Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, P.D (14th December, 2015)
(Monday of the Third Week of Advent (II)) on the Gospel and the Memorial

Num 24:2-7.15-17;
Ps 24:4-9 (R. v. 4)
Matt 21:23-27.

Saint John of the Cross was born in Spain in 1542. He became a Carmelite and was ordained a priest in 1567. Saint Theresa of Avila encouraged him to undertake the reform of his Order. He was strenuously opposed and suffered many trials and setbacks. He led a life of prayer which bore fruit in a number of writings that are classics of the mystical life which include The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night of the Soul, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love. His outstanding homilies, austerity of life, poetic genius and charity remain a living example[i].

Topic: Openness to truth.
In today’s gospel, as Jesus was teaching in the temple the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him and asked: “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus gave them a condition for answering their question: “Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” After arguing among themselves they decided to pitch their tent with ignorance.

And in the gospel according to Saint John, Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31-32). The reaction of the chief priests and the elders of the people shows that they were not seeking for the truth.

The Carmelite Order was disordered at the time Saint John of the Cross through the help of Saint Theresa of Avila undertook her reformation. The world in general and various areas we are in particular are certainly disordered. But the big question now is ‘who is Saint John of the Cross to reform our world?’ Certainly you are but you must be ready for oppositions and persecutions just as our Saint of today endured. Again, do not oppose or try to suppress the truth even when you feel that your stand is threatened.

Bible Reading: Matt 10:16-25.

Thought for today: You are called to reform the world starting from where you are.

Let us pray: Lord, help us to be agents of true change wherever we are – Amen.

Saint John of the Cross – Pray for us.

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[i] The Weekday Missal: A new edition (1995). HarperCollins Religious: London. p.1831.

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