Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Boniface, B.M. (05th June, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Monday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Tob 1:3; 2:1-8;
Ps 111:1-6. (R. v.1);
Saint Boniface (c. 675–754), known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes. On his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II, paganism was a way of life. What Christianity he did find had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error. The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops. In particular instances their very ordinations were questionable. The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church and gave him letters to the religious and civil leaders. He was made a regional bishop and authorized to organize the whole German Church. In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control. During a final mission to the Frisians, Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for confirmation.
Topic: We are all tenants.
Jesus told the people this parable, “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.” The owner of the vineyard put everything in order before leasing it out to the tenants. One would have expected the tenants to be appreciative by playing according to the rules. However, all the servants the man sent to collect his own share of the produce were either beaten up or killed. Not even his son was spared.
The Psalmist rightly wrote, “The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps 24:1; cf. 1Cor 10:26). And the book of Job reads, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return...” (Job 1:21). Saint Paul in his first letter to Timothy also wrote, “for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world” (1Tim 6:7). He also asked, “What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” (1Cor 4:7).
Many may look at this parable as a passage to show how bad the Jews were. Let us not forget that it was written for our instruction, cf. Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11. We all are God’s tenants. How one sees and handles the things God left in his/her custody makes the difference – good or wicked tenants. Let us imitate Saint Boniface who served God faithfully to the end.
Bible Reading: Job 1:13-22.
Thought for today: What have you that you did not receive? (1Cor 4:7)
Let us pray: God help us both to understand that everything is yours and to handle them accordingly – Amen.
Saint Boniface – Pray for us.
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