Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint John Bosco, P. (31st January, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Heb 12:1-4;Ps 21:26-28.30-32. (R. cf. v.27);
Saint John Bosco, also known as Giovanni Melchiorre Bosco and Don Bosco (16th August, 1815 – 31st January, 1888) was born in Becchi, Italy. He lost his father at the age of two, leaving him and his two older brothers to be raised by his mother, Margherita. John was very devout. He later discerned the call to become a priest which requires education, something he lacked because of poverty. He was only 12 when he left home and laboured for two years in a vineyard before he met Jospeh Cafasso, a priest who helped him. He entered the seminary in 1835 and was ordained a priest in 1841. The large number of boys, between the ages of 12 and 18 he saw in deplorable conditions in the prison moved him to do more to help other boys from ending up there. He went into the streets and started to meet young men and boys where they worked and played. He used his talents as a performer, doing tricks to capture attention, then sharing with the children his message for the day. Fr Bosco worked tirelessly seeking work for boys who needed it, and lodgings for others. He fought for the rights for boys who were employed as apprentices and also encouraged those he thought would make good priests to consider a vocation to the priesthood. He established the Society of St. Francis de Sales in 1859 to carry on his charitable work, helping boys with their faith formation and to stay out of trouble. The call for his canonization came immediately after his death. Pope Pius XI declared him a blessed 2nd June, 1929 and also canonized him on 1st April, 1934 (Easter Sunday). He was given the title, “Father and Teacher of Youth.” Saint John Bosco is the patron saint of apprentices, editors and publishers, schoolchildren, magicians, and juvenile delinquents.
Topic: Neither too bad nor late.
Jesus was by the sea with the people who gathered around him when
... one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and... fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live’ (Mk 5:22-23).
On His way, a woman who had suffered from haemorrhages for twelve years, who had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and was not better, but rather grew worse touched His clothes with faith and was healed instantly. When He reached Jairus house, He also raised his little daughter to life.
Jairus and this woman seemed to have realised that “... vain is the help of man” (Ps 60:11; cf. Ps 108:12). The question is ‘Where do you run to when the situation is really critical?’ Christ Himself is telling us: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). We ought to hope for all our needs from God, cf. Matt 6:11; Lk 11:3; Ps 104:27. No situation is either too bad or late for Jesus. Saint John Bosco realised that “those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever” (Ps 125:1). Hence, he never wavered. The prophet rightly proclaims: “Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD” (Jer 17:7).
Bible Reading: Heb 11:1-40; Ps Ps 125; Ps 126.
Thought for today: When the situation looks really bad where do you turn to?
Let us pray: Lord, give us strong faith that will enable us to stand firm no matter how bad the situation is – Amen.
Saint John Bosco – Pray for us.
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