Friday, 10 February 2023 : 5th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Scholastica (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded through the Scriptures to put our faith and trust in God and His truth, and not in the falsehoods and wickedness of Satan. God loves each and every one of us, and He has created us out of His pure and most enduring love for us. Meanwhile, Satan, as well as all of his wicked allies and forces, all were aiming only at our eventual downfall and destruction, snatching us away from God Who truly loves each and every one of us. They have always been busy at work in trying to subvert the messages of God’s truth and to tempt us so that we fall into the slippery path towards damnation and evil. We heard how Satan tricked our ancestors and made his false promises and spoke lies to tempt us to sin by disobeying God and His commandments.

In our first reading today, we heard of the continuation of the past few days’ account from the moment of the Creation of the world and the Universe, and specifically today we focused on the very moment that Satan came before Adam and Eve, tempting both of them with the very tempting allure of worldly power and glory, of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, to become even like God by knowing all things good and evil. Satan was in fact playing on our desires and wants, and in our moment of weakness, he struck where it caused us to lose our focus and faith in the Lord and His providence, that we chose to trust in the words of the great deceiver and enemy rather than to keep our faith and trust in the Lord. We chose to embrace the path of the world, the path of pride, ego and greed, and as a result, we fell into sin, just as Satan himself has fallen.

As a great and mighty, brilliant and amazing Angel and spirit that God had created, Lucifer, the original name and identity of Satan, was truly an amazing and great being, that showcased the marvels of God’s creations and wonders. However, this Angel was taken over by his vanity and pride, and began plotting rebellion and desires to take over the control over Heaven and all of God’s kingdom, to sit on God’s Throne and to rule over all. Hence, by his pride and ego, Satan had fallen, defeated and cast out of Heaven, and in his defeat, he sought to bring us down together with him and all of his fallen and defeated allies. Hence, he struck at us using the same things that had led to his downfall in the first place, the vices and wickedness of the world, the temptations to sin against God.

It is here also that we should notice the contrast and comparison we can make between our first and Gospel reading passages today. In the beginning, man and woman were made all good and perfect, and they had nothing lacking in them. They were naked and without anything to wear just like the other animals and plants of the field, and yet they were not embarrassed or ashamed. Yet, the moment they ate of the fruits of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil, they became aware of their nakedness and became embarrassed and panicked, seeking to hide themselves and their naked beings, and also hiding away from God. In the Gospel on the other hand, we heard of the Lord Jesus healing and opening the ears and loosening the tongue of a person who had been suffering from being deaf and mute.

Through this comparison, actually, we can see that because of sin, we have become ‘blinded’ and made to be unaware of God’s love and truth, as we allowed the veil and corruptions of sin to cover us and to prevent us from seeing the truth about God’s love and compassionate kindness towards each one of us. We became lacking in faith and trust in Him, and chose therefore to embrace the wickedness of our worldly desires and the many temptations all around us. Our ancestors, Adam and Eve became embarrassed and afraid of their nakedness and actions, because they were swallowed by their vanity and pride, and while they were once focused only on God, His love and kindness, they have become focused on their own selves and desires, turning inwards and away from God’s path.

Hence, the irony was that, while their eyes were indeed ‘opened’ by their newly gained knowledge about themselves, but sin had blinded them and made them to be unaware of the wickedness that they had done in disobeying God and in rebelling against Him. Yet, the Lord did not give up on us and continued to love us all most generously after all, and He gave us His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to deliver us from the hands of the devil, and from the tyranny of sin, evil and death. Through Him and His works, just as we heard in our Gospel passage today, He embodied and showed us all the perfect manifestation of God’s ever patient and enduring love for each and every one of us. He still loved us despite all of our stubborn attitudes and behaviours, because all of us are truly precious to Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard from these readings from the Sacred Scriptures and reminded of how we mankind had often disobeyed the Lord, rejected His generous mercy and love, and continued to sin against Him, can we all spend some time to discern well our path forward in life? Can we all do whatever we can to resist those many temptations all around us, the temptations to sin and to do what is abhorrent and wicked in the sight of God? God is indeed ever patient and loving, but we should never take His love for granted, ever again. If we continue to walk down this path of sin and disobedience, eventually the time will come when we have no more way out of the predicament and our fate that is destruction and eternal damnation, and at that time, no amount of regret will ever console us or give us any hope, anymore. Let us all not wait until we regret for eternity in hellfire with Satan and his fellow fallen allies, and regret our rebelliousness.

Today we also celebrate the Feast of St. Scholastica, a renowned and great woman of God, a saint of the Church, who was the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia, another holy man of God. Her examples in commitment and love for God should indeed become source of hope and inspiration to each one of us in how we ourselves should live our lives with great faith. She was remembered for her great piety and personal holiness, as well as for her dedication to prayerful life and for her discipline in obeying the Law and commandments of God, through her obedience to the Rule of St. Benedict that her brother had established as the rule and norms for his community of the faithful. Through her examples and dedications, many others had become called and responded to God’s call, encouraging many more people to commit themselves ever more to the Lord, in their lives and in leading righteous lives, just as we all should as well.

May the Lord continue to watch over us and help us to journey ever closer to Him, and by heeding the good examples set by St. Scholastica and the innumerable other saints, holy men and women of God, that we may find our way to Him and His salvation. May God continue to bless us in everything that we say and do, and may He empower all of us to live ever more faithfully in His presence, now and always, and be good role models and inspirations to many others all around us. Amen.

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