Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us through the readings of the Holy Scriptures we are all shown the virtues of obedience and proper behaviours according to the teachings and the ways of the Lord. In the first reading, in continuation of the letter which he sent to Titus while he was in captivity in Rome, St. Paul exhorted the faithful ones of God to follow the rules and expectations for each members of the Church, be it man or woman, old or young.
Meanwhile, in the Gospel reading, Jesus told a parable to His disciples, about a servant and his master, and the relationship between them, which ought to be proper, as how a master should be, and the servant should also act and do things as is expected of him. In this, we also see a clear link with the exhortations of St. Paul, on how the Church consists of many members, made up of many different kinds of peoples, all of whom should behave as they are expected to behave.
Mankind had the nature to rebel and disobeying others. It is often difficult for us to listen to others and follow what they want us to do. Ever since the beginning, we have rebelled against our Divine Master, the Lord God, who was so generous with His love and care for us, His servants, and yet we still chose to walk on our own path, disregarding the commandments of God, and rather, we listened to our own hearts’ desires.
Just look at the people of Israel, the chosen people of God, who for generations continued to rebel against the Lord’s will, and even after the Lord had given them His Law, from time to time, they continued to follow their own paths, worshipping pagan gods and idols, sacrificing to these idols, and also committing other forms of debauchery and wickedness in their lives.
And they wanted a king to rule over them, and God gave His permission for them to do that, and they had kings, some of whom were good, but many were wicked and disobedient to God, acting not as they should. The kings of Israel were the vicars and regents for the Lord’s true reign over His people, Israel, and yet they misappropriated and abused their powers and authority, serving their own purposes, leading the people even deeper into sin and rebellion against the Master of all.
And even in the world today, we still see such rebellious attitudes running rampant among us. It is difficult for many of us to know who we are and what we are expected to do, as a member of God’s Church. That is why, if we look at the various issues at hand, we can see that there are many dissenting voices trying to disturb and in fact destroy the order of things, as God had ordained.
Each of us has our role to play in the Church of God, as the presbyterate, the members of the ordained priesthood, or as the laity, the people of God who live on their daily lives as normal. And the men and women, each of whom had their own unique and complementary roles in the Church, as the members of God’s people. Yet, many people who did not understand how the order of things is like, are trying to disrupt the harmonious way of things is working.
Therefore, we ought to stand up against those who cry out for gender equality in the Church in any of its forms, and the subversion of the roles of the priest and the laity, by the blurring of the differences in their roles. Those who called for such horrendous changes are not educated and ignorant in the truths of our Faith, and as St. Paul had said in his letter, we should help them to learn the truth, find their roles in the Church and act accordingly according to those roles.
The truth is that, each members and parts of the Church have unique roles and expectations, and their roles are distinct and complementary to each other. One cannot usurp the function and role of another without disrupting the proper and good order in the Church.
The priests are the ones who celebrate the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass, and also are the ones authorised to give the Holy Sacraments to the people of God. Meanwhile, the laity are not allowed these roles, but instead, what are their roles? Their roles are to help the priests in their ministry and works, and in living their daily lives, they ought to be exemplary and faithful, and in building up their families, they should lead a true Christian way of life, creating good and faithful Christian families.
None of them can function without the other, as they support each other and becoming pillars, strong pillars of the Church and the Faith. And then, with regards to the roles of men and women in the Church, each of them have their own complementary roles, that support each other and perfect each other in the running of the Church.
Only men can become priests, as chosen by the Lord, and it is an unchangeable and unalterable Law of the Lord, given that the Apostles were men. But this does not mean that women are sidelined or discriminated against in the Church. Instead, women also occupy very special role in the Church, as the guardians of the Faith in the family, by her faith and dedication to God, she became role model for her family.
And we also know that there are many female religious, as nuns and others, who dedicated themselves fully to the Lord in prayer and loving service. These religious support the good works of the priests, by assisting in their missionary and loving works, and through dedicated service to mankind, showing a great example of faith to be followed by others. There had been many saints who were holy women, both religious and the laity who had dedicated themselves to the way of the Lord.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Martin of Tours, a renowned saint and Bishop of Tours during the late Roman Empire. St. Martin of Tours was once a Roman soldier, who was pious and devoted to the Lord. He was born of a pagan family, but he attended Christian services since youth and became a believer against the wishes of his father.
The qualities of St. Martin of Tours had been evident even since his youth. When he was still a centurion in the Roman Army, he met a poor beggar in a town, who was freezing to death on the cold road. St. Martin of Tours was moved with love and pity, cutting his own centurion’s army cloak in half, and giving that half of a cloak to cover the body of the poor beggar.
At night, St. Martin of Tours had a vision of the poor beggar, who brought the half cloak to him, and revealing himself to be none other than the Lord Jesus Himself. He rewarded St. Martin for his actions, and this vision and event simply pushed St. Martin further in his zeal, and it also brought him into the faith completely, for he was still a catechumen at that time.
As a member of the Roman Army, he was often intrigued by the need for him to shed the blood of others, of his enemies, which he felt was against his conscience as a Christian and follower of the Lord. Therefore, eventually he renounced his part in the Army and became a full time follower and servant of the Lord, by becoming disciple of another famous saint, St. Hilary of Poitiers.
As the bishop of Tours, this holy man carried out numerous good works for his flock, building up churches and places of worship, setting numerous standards to be followed by the followers of Christ, and establishing strong foundations of the faith in his diocese. Through his various works as bishop and shepherd to the people of God in Tours, he brought many blessings and goodness to them.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, on this holy day of St. Martin of Tours, let us all take home two messages, and two important things which we need to heed in this life. First, is that all of us should play our roles actively in the Church, not by trying to be what we are not supposed to be, but to be faithful to the Lord and His will, just as He had said in the Gospel today, that we fulfill the will and wishes of our Lord and Master, without succumbing to our desires and pride.
And then second, we have to emulate the example of St. Martin of Tours in how he had lived his life. We have to show mercy and charity to others, helping those who are in need of help, so that our faith in the Lord will not be just merely empty faith, but will instead be alive and vibrant, filled with the love of God. And after we have done all these, remember that we have done it not for ourselves, but as the actions of the loving servants of our God.
Let us all say to the Lord, that we have all done our duties faithfully and as a servant of God should have done. Let us grow richer and stronger in our humility, so that we may learn how to live according to the role which God had given us, and not to seek to gain more for our own purposes. And we hope that He who sees all and knows all that we do, will reward us with His everlasting grace and love. God bless us all. Amen.
First Reading :
Gospel Reading :