Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Pius X, PP., (21st August, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Monday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 105:34-37.39-40.43-44. (R. v.4);
Pope Saint Pius X (2nd June, 1835 – 20th August, 1914) was born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto at Riese and became Pope in August 1903. His most important reform was to order the codification of the first Code of Canon Law. He was particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius X was the only pope in the 20th century with extensive pastoral experience and implementation at the parish level, which led him to favour the use of the vernacular language in teaching catechesis, while the encouragement for frequent reception of Holy Communion became a lasting innovation of his papacy. He vehemently opposed modernism, which claimed that Roman Catholic dogma should be modernized and blended with nineteenth-century philosophies. Pius X viewed modernism as an import of secular errors affecting three areas of Roman Catholic belief namely, theology, philosophy, and dogma. He combined within himself a strong sense of compassion, benevolence and poverty, but also stubbornness and a certain stiffness. He was the only pope in the 20th century who gave Sunday homilies in the pulpit every week. He was canonized on 29 May 1954.
Topic: Inheriting eternal life.
A rich young man came to Jesus in today’s gospel and asked, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus replied him in part, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” After Jesus enumerated the commandments at the young man’s request he said to Jesus, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus replied, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” On hearing this, “he went away grieving”.
The last verse of the gospel made explicit the obstacle of the rich young man, his many possessions. We must remember that these possessions come from God, cf. 1Chr 29:12; 1Cor 11:12.
The Psalmist rightly admonishes us not to set our heart on riches even when they increase, cf. Ps 62:10. It is important to note that “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death” (Prov 11:4). Again, “Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves” (Prov 11:28). And again, “riches do not last forever” (Prov 27:24).
To inherit eternal life, one must first disinherit this life. We must remember that the cares of the world, the delight in riches, and the desire for other earthly things choke the word of God and make it unfruitful, cf. Mk 4:19; Matt 13:22. Hence Jesus warns, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple (Lk 14:26). The life of Saint Pius X is a very good example. His last will and testament bears the striking sentence: “I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor”.
Bible Readings: Jas 5:1-6; 1Tim 6:17-19.
Thought for today: ...riches do not last forever (Prov 27:24).
Let us pray: God, remove far from us falsehood and lying. Give us neither poverty nor riches; but feed us with the food that is needful for us – Amen (cf. Prov 30:8; Matt 6:11).
Saint Pius X – Pray for us.
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