Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, Rel., (4th October, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 78:1-5.8-9. (R. v.9);
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: God’s goodness.
Jesus used very strong words against Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because they did not repent after miracles performed in them. He warned, “But at the judgement it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for” Chorazin, and Bethsaida. Again, that Capernaum “will be brought down to Hades.”
It is easier for us to condemn these cities for their unrepentant spirit. However, the Psalm reads, “the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Ps 100:5). Unequivocally, the Psalmist testified that God has blessed us, cf. Ps 67:6, 7. Saint Paul also testified that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing...” (Eph 1:3).
Repentance is not something abstract. It can be seen and felt. Hence, John the Baptist said to the crowds, “Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’” (Lk 3:8). And for Saint James, faith apart from works is dead, cf. Jas 2:17.
We have seen miracles of which our life is the chief. But just like the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, many have not repented. We must remember always that God’s goodness demands positive response from us, the recipients.
Bible Reading: Ps 67:1-7; Eph 1:3-14.
Thought for today: Responding to His goodness.
Let us pray: Lord, help us live lives of testimony to your goodness – Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi – Pray for us.
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