Monday, 6 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in today’s readings from the Holy Scripture and the Gospel, we heard about how the Lord through His servant Paul the Apostle wanted to remind us to remain true to our faith, and that we should keep strongly to the faith which we have received through the Church, that is the true and orthodox faith, and reject all forms of heresies and heterodoxies that is present in our society and all around us, the falsehoods and lies which Satan spread to try to divide the Church of God.

For there exists in our society, false prophets and false teachers trying to proclaim the word of God in a twisted manner, to serve their own purposes, and also to serve the purposes of Satan, the evil one, for these false prophets and teachers indeed belong to Satan and his allies, as the ones who tried so desperately to wrench control over us from the Lord and to themselves.

And the sad fact is that many mankind, our own brothers and sisters willingly heard their words and went over to their side, and therefore becoming corrupted and unworthy, many were lost to us and to the Lord, condemned for eternity together with the false prophets, with Satan and his fellow fallen angels, the demons. Some did repent and return to the faith, but the damage had indeed been done to the unity of the Church.

Over the centuries, numerous false prophets and teachers of the faith sprung up, causing various heresies and divisions in the Body of the Church of God, and while some of these were healed and brought back into the truth of the Holy Mother Church, many remained lost to us, and in turn, they led even more people to be lost from the salvation which God had promised through His Church.

And to those who believe in ‘new’ revelations supposedly proclaimed and brought through the means of angels, and in one, even claiming that the Archangel Gabriel himself brought the ‘new’ revelation, they have to all beware, that unless it affirms the faith in the Lord, and in our Lord Jesus Christ, who has died for us, and who has risen in glory and majesty, then it is no angel, but Satan and his evil spirits that came to deceive mankind with their lies.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we should rebuke Satan and reject all of his empty and false promises. We should also ignore and not heed the false teachings and the lies of the false prophets who taught falsehood instead of the truth of the Lord. Instead, we should follow the true way of the Lord, as Jesus His own Son, who came into the world, had revealed to us.

If the false prophets often appealed to our sense of self-preservation and satisfaction of our self, and our needs and wants, then the Lord showed that the true way to the Lord is through love, and this is none other than through loving God and loving one another, to think less of the self and the ego, and grow deeper and stronger in the love that is in our heart.

We cannot truly love God without having love for our brethren and all those around us who are always in need of our love. Similarly, we cannot truly love one another with full sincerity and genuine nature, without love for God. Love without either or both of the love we ought to have for God and others is imperfect love, and it may lead to harm rather than good.

And Jesus showed that it is important for us to take heed on how to love. He showed it through the story we all know, on the actions of the Good Samaritan, who went all the way to tend to the robbed and wounded man, taking care of him with genuine love and care, as an example of what love is, and what love should be. The Good Samaritan, as compared to the supposedly pious and respected Levite and the priest, is the one who had gotten the essence of love.

Samaritans as we all know, were highly discriminated against at the time of Jesus, in the territory of Judea in particular, where the robbing incident took place between Jerusalem and Jericho. They were seen as pagans and barbarians who did not follow the way of the Jews and did not worship and believe in the one true God. Yet, when Jesus came into the world, they were among the first to believe Him while the Jews doubted and rejected Him.

The actions and the deeds of the Jews did not represent what they professed to believe in. Their actions, as represented by the priests and the Levites were not representative of what they said they have faith in. All said, it is not all of the Jews that were in the wrong, as there were also many among them who followed Christ, such as His family and His disciples, but the problem truly lay with the prejudice with which the Jews in general held against the Samaritans.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, all of us should learn from the readings of the Holy Scripture and the Gospel today, from the actions of the Good Samaritan, who went the extra mile to help the unfortunate man. We should also therefore do the same, not just to those whom we loved, but also to everybody, including to those who are even against us and those who are not among those who we normally care for.

And we do not have to accomplish big and extensive things in order to do this. Even in simple things, like helping anyone, even strangers around us who are in need of even simple help, will do it just nicely. Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves to a new life filled with love, both for God and for our fellow brothers and sisters, in real action, that in everything we do, we may show love, and through that love we may find justification for our faith.

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Bruno, a priest and a contemporary of many other saints of the tenth and eleventh century Middle Ages Europe. He was the founder of the Carthusian religious order, and he was a great intellectual and a great educator. Many of those whom he had educated and influenced in life eventually became great saints themselves, as well as great and influential leaders of the Church, including even Pope Urban II, who initiated the First holy Crusade against the infidels.

St. Bruno, even though he was influential and well-respected, he remained humble and dedicated to his works, to advance the cause of the Faith in the world and to save souls. He refused the opportunity to be appointed and made a bishop, and he rather renounced himself from all worldliness, that he might focus much more of his abilities and time to help those who need his help, just as the Good Samaritan had once done.

May Almighty God put in us the spirit of love, that we may be more like the Good Samaritan, who devoted himself in love to his suffering brethren in need, and that we may also follow in the footsteps of St. Bruno of Cologne. May we grow less dependent and free from our ego, our desire and our selfishness, that we may truly be found righteous and just in the sight of our Lord and our God. God be with us always, and may His blessings and graces always be abundant in our lives. Amen.