Wednesday, 13 July 2022 : 15th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Henry (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all presented with the works of the Lord as He revealed to us His saving grace. He has given His kindness and love to His people and give justice to them. To those who obey Him and His Laws, He gives blessings and graces, protection and help, while those who haughtily and proudly disobeyed Him, remaining in their way and state of sin, were punished and faced consequences corresponding to their sins and faults, as the Scriptures today had presented to us.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard of the words of the Lord as delivered through Isaiah to the people of God in the kingdom of Judah, speaking about the proud and arrogant king of Assyria, whom God would put in his place, humiliate and remind that all of his glory and power were nothing without God’s approval and help. In order to understand the significance of these words and the passage, we have to know the circumstances during that time, when the king of Assyria came to destroy many nations and conquered many countries, including the wicked people of the kingdoms of Israel and Aram in Syria.

Back then, the king of Assyria became proud and arrogant, and thinking that he had all the power and glory in the world, that he went up against the faithful people of God in Judah and Jerusalem. King Sennacherib of Assyria brought his whole massive army to besiege Jerusalem and conquer Judah. Not only that but Sennacherib also boasted before the whole entire people of Jerusalem and Judah, their king Hezekiah, the prophet Isaiah and all assembled that he had conquered many nations and peoples, and how all of their gods and idols could not protect them against his armies, and therefore, God would not have been able to protect Judah and Jerusalem too.

Sennacherib forgot that whatever he had done, all had been made available by God, and in his moment of folly, pride and arrogance, he blasphemed against God and spoke proudly in great sin against Him. Hence, the Lord through His prophet Isaiah spoke to His people offering reassurance for them that He would be with them, and the Assyrians and their king would be humbled and defeated. The blasphemy and wickedness that king Sennacherib had publicly uttered before the Lord and all the assembled people would become his undoing, as later in the history of this Assyrian invasion, it was told that the entire Assyrian forces were wiped out by the power of God.

These are all reminders for all of us that we should not go up against God or in defying Him by following our own ways and paths. Each and every one of us should follow the truth and the path that Christ Himself, the Son of God, has shown us all through His disciples and His Church. In our Gospel passage today, that was what we heard as the Lord Jesus spoke of Himself having come from the Father, revealing to all of us mankind the truth that God has willingly shared with us, so that through that same truth, all of us may find the path and the way to eternal life and true joy in God.

Today, all of us as Christians are challenged to live our lives more worthily and faithfully as Christians, in which we can become inspiration and role model for each other. Today we have the great example of St. Henry, who was not only the Holy Roman Emperor and hence the chief secular authority throughout Christendom, but he was also a devout man and a man of God who lived his life to the best of his ability as a Christian, in helping the efforts and the works of the Church, and in his good governance of those whom the Lord had entrusted to him as the leader and guide.

St. Henry dedicated his rule to be an exemplary ruler and father figure to his people, caring for their needs and also extensively supported the works and efforts of the Church, through his various donations and support, in advancing the cause of the Lord and the Christian truths and teachings over the opposition of the often corrupt nobles and secular leaders at the time. St. Henry and his equally pious wife, who was also later canonised as St. Cunigunde of Luxembourg, were both committed Christians who served the Lord and followed Him wholeheartedly, and did their best to fulfil their Christian mission and calling in life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us then? Are we also willing to commit and dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the same manner? By reminding ourselves of what had happened to the king of Assyria and his forces, all of us must remind ourselves not to be easily swayed and tempted by worldly desires, pursuits and attachments, and instead, strive to do our best to glorify God by our lives. Let us all be committed to true Christian discipleship and path from now on, in each and every moments of our lives. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.