Wednesday, 14 July 2021 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Camillus de Lellis, 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 Lord speaking to us about the revelations of God’s truth and love for His people which He has done throughout history at the time of the Old Testament and then in the New Testament. In our first reading we heard about how Moses was called by the Lord at Mount Horeb through the famous miraculous burning bush, while in our Gospel passage today we heard the Lord Jesus, Who as the Saviour of the world and the Son of God, revealed Himself and His Father to all the people.

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus we heard how Moses was called by God to be the leader of His people, at Mount Horeb in the midst of shepherding his flock in the land of the Midianites. Moses was on the run from the land of Egypt after having killed an Egyptian in defending his fellow Israelite. Back then, he had been adopted by the daughter of the Pharaoh after having been rescued from the River Nile. That incident led Moses to choose to hide in exile away from Egypt, in the land of the Midians, and thereafter married his wife and had a child.

It seemed that Moses would be forever separated from the rest of his people, in exile in Midian. But God had a different plan for him, as He called Moses to follow Him and to do His will, as he was about to be sent back to Egypt, in order to save His whole people, the whole nation of the Israelites, all the hundreds of thousands of them from their enslavement in Egypt. God never forgot about them, and He called Moses back from among the Midians that He might rescue the whole multitude of the people of Israel from their sufferings.

God therefore revealed Himself before Moses at the top of Mount Horeb in the vision of the burning bush, as Moses saw in wonder how a bush was burning with fire and yet, at the same time, was not harmed by the fire. God spoke to Moses from within the flame, and revealed to him all that He would do for the sake of His people, and how Moses would be His instrument in the deliverance of all Israel. Moses was unsure of this, but God reassured him and instructed him on what to be done as he was to go to Egypt and lead God’s people out of their slavery.

In that first reading passage, we heard God’s revelation of His salvation for His people, and then, in the similar way, God revealed His salvation to everyone through none other than Jesus Christ, Saviour of the whole world and Son of God, born into this world to be its Saviour and Light, Hope and Strength. Christ has come into this world to save us all mankind, just as Moses had come into Egypt to save the people of Israel. Hence, we can see how the two stories are related to each other, and how God made known to us His wonders.

In that Gospel passage we heard today, we the Lord revealed Himself before His disciples, more and more of the truth about Himself, Who He was and what He had been sent into the world for. Christ indeed is the Son of God, sent into the world by the will of God the Father, that through Him all the whole world, all of mankind may be saved and delivered from their slavery. What slavery is this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the slavery to sin. Just as the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians, sin has enslaved us all, every single one of us who have disobeyed God and His will, and therefore sinned against Him.

Hence, we really should be thankful that God has loved us so wonderfully and so generously, that He has ever patiently reached out to us and cared for us, even as we still stubbornly sinned against Him, refusing to listen to Him and time again and again, falling into the many temptations in life. This is why we must be grateful of God’s ever generous love, and we must never take Him for granted. If not for God’s mercy, compassion and love, the Israelites would have suffered much more and much longer at the hands of the Egyptians, and we too would have suffered more and will suffer more in the hands of sin and death.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, whose life and examples can serve as good inspiration for us to follow on how we can be good servants and followers of the Lord. St. Camillus de Lellis was born into a relatively broken family and grew up much neglected due to his father’s relatively frequent absence and his aged mother not being able to control his temper. Joining the military at a young age, he then gave in to gambling and other vices, leading a terrible life after he left the army, still relatively young at the time.

Yet, his encounter with friars at the Capuchin friary he was working in as labourer converted St. Camillus de Lellis, as he began to embrace God’s calling earnestly and turned away from the sinful and wicked ways with which he had lived his life previously. Eventually, he endeavoured to join the priesthood after encountering several obstacles, and gave himself to the care and the service of the poor, dedicating himself to his task, and also establishing the order known as the Order of Clerks Regular, Ministers of the Infirm, also better known after him as their founder, as the Camilians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can see here the example of how one’s openness to allow God to enter his life caused a great conversion and change, as what had happened to St. Camillus de Lellis showed us. And through that change, St. Camillus de Lellis had not only changed himself for the better, but also impacted many others, to whom the saint and others he helped to inspire, had pledged to serve, care and show God’s love and compassion on, especially the sick and the dying.

Are we also able to commit ourselves in the same way, brothers and sisters in Christ? We are all called therefore to turn towards the Lord with total faith and conviction, to be free from the chains of slavery of sin, by following Christ, our Lord, and what He has told us about His truth. Let us allow the Lord to lead us out from the slavery of sin into the freedom of eternal life with God, and remain faithful to the Lord to the end. May God also be with us all the time, throughout this journey in life, now and always. Amen.

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