Friday, 30 April 2021 : 4th Week of Easter, Memorial of Pope St. Pius V, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we continue to hear the testimony of faith that St. Paul spoke of before the assembled Jews in the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia. St. Paul spoke bravely and courageously about the Lord and all that He had done throughout history for His beloved ones, and today we focused on all that He had done for the sake of all through Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, Who had been crucified and rejected, so that through His suffering and death, all may have eternal life.

St. Paul trusted in the Lord and allowed Him to lead him wherever he was to go, and he became His instrument in revealing His truth to the people, even when he might be rejected and opposed, made to suffer or endure humiliation. He spoke courageously of what his faith had led him to, the faith in the one and same Messiah, Who had willingly surrendered His life, suffered and died so that all who believed in Him may gain the assurance of life and eternal glory, life everlasting with Him in heaven.

St. Paul certainly did not have it easy, as in this case and many others, his words and truth made some among the Jewish people to be uneasy, and feared his charisma and efforts, and made trouble for him, rejecting and expelling him from their places and cities. The same also happened to him as he ventured from places to places preaching the Good News of God. He had successes in many places, and many were turned to God and followed Him, but there were even more occasions when the people, Jews and Gentiles alike, refused to listen to him and rejected him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us? As Christians, have we been living our lives in the most Christian manner, so that in everything we say and do, in all of our actions, we may inspire others to do the same and to follow God wholeheartedly as well. And this is our Christian calling and mission which God has entrusted to each and every one of us from the moment that we accepted Him as Our Lord and Saviour at baptism. We must not forget that He has sent forth all of His disciples to the nations, to deliver to them the Good News and to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations.

Hence, how can we then persuade and convince others to believe in God, Our Lord and Saviour, if we ourselves have not been sincere in our own faith and in how we ourselves lived our life? We have to show our faith by our good examples, and this does not have to be great or major, but rather, we begin from small and little things, the little things we do in life, beginning from our own lives, from our own families and within our own groups and communities, that our every words, actions and deeds are truly filled with genuine faith in God.

That is why today, we should look up to the saint whose feast we are celebrating, namely Pope St. Pius V, as the great and inspirational role model who can help us to discern our own way of living our faith, and hopefully that we will be ever more courageous and willing to embrace fully our Christian calling and vocation in life. Pope St. Pius V was the great leader of the Universal Church at a very crucial moment in the history of the Church, when both the Church and the faithful were under great threat both from the outside and from within.

At that time, the whole Christendom was greatly threatened by the might and the power of the expansionist Ottoman Empire, which subjugated many nations and peoples under their rule, and they had proven their desire and willingness to expand it even further. And at the same time, the Church and the Christian community had been bitterly divided, not only from the divisions between the Western and Eastern halves of Christendom, but also the great divisions brought by the Protestant reformation.

As such, the Church had convened the Ecumenical Council of Trent that resolved to address the many underlying issues facing the Church at the time, and resolved to purify the Church as well as to rejuvenate the Christian faith, as best as possible. The Church leaders pressed on for crucial reforms, which were eventually finalised and implemented, by none other than Pope St. Pius V, whose reign as the Vicar of Christ and successor of St. Peter came not long after the conclusion of the Council of Trent.

Pope St. Pius V was vigorous in implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent, in his efforts to purify the faith and Christendom, in trying to call more and more of those who had turned their back and lapsed from the true faith to return to the embrace of the Holy Mother Church, and he also helped to organise the great Crusade in defence of Christendom, against the expansion efforts of the Ottoman Empire. And for this he was renowned for two great contributions.

First was his promulgation of the venerable Mass of Pope St. Pius V, which is still used to this day as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the standardisation of the celebration of the Holy Mass that removed the excesses and aberrations found in the earlier history of the Church, while at the same time also rejuvenated the Church and the faithful. Then, he was also remembered as the chief architect in the great alliance assembled in the great victory of the forces of Christendom against the Ottoman navy in the Battle of Lepanto, marking the turning point in the fate of Christendom.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Pius V dedicated his life and effort to serve the Church and all the faithful people of God, and therefore, we should be inspired to follow in his footsteps, in loving God and in dedicating ourselves to serve Him and to glorify Him through our lives. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord in a renewed conviction and desire to serve Him ever more faithfully with each and every passing moments?

Let us all discern carefully our actions and path in life, so that moving forward, we may be ever inspired by the examples of the faithful servants of God, St. Paul the Apostle and Pope St. Pius V. Let us all give ourselves to the Lord and let us devote our time, effort and attention to Him from now on, that we may be His faithful witnesses through which more and more may come to know and believe in the Lord just like us, and therefore be assured of eternal life as well. May God be our guide and may He strengthen us all with the resolve to love and serve Him well. Amen.

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