Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, B.D. (24th January, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Tuesday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Heb 10:1-10;Ps 39:2.4.7-8.10.11. (R. vv.8.9);
Saint Francis de Sales (21st August, 1567 – 28th December, 1622) was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales. His father destined him to be a lawyer and strongly opposed his desire to become a priest. He was later ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva. Francis set out to convert Calvinists by preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine with remarkable success. He became bishop of Geneva at 35. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. He addressed his writings to lay people to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. He collaborated with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. Saint Francis de Sales is the patron of the Catholic Press.
Topic: The Relations of Jesus.
When Jesus was told in today’s gospel that His mother and His brothers were standing outside asking for Him, He queried, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” After looking at those who sat around Him He concluded, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
Many consider a number of things as advantages one can hope on in the journey towards God. However, Jesus defined in today’s gospel true relatives of His as those who do the will of God.
Saint Paul wrote to his son, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17).
Saint James exhorts all,
...be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like (Jas 1:22-24).
Those who do the word of God shall be blessed in their doing, cf. Jas 1:25. Whoever does right is righteous, cf. 1Jn 3:7. It is by doing right that one can put to silence the ignorance of foolish, cf. 1Pt 2:15. Saint Francis the Sales we celebrate taught us that holiness is for everyone who does the will of God irrespective of one’s vocation.
Bible Reading: Jas 1:19-27; 1Jn 2:29–3:10.
Thought for today: Are you truly Jesus’ brother and sister and mother?
Let us pray: Lord, give us the grace to become your Son’s brother and sister and mother – Amen.
Saint Francis de Sales – Pray for us.
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