Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Boniface, B.M., (05th June, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 89:2-188.8.131.52. (R. v.1);
Saint Boniface (c. 675–754), known as the apostle of the Germans, was an English Benedictine monk who gave up being elected abbot to devote his life to the conversion of the Germanic tribes. On his first missionary journey in 719 at the request of Pope Gregory II, paganism was a way of life. What Christianity he did find had either lapsed into paganism or was mixed with error. The clergy were mainly responsible for these latter conditions since they were in many instances uneducated, lax and questionably obedient to their bishops. In particular instances their very ordinations were questionable. The Holy Father instructed him to reform the German Church and gave him letters to the religious and civil leaders. He was made a regional bishop and authorized to organize the whole German Church. In the Frankish kingdom, he met great problems because of lay interference in bishops’ elections, the worldliness of the clergy and lack of papal control. During a final mission to the Frisians, Boniface and 53 companions were massacred while he was preparing converts for confirmation.
Topic: The things that are Caesar’s.
Many people are involved in lots of syncretistic practices. Often they claim to be doing what Christ asks of us; “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperors, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk 12:17).
In today’s gospel we see what such people quote out of context. The chief priests, the scribes and the elders sent some of the Pharisees and some Herodians to trap Jesus. They said to Him,
Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and show difference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not? (Mk 12:14-15)
Their question was about paying taxes and never about syncretistic practices. The Lord through prophet Ezekiel describes the righteous in part as people who do not lift up their eyes to the idols, cf. Ezek 18:6.12.15. We remember that idols are the work of human hands, cf. Ps 115:4. And God does not approve of giving His glory to any other thing, cf. Is 42:8. Accordingly, whoever engages in idol worship provokes God and stirs Him to jealousy, cf. Deut 32:21. Hence, He warns us never to defile ourselves with idols, cf. Ezek 20:18.
We must be careful lest we lose our very selves in the bid of gaining the world. Such venture profits us nothing, cf. Mk 8:36; Lk 9:25. We ought to imitate Saint Boniface who did not only serve God but also helped others to do likewise.
Bible Reading: Ps 135:1-21.
Thought for today: God created us for His glory (cf. Is 43:7).
Let us pray: Lord, you created us for your glory. Help us to fulfil your divine plan in our lives – Amen.
Saint Boniface – Pray for us.
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