Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Cecilia, V.M., (22nd November, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Friday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time (I))
1Chr 29:10-12. (R.v.13);
Saint Cecilia was born in Rome to an extremely rich family and was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. When she told Valerian that she had taken a vow of virginity and had an angel protecting her, he asked to see the angel. Following his baptism as instructed by Cecilia as a condition, he returned and found an angel at her side. The angel crowned Cecilia with a chaplet of rose and lily and when Valerian's brother, Tibertius, heard of the angel and his brother's baptism, he also was baptized and together they were burying the saints murdered by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius. They were arrested and executed. Cecilia was also later arrested and condemned. After unsuccessful trial to suffocate her in the baths, she was struck three times on the neck. She bled for three days preaching or praying. Saint Cecilia’s body was found in 1599 to be incorrupt and was transferred to Cecilia's titular church in Trastevere and placed under the high altar. She is the patroness of music and the first of all incorrupt saints.
Topic: Your temple is marked.
Jesus entered the temple in today’s gospel and drove out those selling things in the temple. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.”
The Jews were extorting so much money from the pilgrims. As a result of the material gain, they turned the temple into a den of robbers contrary to the divine decree.
In John’s account of Jesus’ cleaning of the temple, when the Jews demanded for a sign, Jesus said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19). They were shocked because the temple had been under construction for forty-six years. However, He was speaking about His body, cf. Jn 2:20-21.
Jesus’ cleansing of a temple made by human hands in today’s gospel ought to bring our minds to the real temple made by God Himself. Saint Paul queried, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own” (1Cor 6:19). Again, “...we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’” (2Cor 6:16). He sternly warned, “If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are” (1Cor 3:17). Saint Cecilia kept her body (God’s temple) so pure that not even death could corrupt it. We should emulate her and save our lives.
Bible Reading: 1Cor 6:12-20; 2Cor 6:14–7:1.
Thought for today: You are God’s temple.
Let us pray: God give us the grace always to be aware that our body is sacred and the grace to keep it holy as we ought – Amen (2Thess 3:16).
Saint Cecilia – Pray for us.
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