Friday, 19 August 2022 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Eudes, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all reminded that as Christians each and every one of us are called to a new life and existence in God, one that is filled with love and commitment to God, love for our fellow brothers and sisters, through our obedience to the Law and commandments that God had revealed and passed onto us. We are also reminded that it is through God that we may receive the gift of new life, as He has shown through the vision that He gave to the prophet Ezekiel, a new life through which He reinvigorates each one of us.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, we heard of the great vision of Ezekiel who saw a great valley filled with innumerable bones, spreading throughout the entire valley, representing the bones of man, of God’s people, all those who had died and perished through sin and death. Yet, God showed Ezekiel His great might and power as He pronounced the coming of His salvation, as a premonition and prediction of what was to come, with the resurrection of the dead and the coming of His salvation in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the whole entire world. This vision of Ezekiel on the valley of bones served to reveal to man that the Lord is the Source and Master of all life.

Through the Lord, our whole beings receive life and meaning, filled with His love and grace. For without love and grace from God, then our bodies and existence would have been empty and meaningless. Without love from God, then no matter how great we are, we cannot truly live our lives as people of God, for it is through God that we have received this blessing and the opportunities we have, all the lives we have gained from God. Without God, we are just indeed like the dry bones without lives, and we are just literally dust from dust, for it is God’s Spirit that He breathed into us, that gave us life and sustenance.

When God showed Ezekiel that great vision of how all the bones were swept by the Spirit of God, and how Ezekiel saw the restoration and rejuvenation of the bones, seeing all of them gradually returning to life, reconstituting themselves part by part, we are all reminded of how God blessed us all with the new life and existence through Him, as He revealed to us His love and truth via Christ His Son, the truth He had delivered to us and the Holy Spirit Whom He imparted upon us all through the Church. A new life has dawned upon us, and all of us who received the gift of baptism have entered into this new life in Christ.

And each one of us are called to enter into this new life with commitment and faith, as we are called to listen to the Lord calling on us to follow His Law and commandments, just as we heard in our Gospel passage today. We are called to abandon our past lives filled with sin and immorality, selfishness and pride, ego and pride, arrogance and wickedness, and we are called to return to God with a heart full of love for Him, remembering how He Himself has loved us all so much from the very beginning, patiently caring for us and calling on us to return to Him, even when we have often ignored Him, rejected Him and refused His love.

The Lord Himself highlighted to us in our Gospel passage today that the Law of God revealed to us is truly a Law of Love, calling on all of us to love Him first and foremost above all else, and then to show that same love to one another as well. We are all made to be children of God through baptism, and all of us as God’s children rightfully therefore should follow the Lord’s examples in love, as He loves us all so dearly. If we do not love the same way that the Lord has done for us, then how can we call ourselves children and people of God then? The Lord has shown us the way for us to love each other, and we should really heed His examples and reflect on what we can do better in being His faithful disciples and loving children in our world today.

As we reflect on our lives and see in what way we can better reflect the love of God in our lives and actions, let us all see the examples shown by one of our holy predecessors, whose feast we are celebrating today, namely that of St. John Eudes. St. John Eudes was a French priest remembered for his role in the foundation of the Order of Our Lady of Charity, who spent a lot of time and effort in reaching out to the poor, the sick and the marginalised within his community. He saw the condition of the prostitutes who were quite common back then, who were shunned by the rest of the community, ostracised against and rejected, and he made the effort and outreach to care for them.

St John Eudes also had a particular devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which he spread and popularised among the people. He brought the knowledge of God’s love, mercy and compassion to the midst of the people, reminding all of them of God’s infinite and enduring love. Through his efforts many people came to find their way to the Lord and repented from their sinful ways. His patience, perseverance and genuine care and love for those whom he ministered to also inspired many people who came to follow his examples and were touched by God’s love and were driven to do the same in their own lives as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, can we do the same in our lives as well? Can we also devote our time, energy and attention, our efforts and actions to do the will of God in each and every opportunities in our lives, allowing God to transform us with His love, as how He rejuvenated the field of bones in the vision of Ezekiel? Let us be exemplary and be inspiration for one another in how we live our lives so that more and more people may come to know the Lord through us and may come to believe in Him as well. May God be with us always and may He bless our every good efforts, works and endeavours, in all things. Amen.

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