Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet
Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about how everything that Jesus did, He did them in accordance with the will of God the Father, and thus, He did them out of the love He has for all of us without exception. That was the very purpose of why Jesus, the Son of God Most High was sent into this world, that He who was divine and with the Father, was willing to come down and to be born as one of us, as Man.
He came in accordance with the will of God, that He wanted all of us who had been separated from Him due to our disobedience and that of our ancestors’ disobedience, so that we may be brought back to Him, and be forgiven in new life sanctified in God. That was why the Lord who loves us so much, sent us His only beloved Son, to be our Saviour.
How fortunate we are indeed, that our Lord Himself had lowered Himself to come upon us and show us what new hope and salvation are truly about. Jesus is the hope for all mankind, the light which pierces through the darkness, both within us and which surround all our beings in this world. In Jesus is our compass, the north reference point, to which all of us should look towards and go to.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus came to us as our shepherd, to guide us on our way towards the Lord, that we may not be lost, but gain eternal glory and rewards at the end of time. We are the lost sheep of the Lord, who had been spread across the land, and covered in the darkness of this world. The Lord is our light, and He enlightens our path, and with His staff and rod, He guides us to the eternal rest He had prepared for us.
But as all shepherds do, He calls upon us, and He knows each of us, by name. He truly knows all that we do in secret, as He is the Lord of all, omniscient and all-knowing. There is nothing that he did not know of. He calls us, but we as the lost sheep, have all the choice and free will to either heed His call or to ignore and reject Him.
God offered us His guidance and help through Jesus His Son. Like a loving shepherd He guides each and every one of His sheep that they may find their way, our way, to reach towards salvation. Yet we may choose to follow Him or follow the false shepherd, that is the devil. The devil also calls upon us, pretending to be the true shepherd, tricking us to follow him instead of the Lord, the true and good shepherd.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why we have to discern things carefully, in what we do, and in what we follow, that we will not fall into committing what is evil in the eyes of the Lord and fall into condemnation and destruction that awaits Satan and his followers, the fallen sheep, at the end of time. We have to discern on our lives and our actions, that we will walk in the light and not darkness.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Francis of Paola, a hermit who lived in Italy during the era of the Renaissance. St. Francis of Paola was a very devout and upright individual even since his early youth, and he modelled himself much after his patron, St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan religious order. St. Francis of Paola modelled his life after his namesake and patron, and founded a religious order with similar kind of dedication to the Lord.
Yes, brethren, St. Francis of Paola gave all of his life in dedication to the Lord his shepherd. He did not veer left or right in his ways, and remained true to the Lord until the end of his life. St. Francis of Paola is the example of how a sheep who desires to find his shepherd, and his Lord, that he gave it his all, in total and complete dedication to the will of God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can learn many things from the holiness and greatness of St. Francis of Paola. He was great not because he was powerful or mighty in the eyes of men, but because he did not budge even against the forces of this world, and neither did he fear any worldly oppressions or repercussions, that he even challenged kings of the world and rebuked them for their wickedness and transgressions despite themselves professing as Christians.
We too should follow in his footsteps, that we may dedicate ourselves more and more to the Lord, and at the same time also learn to follow His ways and make our lives a reflection of the Lord’s will and teachings, that just like St. Francis of Paola, we may be holy and justified, and the Lord will keep us always in His favour and grace.
St. Francis of Paola, pray for us sinners, that we may overcome our fear of the Lord and come seek Him like sheep looking for their shepherd, that together with you, we may praise the Lord and serve Him for eternity. God bless us all. Amen.