unnecessary excesses of the old Law and the Pharisees’ interpretation of it.

St. Paul reminded the faithful community in Ephesus that God loved all of them equally, all of mankind without any prejudice or favouritism. And what God wanted was not the excessively harsh application of the laws of Moses, but rather for His people to love Him wholeheartedly, sincerely and genuinely, and for them to show the same love to their fellow men, no longer divided by categories like whether they were Jews or Gentiles, or whether they were servants or free.

This is what the Lord has told us all that we need to be exemplary in our Christian way of life, in how we interact with one another with actions founded upon the basic Christian principles and tenets. In the Gospel passage today, the Lord told us all to be vigilant and ready, that is to live our lives in the most Christian manner from now, and not to delay any longer.

We can see this from how He rebuked the people for recognising the signs of nature, of seasons and others, and yet implying that they could not recognise the imminent coming of the kingdom of God through Christ. And in the latter part, He said that those who had not made peace ought to settle their matter beforehand, before they reached the judge, or otherwise, they would have to account for their mistakes and wrongdoing.

Therefore, it is a kind reminder from the Lord that we must be reconciled to Him, abandon our sinful ways and adapt His truth so that we will be found worthy on the day of Judgment. And we should do our best to live up our lives to the fullest, as Christians, dedicating ourselves to walk in God’s path, in being virtuous and just. We have to be the shining beacons of our Christian faith and calling, and we cannot be ignorant or lukewarm about these.

How do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? We should seek inspiration from our holy predecessors, the saints, and kkwtoday, in particular we should look upon the examples of St. John of Capestrano, the Franciscan priest who was once the governor of Perugia and a diplomat, who received a calling to religious life, when he received a vision of St. Francis of Assisi which inspired him to follow his calling as a Franciscan, and devoted himself from thereafter to the mission of the Church.

St. John of Capestrano was a renowned reformer of the Church, who was involved in the purification of the Church and in the reforms of many of its practices, helping the Church and the faithful to rediscover their true faith. Many people were helped by his efforts, and in his role as a frequent papal diplomat and emissary, St. John of Capestrano also helped to reconcile the opposing and conflicting factions in the Church. In the end, he was also a soldier who was involved in the defence of Christendom, fighting against the enemies of the faithful with great courage and devotion.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all discern how each and every one of us can be more dedicated to the Lord, in each and every moments of our lives, following the examples of St. John of Capestrano and other multitudes of saints. May the Lord be with us and may He continue to guide us in our journey of life, that we may always ever walk with Him in His grace and love, at all times. Amen.

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