Monday, 31 January 2022 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Bosco, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are all reminded of the Lord’s providence for His people, to His faithful ones, how He has always watched over those who are faithful to Him, provided for them and how He will not abandon them in their time of greatest need. The Lord will reach out to us and lead us to the ultimate victory through Him.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Samuel, we heard how Absalom, the son of David, rebelled against his own father and attempted to seize his kingdom for himself. Absalom was a cunning and proud man, as he likely saw himself as the one who was to succeed his father as King of Israel, and he began plotting his rise to power. He managed to gain significant support and eventually began his rebellion, forcing his father, David, the rightful king to flee Jerusalem with some of his trusted advisors and servants.

That time, we heard of the moment when David was at his lowest, beset by all the troubles caused by Absalom and his rebellion, and many of his advisors and servants abandoning him, and even as we heard, a man named Shimei from Saul’s clan used the opportunity to curse David and speak all sorts of ill things and misfortunes to him, thinking that the reign of David, the one who took over the throne of Israel from the family of Saul finally encountered his end. Nonetheless, as we heard, David remained faithful to God to the very end.

David trusted in the Lord and when one of his men, Abishai wanted to attack Shimei, he forbid Abishai from doing so, and he entrusted his fate completely to the Lord. David did not waver in his commitment and dedication to the Lord, and despite the challenges and hardships that he had to endure, in the end, he remained true and committed to God. King David believed that there is nothing impossible for God, and as long as he is faithful to the Lord, he has nothing to fear about. God shall be by his side just as He had done for all his life until that time.

In our Gospel passage today we heard of the account of the moment when the Lord Jesus cast our many evil spirits and demons from a possessed man in the wilderness in the region of the Gerasenes, which was the region beyond the Jordan River on the other side from Jerusalem and Judea. That man had suffered for a long time and had been ostracised from the community due to his affliction and condition, and he had wandered off in the wilderness until that time when the Lord Jesus were passing by with His disciples.

The evil spirits, aptly named Legion for their great numbers, who had tormented the man, recognised the Lord and asked Him what He wanted to do with them. Certainly the Lord would not have let those wicked spirits have their way and torment the man any longer. He ordered them all to go out from the man and freed him from their dominion and power. The man was healed and was completely restored, and while the local populace was terrified of what they had just witnessed and what happened, the man believed in God and wanted to follow Him. The Lord told the man to go back to his community and tell everyone all that he had experienced.

Today, as we listened to these words of the Scripture we are all reminded how God has always provided for us in our time and hour of need, and we have to believe in Him wholeheartedly, if we are to follow Him and remain faithful to Him. In Him alone is our true hope and happiness, and if we can trust Him this way, then we will be able to weather through any difficulties, trials and challenges that may come throughout our lives. We should not allow fear and doubt to come in between us and God, and we should believe in Him the way that King David had done, and knowing how He cared for each one of us as He had done with the possessed man.

Today, we all celebrate the feast of St. John Bosco, one of the famous saints of the Church known and remembered for his works and dedication to youths. Having experienced a difficult youth time himself, and how having inadequate education due to the poverty of his family, he was inspired to be a priest and from then on, to reach out to struggling juveniles and youths, establishing the Oratory in Turin, catering for the needs of those who need guidance and help, caring for the needs of orphans and those who were struggling with life.

He was committed to his work and made great impacts despite the challenges and opposition that he often had to face in his ministry, as there were members of both laity and the clergy opposed to his efforts due to various reasons. But St. John Bosco persevered nonetheless, gathering many others who shared his ideals and desire to serve the people of God, eventually leading to the foundation of the Order of the Salesians of Don Bosco, one of the great religious orders lasting till this very day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all turn towards the Lord with faith and commit ourselves thoroughly to His cause from now on. Let us be inspired by the faith shown by our holy predecessors, King David, St. John Bosco and innumerable other holy men and women, all of our role models in faith. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey through life, and may He empower us to live ever more faithfully in His embrace and love. Amen.

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