Monday, 5 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Zaccaria, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are called to trust in the Lord and His words and promises to us, as He gave us all His reassurances, as He has given to His servants and people, such as what He has told Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, as He watched over him and guided him in his journey, and as He has done to the woman who was suffering from haemorrhages and the official synagogue whose daughter has passed away.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story of Jacob, the younger son of Isaac, son of Abraham, who was at Bethel in the midst of fleeing from the wrath of his elder brother Esau. At that time, Esau who was the elder brother of Jacob was supposed to be the one to inherit Isaac’s blessings and grace as the heir of Abraham, but Jacob took those blessings and inheritance from Esau. Jacob flee away from Esau, fearing his wrath, but God was with Jacob, and He showed this reassurance as he lay sleeping in Bethel.

As we heard in our first reading today, Jacob received a vision of heaven as he lay sleeping, and God spoke to him, reassuring him that He would be with him and also with his descendants, remembering the same Covenant and promise which He had made with Abraham and Isaac. Jacob promised God that if He would guide him and help him to return to the land one day, he would raise a great altar in His honour and stay faithful to Him, he and his descendants altogether. And God did guide Jacob and eventually He brought Jacob and his family back to the land promised to him and his descendants.

In our Gospel passage today we heard of the moment when the Lord healed two people from their troubles. There was a woman who had been suffering from bleeding and haemorrhages, and had sought for treatments without any success. She sought the Lord as she believed that the Lord would be able to to help her from her troubles. She touched the Lord’s cloak and was instantly healed. The Lord also reassured the woman for her faith, and strengthened her, reassuring her that she has been healed and made whole by her trust in Him.

Then, the Lord also raised the dead daughter of the synagogue official, who initially sought Him to heal her from her sickness. When she had passed on while the Lord was delayed on the way, the Lord reassured her father, the official, that he had nothing to worry about, and despite the ridicule and laughter from all others there who laughed at the Lord’s suggestion that the girl was only sleeping. The Lord raised the girl from the dead and restored her to life, showing to all the power and love of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard these things, are we still doubting the Lord and all that He can do for our sake, on our behalf? Are we still not sure of the things that we shall receive from Him, and all that we shall gain by putting our trust and faith in Him? We are all called to reflect on this, as we ought to consider what we can do in order to commit ourselves as good and faithful Christians in life. We should not just pay Him a lip service and live in manner that is against His laws and commandments.

Today therefore, we should follow the examples set by St. Anthony Zaccaria, a holy priest and dedicated servant of God, known as one of the leaders of the Counter-Reformation efforts and as the founder of the Barnabites order, who was remembered for his commitment and service to the people, especially to those who are poor and needy in the community, devoting much of his time and effort to serve the community of the faithful and encouraging devotions to the Lord such as the increasingly popular Forty Hours Devotion, among others.

St. Anthony Zaccaria did not live long as he passed away relatively young from the ravages of a disease, but he was credited with the foundation of several religious orders, through which his works and passion were continued on by all those who shared the same calling and missionary zeal. This is why we should also follow the examples and be inspired by the faith and dedication of St. Anthony Zaccaria, in how he spent his time and effort to serve the Lord, and to glorify the Name of the Lord among His people. After all, He has loved us so very much and given so much for our sake.

Let us all therefore do our very best and commit ourselves, to serve the people of God, to be inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters, by entrusting ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord from now on. Let us all turn towards Him and be the bearers of His light and truth in our community today, that through us, many more people may come to believe in the Lord as well. May God be with us and bless us all in our every efforts and good endeavours. Amen.

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