Wednesday, 27 January 2021 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Angela Merici, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard again about the salvation of God passed down to us through Christ, the High Priest as we continue the discourse from the Epistle to the Hebrews, reminding us yet again how the Lord had offered Himself as the perfect and worthy sacrifice for our sins. The Lord has blessed us with this wonderful grace, forgiving us our sins and leading us into assurance of eternal life through Him.

And now, all of us are called to remember that the Lord has revealed to us all these and therefore we are expected to make good use of all that He has given to us along with this revelation. To each and every one of us God has given us the gift of faith, the wonders of our various talents and abilities, the gift of hope and love as well. These are the seeds that God had sowed in us, and which is aptly summarised and shown through the parable in our Gospel today.

In that parable of the sower, we heard how the sower spread the seeds and those seeds fell on different places. Those different places in fact represent the different attitudes by which we receive and embrace the gifts of God, and how we respond to His call and His truth. Those seeds that fell by the roadside, those that fell on rocky grounds and those that grew amidst thorns and bushes were those who have not fully embraced God’s truth and love.

First of all, those seeds that fell by the wayside were seized and eaten up by the birds, which symbolised the failure of those who reject the Lord and their refusal to even listen to Him or to accept His words and teachings. As a result, those seeds of faith had no place in them, and the devil and all of his fellow forces of evil came and snatched these from them, leaving them barren and without grace.

Then, those seeds that fell on rocky grounds represent those that did receive the word of God, His truth and love, but they hardened their hearts and did not allow these to take root deep within them. Their faith were superficial and merely for appearances rather than genuinely believing in the Lord and in His truth. Thus, similarly those seeds could not grow properly and perished. They did not have the right attitude to welcome the words of the Lord into their hearts.

Those seeds that fell on among the thistles, bushes and brambles represent those who have been more willing to embrace the word of God, His truth and love, and yet they still loved the world more and sought pleasure and enjoyment from the world rather than to fully trust in the Lord. As such, they also failed to grow properly in faith and God’s grace, and they too fell just like the others. The temptations to sin are powerful, and they can bring us down if we are not careful.

Only those seeds that landed on the rich and fertile soil grew well and multiplied in produce so much that they produced thirty, sixty and hundred-fold as many in produce as compared to the original. This represents those who embraced the Lord, His truth and love, and committed themselves wholeheartedly to Him, and allowed the Lord to perform His wonders through them. And this is what we are all called to be, brothers and sisters, to be fruitful in faith and to be filled with God’s love.

Are we willing to do so brothers and sisters? Can we commit ourselves to Him and do our best to follow Him and do His will? We can follow the good examples set by St. Angela Merici, whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Angela Merici was a renowned religious and educator, who was essential in the founding of the now famous Ursulines Order. She dedicated much of her life and work to the advancement of education especially that among the girls, often neglected at the time.

St. Angela Merici spent a lot of time educating young girls and young women, and inspired many women to follow in her own footsteps, encouraging them all to follow the Lord wholeheartedly while remaining in the world, ministering to the needs of those who lacked basic education and proper guidance. As a result of her dedication and efforts, many people came to follow in her footsteps and their combined effort brought so many changes and impact to the society, a definition of what thirty, sixty and hundred-fold produce is all about.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we too can do the same with our own lives. We do not have to do great and wonderful things, but even with our small actions, we may impact the lives of others and touch them with the love and truth of God. This will in time cause a great ripple effect as those whom we touch will then continue to touch the lives of others on their own accord, spreading the impact far beyond what we ourselves can do alone.

Let us all therefore commit ourselves anew to God, and spend time to do what the Lord has called us to do. May God be with us always in this journey and may He strengthen us that we may always strive our best to bear fruits in our faith, at all times. May God bless us all and our many good endeavours. Amen.

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