Tuesday, 25 May 2021 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bede the Venerable, Priest and Doctor of the Church, Pope St. Gregory VII, Pope, and St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests, Popes and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are called to remember the commandments and the Law of the Lord, which we should follow and obey wholeheartedly, with all of our hearts and with all of our might. God has given us all His Law to help and guide us in our journey, that we may find our way amidst the numerous temptations and obstacles in our path. We are reminded to keep the commandments of the Lord and to commit ourselves sincerely through real and genuine actions.

In our first reading today we heard from the Book of the prophet Sirach, the exhortation from the Lord with regards to His commandments, as He told the people through the prophet Sirach to give generously to the Lord, offering themselves, whatever they can offer and dedicate to Him. This is because all those who trust in the Lord and all who walk in His path will never be disappointed for He is always ever faithful, and He will always be by the side of those who kept themselves faithful and committed to Him.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples, reassuring them that all those who have given themselves, committed their time and effort, and made sacrifices for the sake of the Lord, they would not be disappointed and left without providence and help. Their reward in the end will be truly great, as God remembers those who love Him and who give themselves for His cause. The Lord will guide them and remain with them throughout their journey no matter how tough it may be.

That is why through what we have heard in our Scripture readings today, as Christians we are all called to put our trust in the Lord and commit ourselves to Him, just as the disciples had done, and how the early Church Christians, so many saints and martyrs had done. And today in particular, we do not just have one, but three great saints, our holy predecessors whom we celebrate their feast day, whose life and devotion to the Lord are indeed great inspiration for us to live as true Christians following the will of God.

First of all, St. Bede the Venerable is a renowned English saint and a famous Benedictine monk remembered well for his many literary works in various areas and fields, and in particular, his writings for the Christian faith and theology were spectacular and influenced many people and remained well read and referenced on for long after his time. St. Bede the Venerable also lived a life of humble simplicity and prayer, dedicating his whole time and efforts completely to the Lord. Through his writings, he inspired many more people to come to know the Lord, revealing His truth to them.

And then, Pope St. Gregory VII was the leader of the Universal Church and Supreme Pontiff at a time of great change and transformation in the Church and the secular community, remembered especially for his confrontation against the powerful Holy Roman Emperor during the Investiture Controversy. The Pope has always been the Vicar of Christ on earth, as the one appointed in the shoes of St. Peter to be the sole representative of the Lord, and therefore has supreme authority over all matters pertaining to the Church and faith, over all the spiritual matters of all Christians.

But the Holy Roman Emperor as the successor of the Roman Emperors claimed authority and control over the appointment and management of bishops and other spiritual matters of his own subjects. Emperor Henry IV at that time refused to budge to the Pope’s authority to appoint bishops and over other spiritual matters of the Church. This resulted in drawn out struggle, and although the Emperor used all of his means to claim over the Pope’s authority, Pope St. Gregory VII did not give in to those demands and efforts. He remained firm in devoting his efforts for the good of the Church despite all the obstacles.

Lastly, St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi was a renowned religious Carmelite nun and mystic who was devoted to the Lord, filled with prayer and commitment to God, devoting her whole time and effort in prayer and in contemplation, and she received visions of the Lord that became inspiration for others, including due to her piety and commitment through prayer. Many people venerate her for her deep devotion and piety, and great humility, as she was known to wear a crown of thorns regularly as self-mortification and as a sign of her faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard the story of the faith of these saints, and reminded of the Lord’s promises and reassurance in our Scripture readings today, are we all willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord in the same manner? We are all called to spend our time and efforts to serve the Lord, and to follow Him wholeheartedly. Let us all therefore serve the Lord and follow Him from now on with all of our heart and with all of our might. Let us all walk in the path of the Lord courageously and confidently from now on.

May the Lord be with us all and may He give us the strength and courage to walk in His path, at all times. May God bless us and our every good efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

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