Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, (04th October, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Wednesday of the Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 136:1-6. (R.v.6);
Saint Francis was born at Assisi in 1181. His mother christened him Giovanni after John the Baptist but his father renamed him Francesco because he never wanted any man of God in his son. He enjoyed a very rich easy life growing up because of his father's wealth and the permissiveness of the times. Francis led a crowd of young people who spent their nights in wild parties. He saw the call for knights for the Fourth Crusade as an opportunity to earn glory. However, he gave his suit of armour decorated with gold to a poor knight and obeyed God’s call to return home. He started to spend more time in prayer and Christ asked him to repair His Church that scandal and avarice were working on from the inside while outside heresies flourished while he was praying in the ancient church at San Damiano. He was ordained only a deacon under his protest. He preached about returning to God and obedience to the Church. Slowly companions came to him. He loved all God's creations and also preached to all. He tried to make poverty holy and saw possessions as the death of love. Francis' final years were filled with suffering as well as humiliation. He received the stigmata. He died on 4th October, 1226. Francis is considered the founder of all Franciscan orders and the patron saint of ecologists and merchants.
Topic: Neither mine nor yours.
Today’s gospel presented to us three categories of would-be disciples of Jesus. Jesus replied the first who opted to follow Him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Yet Jesus said to another, “Follow me.” Despite his excuse, He insisted, “...go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And to the third who wanted to bid farewell to those at his home first, Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Every owner of property ought to have intention for his/her property. And it is the intention of the owner that counts.
The Psalmist wrote, “Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Ps 100:3; cf. Eph 2:10). Hence Saint Paul tells us that we are God’s property, cf. 1Cor 6:19.
It is God’s intention therefore that counts in our lives and in whatever we do even when one thinks he/she has the best of intentions, cf. 2Sam 7:5-7. In today’s gospel, Jesus literally turned down the intention of the person who volunteered to follow Him. The one who thought it wise to bury his father first was charged to spread the gospel instead. And the last who wanted to say goodbye to those he was to leave behind was judged unfit.
In our lives and in everything we do, it is neither my will nor yours that counts. We ought to seek the will of God in everything. Saint Francis of Assisi is a good example for us. He followed God’s will.
Bible Reading: 2Sam 7:1-14.
Thought for today: With God are enduring wealth and prosperity, cf. Prov 8:18.
Let us pray: Lord, direct our hearts to follow your will always – Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi – Pray for us.
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