Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bp. D. (01st August, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ex 33:7-11; 34:5-9.28;
Ps 102:6-13. (R. v.8);
Saint Alphonsus Liguori (September 27, 1696 - August 1, 1787) was raised by a devout mother. He received his doctorate at the age of sixteen but later dropped secular life and was ordained on December 21, 1726. Saint Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) on November 9, 1732. He accepted the papal command to accept the see of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples in 1762. For thirteen years he fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he suffered daily the pain from rheumatism. In 1780, he was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation which altered the original rule. Alphonsus was beatified in 1816, canonized in 1839, and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters especially his Moral Theology and his Glories of Mary had great impact and have survived through the years. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate.
Topic: ...the furnace of fire.
Jesus’ disciples approached Him in today’s gospel with a request to explain to them the parable of the weeds in the field which we read last Saturday. He said to them,
The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels.
All causes of sin and all evil doers will be gathered and thrown into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. On the other hand, the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Most often, when we meet this furnace of fire where all the causes of sin and all evil doers will be thrown into, we pass them unnoticed. It is impossible to explain this in mortal language because every fire we experience results from the goodness of God, cf. Gen 1:31. And whenever it goes wrong, the fire service can assist. Yet no right-thinking human dares to play with even as little as the light of a candle.
The furnace of fire was ignited by God’s anger for torment, cf. Rev 14:10. And no fire service can assist because it can never be quenched, cf. Mk 9:48. Prophet Nahum questions, “Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him” (Nah 1:6). And our Lord warns,
If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.... if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell (Matt 5:29-30).
The furnace in question is not bearable. Let us therefore follow the example of Saint Alphonsus Liguori and prove ourselves children of the kingdom. Whoever fails to do so will have him/herself to blame.
Bible Reading: Mk 9:42-48.
Thought for today: All causes of sin and evil doers are destined for the fires of hell.
Let us pray: Lord, through the intercession of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, help us to avoid the furnace of fire – Amen.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori – Pray for us.
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