Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, we learn about God, that God is our Father, our creator. God shaped us from dust, in His own image, that we look like Him, and receiving His Holy Spirit through His breath, we gain life that is anchored in the Spirit that is in all of us.
He is our Father, and like our earthly father, He loves us, protects us, and grant us His grace, through His guidance and numerous blessings to us. He taught us many things through subtle means, and He opened our eyes to the knowledge of the world. He brought us up since the day of our conception and cares for us till the day of our death.
God who is our Father loves us, brothers and sisters in Christ, that He even sent His only Son, one of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, to be one of us, to be a lowly man like us, and in doing so, He brought us even closer to Himself, because we now, through Christ, truly become children of God, because Christ Himself, the Son of God, is our brother, just as He is our Lord and Saviour.
But we have rebelled against His love and His faithfulness to us, and we have rejected Him since the first days of creation, beginning with the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when they ate the fruits of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, trusting Satan in the snake more than they trust the Lord their God and their creator.
Yes, one weakness that mankind particularly has today is greed, my brethren, especially greed for knowledge, curiosity, and an excess of it, which resulted exactly in the rebellion of the first mankind, because of their curiosity of the knowledge of good and evil as tempted by Satan. The Lord has given each one of us wisdom and intellect, but we have never felt enough, and are always curious and wanting to know more.
This is how our modern world rapidly becoming less and less faithful to God, and many turn their hearts away from total obedience and love for God. Many question their faith, because they are curious about the truth behind it, and they trust more alternatives to God such as scientific discoveries, because in those discoveries, they gain more and more knowledge, and this displaces God in their hearts, because to them, science seems to offer them something tangible, as science itself represents something that must be verifiable and visible.
Yes, our God and Lord may not be visible to us, and His presence may not be easily felt, if you apply the standards of science, and the standards of our human stature to it, but God does exist in our hearts, brothers and sisters in Christ, and He is present in all of us, through the Spirit of life that He has given us. What mankind is lacking truly is the ability to transcend that greed for more knowledge and more understanding, but in the process, those greed transform them into a corrupted being.
That is why Christ asks us to be like the children, to have faith like the children, because children are pure and innocent, and in the children lie the fullness of the love of God, and they are beings that can truly love God with all their heart, their mind, and their soul, without being disrupted and clouded by the evils of this world, simply because, in the innocence of their heart, they know only the love of God.
That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we too should follow the children’s example, in their pure and unadulterated love for God. If you see a child pray, you can see that their prayer is pure, and not like many of us who utter litany of wishes in our prayer, because we have been tainted by greed and desire, desiring that God grant us our wishes, although prayer is in fact the bridge of faith, our pure connection, a two-way connection between us and God, instead of being a help line or a wishing line.
That is why those of you who are parents with young children, it is important to educate your children well, and ensure that they are protected from the evil influences that are ever present in our world, and in our surroundings. In a world where knowledge had become much more readily accessible and in the reach of even children through the media and the internet, there is a need for greater vigilance, brethren, that we, and especially young children, do not fall prey to Satan’s advances. Knowledge is good, and knowing more is good, but are we able to truly distinguish between truth or lies? and are we able to distinguish between what is good and what is bad?
Today, we also celebrate feast of saints, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Saints because we do not just celebrate one saint, but three saints! They are St. Bede the Venerable, a holy monk living in the seventh and early eighth century England, who contributed greatly to the development of the Church in Britannia, and we also have Pope St. Gregory VII, a great Pope, and a great reformer Pope, who championed the freedom and the authority of the Papacy against secular powers that try to usurp the Church’s authority from it, and finally St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, a virtuous religious sister who often received visions from the Lord, and was known for her great piety and love for God.
St. Bede the Venerable was a great author who wrote extensively on the early histories of the British Isles, but also made important chronicles of the development of the Church in the West and in Britain, especially in the well known history of the Church and people of England, that is the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. His works brought great advancement in the field of learning and knowledge. This shows the greatness of wisdom and intellect that God has given us, and if we utilise it right, we can bring about great good to mankind, just as St. Bede the Venerable had done.
Pope St. Gregory VII, is a great Pope of the medieval era, who championed Papal supremacy and authority over the rulers of Christendom. He persevered over the power of the secular ruler, in the person of the Holy Roman Emperor, the Christendom’s ruler at the time, over the appointment of bishops, which rightfully should belong to the successor of the apostles, the successor of Peter, that is the Pope, alone. He triumphed against those who in their pride think that they know it all and did not pay proper respect to the Lord out of their pride and arrogance.
St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi gained many visions which she received regularly from the Lord, and through her writings on her visions and experiences, many believed in the Lord. This is the proof that knowledge and wisdom indeed comes from God, and from God alone. We humans receive our knowledge and wisdom from the Spirit that is also our life, but we are prone to think that this knowledge and wisdom is our own, and disregard the Lord’s role in it.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us from now on, follow in the footsteps of these great saints, and pursue the true knowledge, the truth that is in the Lord. Do not be tempted by the falsehood that this world offers, that is Satan’s temptation. God who loves us will grant us truth, wisdom, and knowledge that is anchored in Him, that we will not fall like Adam and Eve once did. May God be our light of guidance, and steer us on the path to return to Him one day. Amen.