Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, P. (26th May, 2018) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Saturday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time (II))

Jas 5:13-20;
Ps 140:1-3.8. (R. v. 2);
Mk 10:13-16.

Saint Philip Neri was born in Florence in the year 1515. He abandoned the chance to become a businessman and moved to Rome where he devoted his life and individuality to God. Philip Neri was ordained a priest at the urging of his confessor and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretences and illusions of others. He founded a religious institute, the Oratory. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety. Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. He died in the year 1595.[1]
Topic: Terrible yet persistent mistake.
Children are rightly referred to as the leaders of tomorrow or the tomorrow of today. Yet they were denied access to Jesus by His disciples in today’s gospel. Note that they never prevented the Pharisees, their scribes, the elders, and so on, who were the problems. The gospel further reads, “But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me....’”
Children rarely receive proper attention in the family, the schools, and most regrettably even the church. And we read often, “Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray” (Prov 22:6). The problem is where and how do we hope to achieve this divine mandate? This is because the parents are busy making money according to them for these children. The teachers are waiting for alerts from banks instead of teaching. In many churches, the children are not even allowed into the church whereas seats are reserved for those we hope will bring money for developmental projects for these children.
Our collective failure in the training of our children makes nonsense of all we do today for tomorrow. Jesus admonished us, “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you” (Matt 7:6). How do we treat our children who worth much more? We must remember that, “...the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs” (1Tim 6:10). Again, we ought to be contented with what we have because God has assured us, “I will never fail you nor forsake you” (Heb 13:5; cf. Deut 31:6, 8; Josh 1:5).
Bible Reading: Prov 4:1-27.
Thought for today: We define the future in the training of children.
Let us pray: God help us to understand and to take-up the task of training the children – Amen.
Saint Philip Neri – Pray for us.
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