Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Anthony, Abb, (17th January, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Wednesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time (II))
1Sam 17:32-33.37.40-51;
Ps 143:1-2.9-10. (R. v.1);
Mk 3:1-6.

Saint Anthony was born about the year 260AD in Egypt. When his parents died, he gave his inheritance to the poor, and went into the desert, where he lived a life of penance. Many came to follow him, and he is known as the father of monks. He supported those who suffered for the faith under the persecutions of Diocletian, and helped Saint Athanasius in his fight against the Arians. He died in 356.[1]
Topic: Before every good work.
In today’s gospel, Jesus met a man with a withered hand in the synagogue. The gospel reads, “They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.” Jesus called the man out and questioned them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” They were silent. After looking around at them in anger, He cured the man with a withered hand and immediately, the Pharisees went out and conspired with the Herodias against Him.
Jesus faced the people who were looking for what to accuse Him with in today’s gospel. However, He was undaunted and went ahead to do good. Hence, the bible tells us that “he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38).
In like manner, we face various challenges doing good works. We are to follow the steps of Jesus and do good always. He admonishes,
I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who will kill the body, and after that can do nothing more.... fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Lk 12:5-6)
Imitate Jesus who go about doing good always. However, never forget that before every good deed are challenges. We are to face them bravely. The battle is not ours but God’s, cf. 1Sam 17:47; Lk 12:11-12. Again, Saint Anthony we celebrate today supported the poor, those being persecuted, and Saint Athanasius in the fight against Arians. We must support our brothers and sisters who suffer especially on account of their faith.
Bible Reading: Lk 12:4-12.
Thought for today: Be brave.
Let us pray: Lord, give us the strength to overcome every obstacle that stands on our way – Amen.
Saint Anthony – Pray for us.
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[1] The Weekday Missal: A new edition (1995). London: HarperCollins Religious, p. 1377.

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