Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Clare, V., (11th August, 2016) on the Gospel and the Memorial

Ezek 12:1-12;
Ps 77:56-59.61-62. (R. cf. v.7);
Matt 18:21–19:1.

Saint Clare of Assisi (16th July, 1194 – 11th August, 1253) was born in Assisi as Chiara Offreduccio. The preaching of Saint Francis of Assisi during Lent when she was 18 made her sought for his guidance. She joined the convent of the Benedictine nuns of San Paulo, near Bastia, under Francis’ orders. Her father tried unsuccessfully to force her back into his home. Other women who desired to be brides of Jesus later joined her and were known as the “Poor Ladies of San Damiano”. They lived a simple life of austerity, seclusion, and poverty, according to a Rule which Francis gave them as a Second Order. They wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house, and kept silent most of the time. Their lives consisted of manual labour and prayer. The city of Assisi was protected from the attack of an army of rough soldiers from Frederick II in 1224 through her intercession before the Blessed Sacrament. She died on 11th August, 1253. At Pope Innocent's request, her process of canonization began immediately. She was canonized as Saint Clare of Assisi in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV. The Order of Poor Ladies was officially changed to the Order of Saint Clare in 1263 by Pope Urban IV. She is the patron saint of television, eye disease, goldsmiths, and laundry.[1]

Topic: It is the cheapest.

Peter asked Jesus whether one is required to forgive seven times. Jesus replied, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.” He further gave a parable in which a king forgave a servant who could not pay ten thousand talents he owed because he pleaded. The same servant met a fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii. He seized him by the throat and demanded his money. His fellow servant pleaded with him, but he refused and threw him into prison. When the king heard it, he summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?” Jesus concludes the parable saying,

And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

A denarius was the usual day’s wage for a labourer. And a talent was worth more than fifteen years’ wages of a labourer. Compare the two debts. Again, what is the possibility of the wicked servant paying his entire debt?

The Psalmist writes, “...he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand” (Ps 95:7). In the words of Saint Paul, “...whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8). Again, “...we are the temple of the living God” (2Cor 6:16). In sum, we are not our own, cf. 1Cor 6:19. Therefore, whatever wrong one does even those against oneself is done to God. Just imagine the magnitude. Like the wicked servant, nobody can pay back what he/she owes God, cf. Ps 49:7-8. Hence, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered” (Ps 32:1).

Saint Clare radically followed Jesus Christ that even popes persuaded her mitigate the practice. We ought to follow her example especially with regard to forgiving others. The cheapest and only way to receive forgiveness is to forgive others.

Bible Reading: Matt 6:9-15; Eph 1:3-7; Col 1:11-14.

Thought for today: ...forgive, and you will be forgiven (Lk 6:37).

Let us pray: Lord, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors – Amen.

Saint Clare – Pray for us.

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