Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, B.D., (02nd May, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 121:1-5. (R. cf. v. 1);
Saint Athanasius was born at Alexandria about the year 296 of Christian parents and was educated under the eye of Alexander who later became his Bishop. He spent some time in the desert with St. Anthony. Athanasius was ordained a deacon in 319. He assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea in 325, where his influence began to be felt. On Alexander’s death bed, he recommended St. Athanasius as his successor which paved way to his unanimous election as Patriarch in 326.
His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. St. Athanasius died on May 2, 373.
Topic: Branches of the vine.
Jesus used the parable of the vine to illustrate the connection between Him and His disciples. His Father, the vinegrower prunes fruitful branches to bear more and removes unfruitful branches to wither and be thrown into the fire. His disciples were pruned by His words. And He warned,
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
Saint Paul tells us that we become part of Christ (Christians) to bear fruits for God, cf. Rom 7:4. Good tree bears good fruit whereas bad tree bears bad fruit, cf. Lk 6:43; Matt 7:18. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and the Sadducees who came to him for baptism, “Bear fruit that befits repentance” (Matt 3:8; cf. Lk 3:8). And in line with today’s gospel, John the Baptist went ahead and warned, “Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matt 3:10). Jesus also gave the same warning, cf. Matt 7:19.
Each and every one of us must therefore prove that he/she is worthy of remaining part of the vine by bearing good fruits. And the desired fruits include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, cf. Gal 5:22-23a. Our Father is glorified by bearing much good fruits. And He will glorify those who glorified Him like Saint Athanasius who amidst difficulties glorified Him, cf. Jn 13:32; 2Tim 2:11-12.
Bible Reading: Matt 7:15-20; Gal 5:16-26.
Thought for today: One must bear fruits to live.
Let us pray: God, help us bear good fruits to remain part of the vine – Amen.
Saint Athanasius – Pray for us.
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