Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Francis de Sales, B.D. (24th January, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
(Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time (I))
Ps 39:7-10.17. (R. cf. vv. 8.9);
Saint Francis de Sales (21st August, 1567 – 28th December, 1622) was born to a noble family at Chateau de Sales. His father destined him to be a lawyer and strongly opposed his desire to become a priest. He was later ordained and elected provost of the Diocese of Geneva. Francis set out to convert Calvinists by preaching and distributing the little pamphlets he wrote to explain true Catholic doctrine with remarkable success. He became bishop of Geneva at 35. While administering his diocese he continued to preach, hear confessions, and catechize the children. His gentle character was a great asset in winning souls. He practiced his own axiom, “A spoonful of honey attracts more flies than a barrelful of vinegar.” Besides his two well-known books, the Introduction to the Devout Life and A Treatise on the Love of God, he wrote many pamphlets and carried on a vast correspondence. He addressed his writings to lay people to make them understand that they too are called to be saints. He collaborated with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal in establishing the Sisters of the Visitation. Saint Francis de Sales is the patron of the Catholic Press.
Topic: Pressing upon Jesus.
Many people from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond Jordan and the region around Tyre and Sidon followed Jesus in today’s gospel because they heard all He was doing. All who had diseases pressed upon him to touch Him because He had cured many. And to avoid being crushed a boat was prepared for Him.
Today many still look for Jesus because of the challenges they have as can be testified by the rush for both real and fake powerful men/women of God. Most of these in actual fact search not for Jesus but for solutions to their problems both real and imaginary. Many in the house of God today are after the desires of their body. We often forget that we should walk by the Spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. The desires of the flesh are against the will of God, cf. Gal 5:16-17.
Most regrettably, many have gone astray in the process of seeking for solutions instead of Christ, cf. 1Tim 6:10. Many are ready for anything including sacrificing their faith on any altar that promises them what they look for. Christ warns us,
...those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them, if they gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” (Matt 16:26; cf. Lk 9:25)
The only way out is to look for Jesus. He assures us, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Matt 6:33). Saint Francis de Sales we celebrate today preached the true faith and addressed his works to the laity to help them realise that all are called to become saints.
Bible Reading: Jn 21:15-19.
Thought for today: Look for Jesus Christ and not for His signs.
Let us pray: May God help us decide for Him alone – Amen.
Saint Francis de Sales – Pray for us.
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