Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters, we are children of the light! Therefore, we too should be bright with the light that is within each one of us, and show it boldly to the world. We once lived in darkness and belong to the darkness, but the Lord who is loving and who is ever merciful had ransomed us from the dark through His own sacrifice on the cross, that we are made the possessions of the Light, that is Jesus our Lord and God.
Yes, brethren, in today’s first reading from the Book of Ezra the priest, the people of Israel, who had lived long in darkness, in the great depths of sin, and who had been sent into exile in Babylon for their sins, had been remembered and forgiven. God had brought them back out of darkness into the light, that they once again become His people, under the leadership of Ezra the servant of God and through Cyrus, the first Persian Emperor.
Although they had sinned greatly, that of their ancestors and their transgressions, the Lord who loved all was willing to regain them into His embrace, gathering them from all over back to the land He had promised them. The same He had done for them when they were oppressed in the land of Egypt. And so, He could not let Himself to abandon us who lived in darkness, and resolved to send the great deliverance, the Light of the world in Jesus.
Through Jesus, the world had received a new light, the light of God, that we may no longer live in darkness, but in the light. In each and every one of us who had been accepted into the Church through baptism, a light has been given, that is the light of Christ, which we witnessed through the presentation of baptismal candle at the time we were baptised. In baptism, we are made to be the belongings of Christ, and therefore become children of the light.
We are also given talents and skills within us, that each one of us possess these unique set of skills and abilities, that we are often ignorant about or fail to utilise effectively, and often even try to hide within ourselves for various reasons, some of which are fear, lack of confidence, ignorance, and many others that made us fail to shine.
Yes, in fact Christ is challenging us, whether we can truly get rid of these human fears and be courageous instead to be the witnesses of the Gospel of truth, the Good News He had proclaimed to the nations. In this way, this is how we truly shine brightly as the children of the light, on a lampstand, clearly visible and not hidden in darkness.
Fear and plain reluctance often comes in the way, with many of us lacking the confidence to make our light truly be seen, be it because of fear of our society, the fear of rejection by others, or pure laziness and sloth. In each of us, we had been given many gifts and graces, brethren, and therefore, much is also expected from us. We cannot be idle and hide the light in ourselves, excluding others from it.
This light within us, is manifested most easily in love. Yes, the love for God and for His children, our brothers and sisters. We show forth our light if we open ourselves and our hearts for others and for God, that from it, the purity of our love, care, and compassion may shine forth, dispelling the darkness the devil had created around us.
Today, we celebrate the feast of a great and well-known saint, that is Padre Pio of Italy, also known as St. Pius of Pietrelcina, one of the greatest saint of the last century, being widely known for his piety, his dedication, in his tireless ministry and service for others, in his healings and miracles, and through his life examples. He was known as a truly holy, pious, and saintly man, and this would not have happened, had he not revealed his faith like that of a lamp on a lampstand.
Padre Pio lived humbly and piously as a religious, as a Franciscan monk, who was well known for his stigmata miracle, in which the crucifixion wounds of Christ appeared on his hands and feet. He was harassed by the devil at many times in his life and he suffered, both from the pain of the miraculous stigmata, as well as rejection by the people of God at times. Yet, Padre Pio, now St. Pio/Pius persevered and endured in his hard work, for the good of the people and resolved to bring them to salvation in Jesus.
St. Pius championed the good works of divine grace, ministering healing and miracles even when he was still alive, and the stigmata showed to many, the nature of God’s love for us, that is the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus, through which we are saved. St. Pio became a great role model for many, through his humility, through his passionate service and love for all God’s children, and through his holiness, evident from his daily actions and prayers. He also put a great emphasis on the Most Holy Eucharist, in which lies the Lord Himself in the form of His Body and His Blood.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, with the example of this great saint, known to many of us as Padre Pio, the great servant of God and the worker of miracles, let us be inspired to follow him in his examples, in his prayerful devotion to God and in his loving commitment to one another, that is to our brethren around us, especially those in most need of our love and help. May St. Pius intercede for us always, that the Lord will constantly keep us in His love and grace and protect us always from the power of Satan, and bring us back into His divine embrace. God bless us all. Amen.