Thursday, 4 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we recall what we have just heard in the Sacred Scriptures, we are all reminded of God’s ever generous love and mercy for each and every one of us. God has desired to be reconciled with us and He wants to forgive us our sins, making us sharers in His glorious promise and inheritance because that was what He had intended for us in the very beginning. God created us all out of love and wanted us to share in His love.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful community in Rome, we heard the Apostle reminding them all of the fact that all of them, all mankind exists for the Lord and the Lord is the Master of all, and therefore is the One holding the control over all things that are in our lives, and whatever we say and do, we ought to do them while knowing this fact, which means that we must not forget that the Lord will hold us accountable over all of our actions, words and deeds.

St. Paul made this exhortation to the people in order to address the issue that often arose within the Church, both at that time and even to this very day, of how we often criticise and gossip against one another, or comparing among ourselves who are better and holier, while despising and condemning others whom we look down upon. In this way, we end up causing divisions and unhappiness within the Church, causing us to be set against our fellow brothers and sisters, and we are not doing what the Lord wanted us to do, that is to love one another just as He has loved each and every one of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and the people using a parable, that is the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In that parable, the Lord mentioned how a man who had a hundred sheep and lost one of those sheep would do everything he could to find that one lost sheep, going around and doing everything in order to find and be reunited with that lost sheep. Once he had found that lost sheep, he would rejoice for the lost sheep even greater than for the other sheep that were not lost. The same logic was applied with the lost coin as well.

The Lord used this parable to counter the argument of the Pharisees and rebuking them for their self-righteous and elitist attitude in looking down on all those whom they deemed to be less worthy than they were. Those Pharisees frowned because they saw the Lord speaking and having a meal with tax collectors and all those whom they deemed to be sinners. To those Pharisees, the tax collectors, as were prostitutes and others who were deemed unclean and unworthy, as sinners and incapable of being saved.

The Lord proved them wrong and rebuked them for their attitude and short-sightedness, as well as for their lack of love, care and concern for their fellow brethren. They were entrusted with the guardianship and guidance for the people, and yet, they sought mostly their own justification and salvation over that of others, and even made it difficult for many others to come to the Lord by making the Law so strict and oppressive that it turned away many that could have been saved in the Lord.

This is what each and every one of us as Christians are called to distance ourselves from, from the attitude of excesses of pride and haughtiness, of arrogance and selfishness. We are instead called to be loving and selfless in our actions and deeds, to be caring towards one another and to show love and mercy to our fellow brothers and sisters. And as Christians we are all called to reflect the love of God in our every actions and to proclaim His truth through our every deeds and words. We cannot do so unless we love one another and consider each other fellow brethren in the same Lord.

Today, we should look upon the good examples set by one of our holy predecessors, whose feast we are celebrating, namely that of St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles Borromeo was the famous Archbishop of Milan who was a faithful servant of God and one of the courageous leaders of Counter-Reformation. St. Charles Borromeo was remembered for his great piety and dedication to the Lord. St. Charles Borromeo spent a lot of effort to reform the Church and to lead his flock down the right path, leading by example in his many years as shepherd of the faithful.

St. Charles Borromeo was involved in many aspects of the Church, its leadership and pastoral engagements, spending a lot of time and effort to restructure and to purify the Church and its institutions from creeping corruptions from worldly forces and influences. He reinvigorated the faithful in all of his diocese and in other parts of Christendom through his contributions, and together with other leaders of Counter-Reformation was crucial in preventing many others from falling to the falsehoods of heresies and other wrong teachings.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the great examples set by St. Charles Borromeo should inspire each and every one of us to follow the Lord more courageously, and we should spend more effort and time to seek the Lord more wholeheartedly, and to dedicate our entire lives to serve the Lord and to love our fellow brothers and sisters, in each and every moments and in every opportunities we are given. May the Lord continue to guide us and help us in our journey, and strengthen us in faith. Amen.

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