Saturday, 27 August 2022 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, each and every one of us have been reminded that we have been called by God to be His servants, and to follow Him to whatever and wherever He sends us, in our respective and various areas of responsibilities, in whatever opportunities and moments we have been given, to be the evangelising and missionary witnesses of His truth. Each and every one of us have been given by God unique talents, abilities, opportunities and gifts, and it is really indeed up to us whether we want to embrace these gifts from God and do what God had called and commanded us to do.

In our first reading today taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful people of God in Corinth, we heard of the Apostle speaking regarding the Lord and how He called and chose those from the world that might not be in accordance to the expectations of the world. While the world often sought the rich, the powerful and the mighty, the intellectual and those who are considered worthy and good, but the Lord called on all those who are considered ordinary and plain, those whom the world does not consider to be good or worthy, to be the ones to carry out His will and to do His works. God called on all these to be the instruments of His will.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard another story, that of the parable of the silver talents, in which a master gave three of his servants several amounts of silver talents while he was going away for a while. Entrusting those silver talents to them, the master left on his matter, and the three servants acted differently on the silver talents given to them. The one who had only one silver talent chose to hide his silver talent and did nothing to it, while the ones who had received five and two silver talents respectively chose to put their silver to good use, invested in them and made good returns from them.

We heard how then the master chastised and was angry against the servant who was lazy and did not do anything to his one silver talent, while praising those servants who had done what they could to the silver entrusted to them. Through what we heard in our Gospel passage today and linking to what we have also heard in our first reading today earlier, we can see the clear parallel and comparison, between that of the silver talents and the servants with our calling and responsibilities as Christians, in serving the Lord, our Master and King. The Lord entrusted to us various talents, gifts, abilities, opportunities and others just as the master in the parable entrusted the silver talents to his three servants.

Yes, linking with what we heard earlier from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, God called us all to follow Him, and bestowed on us various gifts and talents, opportunities as each one of us have received and experienced throughout our lives. Each one of us have unique experiences and diverse gifts, all of which should be put to good use for the purpose which the Lord had given these to us. Sometimes we may not be sure what we should do with those gifts and blessings, and that is why it is important for us to discern carefully what our respective calling in life as Christians are, as we are all called to different vocations and purposes in life.

God called on us all from our diverse backgrounds, bestowing on us various things, blessings, abilities and more so that we may make good use of them, and be fruitful in our actions throughout life. As Christians, our actions, words and deeds should be life-giving and bear testimony to our Christian faith and to the Lord, our God and Saviour. But sadly, many Christians throughout the world are still lukewarm about their faith, and many did not do anything more than the minimum required obligations and responsibilities placed on us as Christians, and many more are even Christians in name and formality only.

That is why today all of us are reminded of this duty and obligation that each and every one of us as Christians have in being obedient to God and in doing His will, making good use of whatever God has given us to do His will. And unless we make the effort to do so, then we are likely to continue to ignore the Lord and His truth, and may end up falling into the slippery slope of worldliness and sins. We have to remind ourselves to be genuine in our faith and to be truly dedicated to God in all things. We can be inspired today from the story and the life of St. Monica, a great saint and woman, and the mother of St. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most renowned and famous early Church fathers, servant of God and Doctor of the Church.

Back then, St. Monica was married to a Roman pagan nobleman and had a child which was to become St. Augustine. St. Monica had to put up with her husband’s often violent temper and then her son’s immoral behaviour in his youth. St. Augustine was a wayward child and teenager, and spent his life in hedonistic pursuits and also fell into the Manichaean heretical teachings and influence. St. Monica never ceased to pray for her son and continued to patiently care for him, and after her many tearful nights being concerned and worried about him, eventually her prayers and the Lord brought St. Augustine to be converted to the true faith.

St. Monica might have just been an ordinary woman, a normal mother with all the issues that mothers often face even up to this day. Yet, in all of that ordinary living and things, we see how God turned what was ordinary into extraordinary. St. Monica lived her life with faith and righteousness, and did all that she could to obey the Lord and to care for her loved ones, and that led to the conversion of her son, who was to become one of the greatest of the Church fathers, and whose own contributions and works led to the many other good things and the salvation of so many other souls.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, after hearing all that and discerning on the words of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all called to not be afraid to be extraordinary through God, although we may seem to be ordinary in our lives and appearances. It is God in the end Who will make us worthy of Him, as He had done with St. Monica and countless other saints, holy men and women of God who have inspired us with the stories of their great faith and deeds. It was God Who made all those things possible. That is why, we should answer God’s call with faith and conviction, and do our best to invest our time and effort in doing whatever is within our means, in living our lives for the greater glory of God.

May God be with us always, and may He continue to guide us and bless us in all of our good efforts and endeavours, and may He continue to lead us down the path of righteousness, and bestow us His blessings and graces that we may make good use of them to glorify His Name all the more. Amen.

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