Monday, 8 February 2021 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in our Scripture readings today, after four weeks of discourse from the Epistle to the Hebrews, we begin the series of readings from the Old Testament in our first reading with the account of the creation of the universe as represented in the Book of Genesis, the very first chapter of the entire Bible.

We heard how the Lord created the whole creation, the entire universe and all the things and our world as we know it, and the Lord made everything good as He had created it, willing them into being by His Word, the Word that made everything to be and created everything according to God’s will. This very same Word had become Incarnate in the flesh, as the Son of Man and Son of God, in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

In our Gospel passage today we heard how the Lord Jesus went about doing His ministry, going from places to places, and many people came to see Him and listen to Him, hearing the words of truth that He has brought into their midst. They also brought their sick with them, and many people with various conditions and sicknesses came to seek the Lord and wanted Him to heal them.

The Lord touched them and healed them, and by His power and the will of God, all of them were made whole again and were cured from their troubles. The significance of this act in relation to the first reading today is such that God Who created this world to be good and perfect, has again done everything in order to restore order and goodness to this world.

Christ has showed us the love of God manifested in Himself and His actions, in showing mercy and compassion to the needy, those rejected and abandoned, ostracised and persecuted. And truly we are all fortunate because of the love that God has lavished upon us, His great patience and the attention He has for us. He has willingly embraced us and called us all to return to Him and to accept His forgiveness so that we may not perish because of our sins, but instead may receive from Him the assurance of eternal life.

Are we grateful and appreciative of all that God has shown us, brothers and sisters in Christ? The Lord has already shown us so much love and kindness, and therefore all of us should appreciate what He has done for us, that He still loved us despite our constant refusal to listen to Him and to love Him wholeheartedly. Today, we should be inspired by the faith and examples showed by two saints, whose lives indeed shine through as great inspiration for us all, namely St. Jerome Emiliani and St. Josephine Bakhita.

St. Jerome Emiliani was remembered for his great charity and efforts, in caring for the needy, the poor and the sick, all those whom he had encountered, selflessly caring for them and inspiring many others to follow in his footsteps and examples. He built many orphanages and other places where those who need help could be taken care of and loved, just like the Lord Himself has reached out to His people and sought to help us. St. Jerome Emiliani showed us all what it means for us to be Christians, that is to be like Christ in His love.

Then, St. Josephine Bakhita was a former slave who hailed from the area now known as Sudan. As a child, she had already suffered much, captured by slavers and treated horribly as a slave passed on from master to master, one after another. When she had the fortunate chance to escape slavery through her former master, who was touched and converted by her virtuous life, St. Josephine Bakhita eventually found her way to freedom and eventually joined the religious community in which she spent the rest of her life in.

St. Josephine Bakhita never held grudges for her past slavers and masters, all those who had made her life very difficult and painful. In embracing the Christian faith and in dedicating herself completely to the Lord, St. Josephine Bakhita showed many people including us all what it means to be true disciples and followers of Christ. We are all called to love one another just as the Lord has loved us all so generously. Therefore, let us all discern what we all can do, even in little things and ways, to serve the Lord and glorify His Name by our worthy lives and actions.

May the Lord be with us always and may He guide us in this journey of life, that with the same love He has shown us, we too may love Him wholeheartedly and love our fellow brothers and sisters, especially those who are in need of love, care and attention. May God bless us all and our every good and worthy endeavours, now and always. Amen.ignored by the world, those who are in need of healing and consolation. He was making everything good and new again, and through Him, God fulfilled the promises that He had made to us mankind, that He will restore us once again and deliver us from the evil one.

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