Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, B., (11th November, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 138:1-10. (R. v.24);
Saint Martin of Tours was born in the present day Hungary either in 316 or 336 AD. He became a Christian at the age of 10. As a young soldier, he encountered a naked beggar in Amiens. He cut his cloak with his sword into two halves and gave one to the beggar. That night, he had a vision in which Christ appeared and said to him, “Martin, a mere catechumen has clothed me.” When he was about 20 years old, he made it clear to his superiors that he would no longer fight, following his formed Christian conscience, but his superiors accused him of cowardice. Although he vehemently refused the bishopric, he was ordained the bishop of Tours in 371 and he became a holy and hardworking Bishop. He established a system of parishes to manage his diocese and visited each parish at least once per year. He passionately and faithfully proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and won many to the Christian faith. Martin died in Candes-Saint-Martin, Gaul in 397. He is the patron of the poor, soldiers, conscientious objectors, tailors, and winemakers.
Topic: Leading others astray.
Today’s gospel is taken from the sayings of Jesus on scandal, forgiveness, and faith. Our homily is focused on scandal.
Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come! It would be better for you if a millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble.
It is very important to mark the strong words Jesus used in this warning. Death will not even be enough punishment. Such persons are not worthy of having their tombs marked, hence, a millstone around the neck. These words of Jesus can be likened to the words He used about His would be betrayer, cf. Matt 26:24; Mk 14:21.
Stumbling/scandal can come through one’s actions, words, and inactions. Sometimes one is entangled in this mess just to achieve one ulterior motive or the other. One must do, say, and avoid what he/she ought to. All must be very careful to avoid whatever is wrong because what one considers light may not be so for the other person, cf. 1Cor 8: 4-13. Saint Martin of Tours we celebrate today brought people to Christ instead of scandalising them.
Bible Readings: Mal 2:1-9.
Thought for today: Neither stumble nor make anyone stumble.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to gather every creature to you through our words, actions, and inactions – Amen.
Saint Martin of Tours – Pray for us.
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