Tuesday, 14 February 2023 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cyril, Monk and St. Methodius, Bishop, Patron Saints of Europe (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we are all reminded both of the dangers and the threats of sin and evil present all around us, and at the same time we are also reassured through what we have heard in the Scripture passages today, of the guidance, help and providence which God has given us, just as the examples highlighted of the past, our predecessors should inspire and strengthen our faith and resolve to follow the Lord wholeheartedly and faithfully, entrusting ourselves completely and wholeheartedly to the cause of the Lord, and to be ever righteous, good and worthy of Him in all of our lives.

In our first reading today, we heard of the well-known story of the time when God sent a Great Flood to wipe out almost the entire race of mankind and other living things, due to the great wickedness of many of them who refused to believe in Him, and their continued disobedience and rebellion against the Lord and His Law. All of these great wickedness had come into the world due to the disobedience of man against God’s will and commandments, and then as we have just heard earlier in yesterday’s readings, on the murder of Abel by Cain, his own brother, the temptations of pride, ego, worldly sins and wickedness, all of these had led mankind further and further down the path towards evil and damnation.

As we heard in that passage from the Book of Genesis today, God was determined to save the only ones among the people who were still righteous and obedient to the will of the Lord, namely Noah and his family. That was how Noah was instructed by God to construct the immense Ark by which he would save not only his own family but also the living things all over the world, which God had chosen to spare amidst the destruction that He would bring to cleanse the world from all the wickedness, sins and evils. God showed how He treasured those whom He loves and cares for, those who are faithful to Him, while those who refused to obey Him and continued to live in sin, will suffer the just consequences for their wickedness.

We heard how the Ark saved Noah and his family amidst all the destruction of the Great Flood. The other people laughed at Noah when he built the Ark and refused to listen to his warnings and heedings, and hence, no one else save from Noah and his family were saved from the Flood. The whole world was covered with the wrath of God’s Flood, and was cleansed from all the wickedness that had afflicted it throughout. Noah was saved in the Ark, and when the Flood receded, we heard how God promised Noah and his descendants, that is all of us, that He would never again destroy the world and us with the water, with the rainbow as the sign of this promise. That is the story how rainbow appears after the rain, as reminders to both God and us of what had happened once.

This does not mean however that sin has no more consequences afterwards. Sin is still afflicting us, and through disobedience and sin, many more people since the days of Noah would fall into sin, right up to the present day. The Lord however did not give up on us and continued to love us and care for us, as He sent us His promised salvation in Jesus Christ, His own beloved and begotten Son, Who gave Himself to us, walking in our midst and reaching out to us, encouraging and strengthening us with the concrete show of God’s love and compassionate mercy. Through Him, we have seen yet again the proof of God’s ever enduring and persistent love for all of us. He has shown us His love as mentioned the Gospel passage today, by His feeding of the multitudes and many thousands of people.

At the same time, He also warned His disciples of the ‘yeast of the Pharisees’ and the ‘yeast of Herod’, which were actually reminders to them and also all of us to be ever vigilant against the temptations and allures of sin which are always present all around us. If we are not careful, we may end up falling into the same pride, ego and ambitions which became the downfall of many of the Pharisees, who refused to believe in the Lord because they hardened their hearts and minds, and remained in their stubborn refusal to believe. Meanwhile, the ‘yeast of Herod’ is a reminder for all of us not to allow the vices of worldly pleasures, the corruption of the sins of the flesh to mislead and corrupt us down the wrong path in life. We have to resist those temptations to sin and remain virtuous, good and worthy of God all the time, remembering all the good things and the love that God has lavished on us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence today let us all discern our path in life very carefully, minding the examples shown to us from the time of Noah and the Great Flood, to the sins of the Pharisees and Herod which the Lord warned His disciples against, and all the loving actions that God had done for us. Let us all also heed upon the good examples set by our holy predecessors, namely the great saints and brothers, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, the Patron Saints of Europe and great missionaries of the Christian faith, renowned for their great commitment to the spreading and proclamation of the Good News of God amidst the Slavic peoples, who were still mostly pagan back then, and by whose works, many of them eventually turned to the Christian faith and embracing the Lord as their Saviour and God.

They spent a lot of time and effort to evangelise in various places, and at the same time also developing the alphabets for the Slavic peoples that will eventually be known as the Glagolitic and the Cyrillic alphabets, and they also spent a lot of energy in reaching out to many people, both the rulers and the commoners alike, in introducing God and His truth to all of them. God has truly done His many great and wonderful works amongst His people through St. Cyril and St. Methodius. He has led them all to do His great deeds, and He has strengthened us all through their great inspiration and actions as our great role models. Can we all follow the Lord faithfully in the same way that St. Cyril and St. Methodius had done, brothers and sisters?

Let us all hence draw ever closer to the Lord, and let us continue to dedicate our time, our lives, actions and efforts to glorify the Lord by our lives, by our every words, actions and works in every time and in every opportunities provided to us. Let us all continue to follow the Lord wholeheartedly, distancing ourselves from sin and from the temptations to sin and to disobey the Lord, reminding ourselves and one another each time, to continue to walk the path of God’s righteousness and love, at all times. May God be with us always, and may He bless us in our every good works and endeavours. Amen.

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