Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Teresa of Ávila, V.D., (15th October, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Gal 4:22-24.26-27.31 – 5:1;
Ps 112:1-7. (R. v.2);
Saint Teresa of Ávila (28th March, 1515 - 4th October, 1582) was born in Ávila, Spain. As a teenager, she cared only about boys, clothes, flirting, and rebelling. At the age of 16, she was sent to a convent because her father saw her as one out of control. She started to learn and practice mental prayer when she was installed a permanent member of the Carmelite Order. Everyone liked her and she liked to be liked. This however often led her to ignore God. Although wasn't sinning, but she was very attached to her friends until God asked her to stop. God then always came first in her life. At the age of 43, she resolved to found a new convent that would embrace a simple life of poverty and devoted to prayer. She was opposed from both religious and secular circles. However, soon she had postulants clamouring to get into her reformed convents. Her ideas about prayer swept not only through Spain but all of Europe. She died at the age of 67, beatified on 24th April, 1614 by Pope Paul V, and canonized on 12th March, 1622 by Pope Gregory XV. Teresa was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1970 for her writing and teaching on prayer. She is the founder of the Discalced Carmelites and the patron saint of Headache sufferers.
Topic: Numerical increment.
Just imagine what the comment of a bishop, a priest or a pastor will be like when he/she observes that his/her congregation is increasing. Certainly, majority will not only fan themselves but it will also form the headline in a good number of publications that the church or ministry is booming.
However, in today’s gospel, as the crowds increased, Jesus said,
This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.
Everybody, both those who occupy leadership positions in the church and the rest of the members must consider seriously what they search for in the house of God – God or something else? And all the leaders – the bishops, priests, General overseers, pastors, prophets, prophetesses, and so on must look beyond the number in the church and/or the ministry.
Numerical increment does not signify increment in faith. And without faith, we can never please God, cf. Heb 11:6. The major problem we have in the world today is not the number of Christians but the increasing lack of faith among Christians. If up to 10 percent of those who go by the name, Christians, are truly Christians, the world will not be what it is today. It would have been far a better place. There is urgent need for us to look for the increment in faith and not in number. Strong faith attracts greater number. We need to sincerely ask God to increase our faith through the intercession of Saint Teresa of Ávila.
Bible Reading: Jude 3:3-23.
Thought for today: Jesus is the Way not signs, cf. Jn 14:6.
Let us pray: Lord, assist us to look for you and not for your signs – Amen.
Saint Teresa of Ávila – Pray for us.
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