Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abb. (17th January, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Heb 6:10-20;Ps 100:1-2.4-5.9.10. (R. v.5);
Saint Anthony was born about the year 260AD in Egypt. When his parents died, he gave his inheritance to the poor, and went into the desert, where he lived a life of penance. Many came to follow him, and he is known as the father of monks. He supported those who suffered for the faith under the persecutions of Diocletian, and helped Saint Athanasius in his fight against the Arians. He died in 356.
Topic: Sabbath was made for humankind.
In today’s gospel, Jesus’ disciples plucked heads of grain as Jesus went through the grain fields. The Pharisees frowned at it as unlawful on the sabbath. Jesus reminded them what happened when Abiathar was high priest. David and his men entered the house of God when they were hungry and in need of food. They ate the bread of the Presence which was lawful for priests alone. Jesus concluded with this popular verse: “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath ...” (Mk 2:27).
What worried the Pharisees was the observance of the sabbatical laws. The welfare of the people means little or nothing to them.
We are in a society full of assorted laws – religious, civil, group, family, and so on. Some of these laws have no other reason why they still exist other than that they were handed down by forefathers, cf. Matt 15:2; Mk 7:5. Many of these laws have little or nothing to contribute to the good of humans. And some are truly burdens and instruments of oppression.
It is disheartening that many are either afraid, or unconcerned, or too weak to take stand against such unjust laws. Today’s gospel challenges us to see that laws are for the good of the people. Saint Anthony we celebrate today is a good example for all of us. He supported the poor, those being persecuted, and Saint Athanasius in the fight against Arians. Even the ten commandments of God are for our good. God delights in our welfare cf. Ps 35:27.
Bible Reading: 1Cor 10:23–11:1.
Thought for today: Laws are for the good of the people.
Let us pray: Eternal lawgiver, help those who make laws and those who apply them to work for the common good – Amen.
Saint Anthony – Pray for us.
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