Wednesday, 4 August 2021 : 18th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Vianney, Priest and Patron of All Priests (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called together to recall our Christian calling and mission, as entrusted to us by the Lord, our God, our Master and Saviour. He has called on all of us to follow Him and to be His disciples. As today we celebrate the feast of the great Patron of All Priests, namely St. John Maria Vianney, also known as St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, we are all called to reflect on our own calling and vocation in life.

In our first reading today we heard from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, every men and everyone shall be judged based on their own deeds and actions, and all of them shall be held responsible for their contributions, as well as the failure to act and contribute when they were perfectly able to do so. Those who were righteous and fell into sin would be judged by those sins and also by their righteousness, while those who sinned and then repented, would also have a chance of salvation through his repentance and in abandoning the ways of the wicked.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Who went through to many places, healing the sick and caring for those who needed Him and His guidance, as He ministered to them and showed His love to them. He sent His disciples to spread the same Good News and to do the same good works He had done, and in sending them, He has called and sent forth His servants, those who responded to His call and accept the Lord’s call, and walked in His path, doing whatever they could in order to do His will. And the Lord then spoke of how the harvest was plentiful, but there was a great lack of labourers to collect the harvest.

What does He mean by saying that, brothers and sisters in Christ? It means that while there are plenty of opportunities for evangelisation and for the salvation of souls, that is the true meaning of this ‘harvest of the Lord’, but there were few who wanted to participate in the labour and efforts to bring this about. Just as the disciples and the Apostles in the old times, we are all called to be the Lord’s disciples, the witnesses of His truth, His salvation and teachings among the nations. But many of us have not responded to His call, and even some still rejected Him and abandoned Him.

This is why today, we are all called to hearken to the Lord’s call, to be stirred and to be moved to action, that we no longer be indecisive or doubtful, or be filled with wickedness and all sorts of infidelities. Instead, we should take the first step and respond to the Lord’s call, by embracing the Lord’s truth, His teachings and commandments, to our hearts. We are all called to model ourselves after St. John Vianney, in his life, faith and dedication to the Lord, and we also pray for our priests, that they may also be like St. John Vianney in their faith and dedication as well.

St. John Vianney was the simple parish priest of the church in the village of Ars in France. He came from a very humble background, and he almost did not become a priest as his education was stunted and he encountered many challenging moments in the seminary and in his formation. He failed some of the subjects and did not excel in the academics, and yet, this did not deter him from becoming a most dedicated and committed priest and servant of God later on. St. John Vianney became an ordinary and unassuming parish priest of a small and insignificant village of Ars, and yet his life and contributions would soon have a far greater impact on so many.

St. John Vianney dedicated himself to his flock, caring for the needs, especially the spiritual needs of the people under his care. The parish church was dilapidated and many among the people were apathetic to the Church. Their faith had dwindled and many lived in wretched and wicked state. Yet, St. John Vianney never gave up, and on the contrary, he redoubled his efforts even more, as he spent a lot of time in preaching to them and in reaching out to them, and spending long hours in the confessional, where more and more people over time would come to visit him and confess their sins to him.

St. John Vianney remained humble despite his growing popularity, as thousands and more flocked daily to see him and to confess their sins to him, and to seek advice from him. He lived his life in humble dedication to the Lord, spending time to care for the needs of the people of God and to bring them ever closer to Him. Indeed, he is the role model for all of us and especially all of our priests, all those whom God had called and chosen, and who have responded to His call.

Let us all pray that each and every one of us may find our path in life, that we may dedicate ourselves ever more to the Lord in all things, and that we may be ever closer to Him, and for our priests that they may ever be inspired to follow the Lord and the examples of St. John Vianney, the great priest and servant of God. Let us all be the faithful labourers in the Lord’s field, spreading the Good News of God’s salvation to ever more people, that more and more can be saved, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

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