Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Alphonsus Liguori, B.D (1st August, 2016) on the Gospel and the Memorial

Jer 28:1-17;
Ps 118:29.43.79-80.95.102. (R. v.68);
Matt 14:13-21.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori (September 27, 1696 - August 1, 1787) was raised by a devout mother. He received his doctorate at the age of sixteen but later dropped secular life and was ordained on December 21, 1726. Saint Alphonsus founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) on November 9, 1732. He accepted the papal command to accept the see of St. Agatha of the Goths near Naples in 1762. For thirteen years he fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, and wrote. His austerities were rigorous, and he suffered daily the pain from rheumatism. In 1780, he was tricked into signing a submission for royal approval of his congregation which altered the original rule. Alphonsus was beatified in 1816, canonized in 1839, and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871. His writings on moral, theological, and ascetic matters especially his Moral Theology and his Glories of Mary had great impact and have survived through the years. He is the patron of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate.[1]

Topic: Caring for humankind.

On hearing about the death of John, Jesus went to a deserted place where He met a great crowd. He had compassion for them and cured their sick. In the evening, the disciples came up with this suggestion, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus replied, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” And not even the fact that they had only five loaves and two fish could change this. He took the five loaves and two fish, looked up to heaven, blessed, broke, and gave them to His disciples who shared them to the crowds already seated. After the crowds had their fill, they filled twelve baskets with the leftover.

God created humankind, cf. Gen 1:27; 2:7, 21-22. And every human being is made up of body and soul. And since creation, God cares for the whole person as replete in the bible. In the gospels especially, Jesus never forgot any part of human being. He also empowered His ministers to follow suit, cf. Matt 10:5-8; Lk 10:5-9.

Often, many tend to focus their whole attention on the soul and forget the body. And like the apostles, we always have so many reasons to support this. However, it is not right to take care of the soul and forget the body, and vice versa.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori we celebrate is a very good example. He followed the example of Christ and never forgot any part of human being. Hence, he fed the poor, instructed families, reorganized the seminary and religious houses, taught theology, wrote, and many more.

Bible Reading: 1Jn 3:11-24.

Thought for today: God loves and cares for human beings.

Let us pray: Lord, help us to care for the whole person and not for one part or another – Amen.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori – Pray for us.

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