Wednesday, 28 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are presented with the story of the works of the Apostles and the followers of the Lord who went about from places to places, speaking about God and His truth, and calling on many to embrace the Christian faith. And the Lord reminded all of us through today’s Gospel passage that He will always be with us, and He will never abandon us, and that we are all proclaiming the same truth which He Himself has brought into this world, into our midst.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Acts of the Apostles on the ministry of the Apostles and the disciples who went to many parts of the regions of the Eastern Mediterranean while preaching the Good News and establishing the foundation of the Church and the Christian communities in those locations. And the Lord told His Apostles and disciples to send St. Paul and St. Barnabas to the Gentiles and minister to them, which marked the beginning of their ministry among the Gentiles and especially for St. Paul, his many decades of work in reaching out to them.

The Apostles prayed over the two and asked the Lord to guide them in their journey and in their efforts, and they were sent with much encouragement, to bring hope and light to those who have not yet known the Lord and are still living in the darkness. The Lord has sent His disciples to reveal more of His truth to all those who still have not heard of Him yet, and through these faithful disciples He is calling on all of them to follow Him.

He calls on everyone to follow Him, and He has done everything that we may find our way to Him. Yet, there were still many who refused to believe in Him and persecuted His disciples and followers. Yet, He still sent more and more people to turn even these stubborn and hard-hearted people, persuading them and asking them to listen to reason and to open their hearts and minds, listening to the truth that He has brought to them. His love for each and every one of us is the reason why He kept on doing that, again and again.

And therefore we are all called today to reflect firstly on ourselves and our own lives. Have we been stubborn in refusing to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, in continuing to act in ways that are contrary to the way of the Lord, in disobeying Him and being stubborn in following our own desires and the path of worldliness and sin? There are many who are just Christians in name only, and in their hearts and minds, God is not truly present, and He is also not the centre and focus.

Today all of us are therefore reminded to be truly faithful to God, and we are all called to give our whole heart and mind to Him, just as the Apostles and the countless disciples and followers of the Lord had done. In all that they had done, they are our wonderful sources of inspiration, in living up to their faith and in following what the Lord had called them to do, dedicating themselves wholeheartedly to the missions entrusted to them. The Lord called them and they heard Him, and they responded to that call with great dedication and faith.

Today, we are called to follow the examples of St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, whose feast day we are celebrating today. St. Peter Chanel was a renowned French priest and missionary, who always had great zeal for missionary work and outreach, and as he joined the congregation dedicated for missionary work in both local and far flung foreign areas. In this regard, St. Peter Chanel was eventually sent to French Polynesia, where he ministered to the people there and to all the others that he visited on his way to the place of his ministry.

In Futuna, where he ministered to the locals, he was initially welcomed by the local king and tribe, but in time, as more and more of the locals were converted, the king and his nobles began to fear that Christianity and Christian missionaries would become great threat to their own influence and power, especially the king as the high priest and the leader of the pagan faith of the locals. Hence, eventually, when St. Peter Chanel managed to persuade even the king’s son to be baptised, the king arranged for his champion to kill St. Peter Chanel, who died a martyr defending his faith.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie de Montfort was a renowned priest who is remembered well for his intense Marian devotion and also great contributions to the field of Mariology. He is remembered for his courageous efforts in evangelisation and preaching in various places where he helped many people to discover the Lord and renew their faith in Him, while encouraging the devotion to His Blessed Mother Mary, and calling on many people to repent and turn away from their sins. Thanks to his dedication, many people, even after his passing, have been inspired by him and chose to follow the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore commit ourselves to the Lord following the good examples of these two saints, and that of the Apostles, especially St. Paul and St. Barnabas, that each and every one of us, in our own ways, and in each and every of our own capacities and abilities, we may glorify the Lord by our lives, and may show great and wonderful testimony of our faith through our actions, words and deeds in life. May all of us be blessed and strengthened by the Lord in all of our efforts and good works, now and always. Amen.

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