Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Clare, V., (11th August, 2017) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time (I))

Deut 4:32-40;
Ps 76:12-16.21. (R. v. 12);
Matt 16:24-28.

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. At Pope Innocent's request, her process of canonization began immediately after her death. 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: Behind the cross.
In today’s gospel, Jesus said to His disciples,
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Cross in general has very scaring face and many find it very difficult looking beyond the scaring face. However, behind the cross is the glory to be revealed, cf. 1Pt 1:5; 5:1. Hence Saint Paul writes, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18). Again, “I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2Tim 1:12).
As one runs away from cross, let us remember Christ’s warning, “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (Jn 12:25). To be with Christ, one must carry his/her own cross. Saint Clare we celebrate today understood this very well. She followed Jesus without leaving her cross behind. We ought to remember always, “the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1Cor 1:18).
Bible Reading: 1Pt 4:12-19.
Thought for today: Glorification follows suffering with Christ, cf. Rom 8:17.
Let us pray: May God help us see beyond the scaring face of the cross – Amen.
Saint Clare – Pray for us.
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