Monday, 4 July 2022 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we recall the words of the Lord, we are reminded to turn wholeheartedly towards God and to remember just how much He has loved us, so graciously and wonderfully, and how through Him we shall receive the assurance of eternal life and true joy in His presence. The Lord has always been kind and loving towards us, and He has always reached out to us with love and patience, embracing us whenever we return to Him and wanting to be reconciled to Him. That is just how much God cares for us, when many of us simply often ignored Him and disregarded His love.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Hosea, we heard the Lord speaking to His people in the northern kingdom of Israel, who during the ministry of Hosea was on the last days of its existence, threatened from all sides by its neighbours, especially by the mighty Assyrians, who conquered many of the nations including Israel itself. Eventually the state of Israel itself was subjugated, crushed and utterly destroyed by the Assyrians, who destroyed their capital of Samaria and their other cities, carrying off their people into exile far away from their homeland. All these because they trusted more in themselves and in their pagan gods rather than in God.

In the past week, if we have been following the daily readings, we heard the readings from the prophet Amos, another prophet God sent to the land of Israel somewhat earlier than Hosea, telling them of this impending and unavoidable fate of destruction, because of their continued stubbornness and wickedness, and their refusal to repent their sinful ways. The Lord told them all that they would experience because of their pride, their lack of faith and evils, but at the same time, He also wanted to tell them that the path to His forgiveness, mercy and grace still remained open. He did not despise them but rather, He despised their sins and wicked way of life.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the two great miracles that the Lord performed for those who sought His help, in which one of them was a woman who had long suffered from a bleeding problem, while the other was the daughter of a synagogue official who had become sick and eventually died while the Lord was still on His way to her house. In both cases, the woman with the bleeding issue and the synagogue official himself were seeking for the Lord, wanting for healing to come from God, because they truly believed in Him. They had their own respective faith in the Lord and turned towards Him in their hour of need.

The woman had suffered from the bleeding which according to the Law would have made her unclean and unworthy of God, and as per the Jewish customs and laws, she could not have taken part in the worship and prayers at the Temple because of her unclean nature. She tried to approach the Lord discreetly because her condition understandably most likely had caused her to be somewhat a pariah or outcast within the community, and she did not want to draw attention to herself, or to the Lord. And it was by her faith that she was healed, because she sought the Lord and entrusted herself to Him, and the Lord made known her faith to everyone, and how her faith in Him saved her. This reminds us that no sinner is beyond redemption, and we should not be ashamed to seek for the Lord.

Meanwhile, what we heard from the account of the healing and resurrection of the dead daughter of the synagogue official reminded us all that there is nothing that the Lord cannot do for us, for He is the Master of all, even over live and death. Through Him and His will alone we exist, and through His love and grace we receive the gift of eternal life and the assurance of salvation and true joy, which the Lord gave to all those who are faithful to Him. The Lord has shown His compassion and kindness to those who entrust themselves to Him, and not even death could stop Him. And through His raising of the dead daughter of the synagogue official, He showed us all that there is nothing for us to worry or be afraid about, as His followers and as we embark on His path.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called and reminded of the love and mercy of God, which He showed generously to us even though we are sinners. Each one of us are reminded of this and therefore are called to be filled with the same love that He has for us, that we may love Him with the same fervour and devotion. Today we should hence be inspired by the examples set by St. Elizabeth of Portugal whose feast we celebrate this day. St. Elizabeth of Portugal was the Queen of Portugal who although a member of the royal family, was renowned for her great piety and exemplary actions throughout her life in loving the poor and the needy all around her.

St. Elizabeth of Portugal often spent a lot of effort in caring for the need of her people, and in providing for the works of the Church, reaching out to many parties throughout her realm, renowned for her great charity and kindness. And after her husband’s death, she retired to a monastery, committing the rest of her life to a life of prayer and sanctity. St. Elizabeth of Portugal, her righteous and faithful life, her dedication to God and her obedience to Him should be inspirations and examples for all of us faithful people of God ought to follow and emulate in our own lives, in each and every moments of our present existence.

Let us all hence renew our commitment and devotion to God, so that we may draw ever closer to Him. Let us glorify Him from now on through our actions and deeds, our every words and works, and that through us more and more may come to believe in God as well and be saved. May all of us grow ever more in our faith and trust more in the Lord with each and every passing days. Amen.

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