Friday, 28 April 2023 : 3rd Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr, and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, each and every one of us are reminded that as Christians we have been called and chosen from this world to follow what the Lord Himself has revealed to all of us through His Church and through the Good News contained in the Scriptures. Each and every one of us have been made partakers of the New and Eternal Covenant that the Lord Himself had established with us through His Son, by His Passion, suffering and death on the Cross, and by His Resurrection from the dead. All of us as Christians have confessed our faith in all of these truths, and we have been called to listen to these same truths and commit ourselves to proclaim the Good News to others.

As we heard from our Gospel passage today, we proclaim the same truth that the Lord Jesus Himself has revealed to all of the people He was speaking to, as He continued His discourse on Him being the ‘Bread of Life’ and the ‘Living Bread’ Who has come down from Heaven. The Lord told them all these not long after He had fed the multitudes of thousands of men and many thousands of women and children with the miraculous multiplication of loaves of bread and fishes. He told them all these because many of those people were seeking for Him because they were happy and satisfied as they were all well fed and received sustenance, but they were still lacking true and genuine faith in Him.

This means that many of them were still seeking Him for other motives and reasons that are not truly sincere, and many likely were trying to satisfy their own worldly needs and even greed. Hence, the Lord told them all that what He would give them, is that of the perfect gift surpassing what they had received earlier on, that is none other than the gift of His own Most Precious Body and Most Precious Blood, to be sacrificed, offered and broken for them, just in the manner that He had blessed, broken and shared with them all the bread and the fishes from the earlier miracle. But this time, what the people would receive, is not merely just bread and is something surpassing even the bread of the Angels, the manna, that the Israelites ate in the past.

The Lord essentially foretold what He Himself would do for the sake of everyone whom He loved and cared about. He foretold His own suffering and death on the Cross, and His gift of His own Precious Body and Blood for everyone. At the Last Supper, just before the Lord was about to enter into His Passion or suffering, He gathered all of His disciples and had the Passover meal with them, at which time He instituted the Most Holy Eucharist, the bread and wine which He blessed and then shared with His disciples, as the gift of His own Most Precious Body and Most Precious Blood. All those were completed as He took His Cross and suffered on His Cross, and as the Lamb of God laid dying on the Cross, what the disciples had partaken, have indeed been the Lord’s own Body and Blood.

This is what our Christian faith is all about, as we believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour, and He has come into our midst as the perfect manifestation of God’s love and ever enduring compassion and mercy for us. The Lord has willingly chosen to embrace us with His perfect love, enduring the worst and most bitter of sufferings, rejections, humiliations and trials, so that by His suffering, pain, wounds and eventually death, He might free and deliver us from the tyranny and domination of our sins. By His perfect obedience, as the Son of Man and Son of God, He has shown us all the path to eternal life and salvation, and reminding us that sin is borne out of our disobedience against God and His will. And by His offering and sacrifice as our Paschal Lamb, He has offered the only worthy sacrifice and offering for all of the multitudes of our sins.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have been called and chosen by God to be His disciples and followers, and we have also received the grace of knowing and understanding His truth, just as He had done to one of His greatest enemies, as we heard in our first reading today, namely that of Saul, the young Pharisee. Saul, who would later on be known as St. Paul the Apostle, was a young and fanatical member of the Pharisee who persecuted many early Christians, launching a great hunt and campaign to destroy the Church and the holy people of God, causing untold miseries and sufferings, as many of the early Christians were arrested, persecuted and even martyred due to the works of Saul.

But God called that same young man, and called him to the path of salvation and truth, as He revealed just how wayward and misled his path had been to Saul himself. Saul was converted, and through baptism, he became a new man, and dedicated himself to serve the Lord from then onwards. From someone who had often caused misery and suffering amongst the people of God, greatly feared and was a great sinner, the Lord had turned him into one of his greatest champions and defenders, into a holy and devout man that dedicated his whole life to the proclaiming and spread of the Good News of the Lord, enduring untold sufferings, pains, rejections, humiliations just as the Lord Himself had suffered all those.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, all of us are also reminded of even more good examples of our holy predecessors, in the two saints whose feasts we celebrate. St. Peter Chanel and St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort are two great servants of God who have dedicated themselves to the service of God, in proclaiming His truth and Good News to many of their fellow brethren. St. Peter Chanel was a renowned missionary, who ministered to the people in many mission areas, which led him to Futuna in distant part of the vast Pacific Ocean region. There he ministered to the people who had not yet known about Christ and evangelised to them, preaching about the Risen Lord to the people of Futuna, which eventually led to the desire for the local king’s son to be baptised, which led to the martyrdom of this good servant of God, persecuted and murdered for his faith and efforts.

Meanwhile, St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort was the inspiration and founder behind the many Montfortian organisations present today, known for his dedication and passion for his ministry, in taking care of the needs the less privileged, the poor and the sick, and in the countless hours and efforts that he spent in taking care of them, both physically and spiritually. He was also known for his efforts in the Catholic education, caring for the needs of young boys and girls to be properly educated, establishing schools and institutions in order to allow this to happen. Through all these works, St. Louis Marie brought quite a lot of people from the brink of darkness and destruction back into God’s Light, and helped them to find the path to salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be inspired by their good examples, and do whatever we can as Christians, in order to do God’s will and to proclaim His truth and Good News to more and more of those whom we encounter in our daily living. Let our lives and actions, our words and interactions be good and exemplary, worthy and bring inspiration to others who witness our works and interacted with us, that they too may be moved and driven to follow the Lord and to believe in Him as we had done in our own lives. May God be with us always, and be with His Church in our every endeavours and efforts to proclaim Him, the one and only Saviour of all. Amen.

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