Tuesday, 6 July 2021 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Maria Goretti, Virgin and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are presented with the story of Jacob who encountered the Lord and struggled with Him, and survived, as he made his way back to the land of Canaan to be reunited with his family. God reassured Jacob that he would be always blessed and protected by Him, and God would never abandon him and his descendants.

We heard then in our Gospel passage today, of the moment when the Lord healed His people, healing the blind and the sick, and casting out demons from those who had been possessed. And yet, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law among the crowd were quick to criticise Him and even accused Him of colluding and working together with the prince of demons in order to deceive the people.

This is the same struggle that Jacob had as he was still doubting the Lord when he was on his way back to Canaan. As he returned to the land of Canaan, he was still worried and fearful that his elder brother Esau still held great grudge and anger against him and wanted him and his family dead. Yet, that was not to be the case. Nonetheless, God came to Jacob and made him to see reason, and turn away from his doubts and fears.

The Lord therefore did the same as He came among His people, bearing His truth and salvation, healing His people from their sickness and troubles. And yet, some among them still refused to believe in Him and hardened their hearts and minds, as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had done. Nonetheless, God never ceased in trying to reach out to even the most stubborn among His people.

And that was when He also said to His disciples, that while the harvest was plentiful, but the labourers were few. He asked them all to pray and ask the Lord, the Master of the harvest, to send labourers to work and gather the harvest that has been waiting to be harvested. And this means that, all of us as Christians, we have been given this very task to be the labourers of the vineyard and the harvest of the Lord.

He has entrusted to us the mission to evangelise the whole world, to make disciples of all the peoples of all the nations of the world, to be the witnesses of His Resurrection, the bearers of His light, hope and truth to all and every peoples. But how are we going to do this, if we ourselves have not been truly faithful to Him yet, brothers and sisters in Christ? Many of us are still stubborn much like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in refusing to commit ourselves to the Lord and believe in His truth.

That is why today all of us should be inspired by the examples set by St. Maria Goretti, the famous saint and martyr of the faith, a young girl who was martyred while she was but a young teenager, in defence of her faith and chastity. The story of St. Maria Goretti and her martyrdom was well known, how she was about to be raped by Alessandro, a neighbour’s boy, who wanted to do indecent things with her.

St. Maria Goretti refused his advances, and persisted in maintaining her purity and virginity before God, which caused the older boy to be angered and stabbed the young girl many times, and leaving her for death. Yet, this courageous and brave young girl and servant of God forgave her assailant even to her last breath and prayed for his conversion. Later on, she was to appear to her assailant, and according to accounts, led him down the path of repentance, as he turned a new leaf of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we also able to follow in the path set by St. Maria Goretti and many other of our holy predecessors? God has called us all to be holy and to be dedicated to Him, doing His works and be His faithful labourers in all things. Let us all strive to do our very best in glorifying God, in every little things we do, and commit ourselves, each and every moments of our lives, to be the bearers of God’s truth and love. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.