Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, P., (23rd September, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Saturday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 99. (R. v.2);
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina also known as Saint Padre Pio was born in Pietrelcina, Italy on 25th May, 1887 as Francesco Forgione. His parents were both very religious and also very poor. As a result of this, he took up a job which affected his studies negatively. He took the name Pius (Pio) when he joined the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Saint Pio was ordained in 1910 and was allowed to remain at home because of his poor health. He received the gift of stigmata on September 20, 1916 while hearing confessions. Saint Pio was known for his piety, charity and the quality of his preaching. He prophesied in 1947 that Fr. Karol Wojtyla who visited him would become a pope which fulfilled in 1978. He died in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy on 23rd September, 1968. Pope Saint John Paul II beatified him in 1999 and also canonized him on 16th June, 2002. He is the patron saint of civil defence volunteers, adolescents, and the village of Pietrelcina.
Topic: Prepare the ground.
Today’s gospel covers the parable of the sower (Lk 8:4-8), its purpose (Lk 8:9-10), and its explanation (Lk 8:11-15).
As a sower sowed his seed, some fell on the path where they were trampled on, and the birds ate them up. The ones on the rock withered for lack of moisture. Those among thorns were choked. Only the seeds in good soil produced a hundredfold. Jesus warns, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!” He spoke in parable so that “looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.”
The seed is the word of God. Seeds on the path are those the devil takes away the word from their hearts lest they believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those in whom the word has no root though they received it with joy. They do not stand trials. The seeds among thorns are those the word they received is choked. And the seeds in good soil are those “when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.”
Whenever we hear or read God’s word, possibilities abounds. The word can either produce fruits in us or not. Some who are aware of this only pray and wait for miracle. Praying is good but no one can fly with prayer alone. Prayer needs work and vice versa, cf. Jas 2:17, 26. The words of our prayer must be in tandem with our work.
God can turn the worst soil into the best, but He has given us the freedom to choose what we consider best for ourselves. He does not infringe into that freedom. Let nobody give the devil opportunity, cf. Eph 4:27. Our brothers and sisters throughout the world suffer the same challenges, cf. 1Pt 5:9. Saint Pio had his own share yet the grace of God was not rendered ineffectual in him, cf. 1Cor 15:10.
Bible Reading: Eph 4:25 – 5:2; Jas 4:7-10.
Thought for today: Are you a path, a rocky, a thorny or a good soil?
Let us pray: God, help us make our hearts habitable for your word – Amen.
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina – Pray for us.
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