Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, B.D., (02nd May, 2020) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 115:12-17 (R. v. 12);
Saint Athanasius was born at Alexandria about the year 296 of Christian parents and was educated under the eye of Alexander who later became his Bishop. He spent some time in the desert with St. Anthony. Athanasius was ordained a deacon in 319. He assisted his Bishop at the Council of Nicaea in 325, where his influence began to be felt. On Alexander’s death bed, he recommended St. Athanasius as his successor which paved way to his unanimous election as Patriarch in 326.
His refusal to tolerate the Arian heresy was the cause of many trials and persecutions for St. Athanasius. He spent seventeen of the forty-six years of his episcopate in exile. St. Athanasius died on May 2, 373.
Topic: It is always better.
When Jesus’ disciples heard yesterday’s gospel (Jn 6:52-59) they said: “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” Jesus explained, “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” The gospel further reads, “Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.”
Imagine what a pastor (priests inclusive) will do if he/she finds him/herself between telling the people the truth that will cost him/her some members of the congregation and retaining all or even gaining more if he/she lies? Think also of what parents, business men/women, civil servants, politicians, and so on will do if one finds him/herself in a similar condition. But “Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’” And to this Peter replied, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
It is always better to tell the people the truth. Surely, sometimes it may cost something. However Jesus never mutilated the truth for any reason. Building on lies is tantamount to building on the sand, cf. Lk 6:46-49.
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Lying can never be preaching the gospel of Christ. Whoever is lying for whatever reason in the name of preaching can only best preach the devil, who “is a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44) and never Christ. The people ought to look for Jesus Christ who is the truth and not for His ministers. Minsters have no reason to lie in the name of preaching. Only the truth will set us free, cf. Jn 8:32. Saint Athanasius is a good example for all emulate.
Bible Reading: 1Cor 3:1-23.
Thought for today: God knows those who are his, cf. 2Tim 2:19.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to realise like the twelve that you have the words of eternal life – Amen.
Saint Athanasius – Pray for us.
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