Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, V.D. (03rd October, 2019) on the Gospel and the Memorial
Ps 18:8-11. (R.v.9);
Therese Martin (2nd January, 1873 – 30th September, 1897) was the last of the children born to Louis and Zelie Martin. Following her mother’s death when she was 4, her father and sisters babied young Therese. She had a conversion on Christmas Eve in 1886. Therese entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux at the age of 15 and took the name Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She lived a hidden, simple life of prayer, and she was gifted with great intimacy with God. Therese lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God's love. She wrote, “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.” Her spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love. Through sickness and dark nights of doubt and fear, she remained faithful to God, rooted in His merciful love. She died after a long struggle with tuberculosis. Her last words were: “My God, I love You!” She was canonized by Pope Pius XI on 17th May, 1925. Pope Saint John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church in 1997.
Topic: Instruments of Peace.
Jesus sent His disciples in today’s gospel to places He intended to go with these words, “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’” (Lk 10:5). Why must ‘Peace to this house!’ be the first thing? They were sent to bring the unsearchable riches of Christ to the people (Eph 3:8); to preach Christ and not any other thing, cf. 2Cor 4:5.
Their mission is all about both vertical and horizontal peace. In the words of St. Paul, “he (Jesus) came and proclaimed peace to everybody” (Eph 2:17). Christ is our peace. He came and broke down the dividing wall of hostility among us and made us all one (Eph 2:14). But we keep building more walls. “Peace to this house!” is the summary of their message, the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15).
The peace we have in mind is True Peace which is of God, cf. 1Cor 1:3; 14:33; 2Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; 6:23. Hence Jesus said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). Although peace is of God, we must look for it. Borrowing the words of St. Paul, “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19). Anyone who wants peace must go to God, the source. Being at peace with God and with others is a sign that God is with us for God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1Cor 14:33). Saint John cautions, “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen” (1Jn 4:20). In the same vein, for one to be at peace with God, he/she must be at peace with others. St. Paul has this advice, “Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2Cor 13:11).
Christ brings peace to wherever He is welcomed. We must turn away from evil and do right and seek peace and pursue it (1Pt 3:11). Without peace and holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14). Every Christian is called to be an instrument of true peace.
Bible Reading: 1Jn 4:7-21; Gal 5:22-26.
Thought for today: Are you for peace or for war?
Let us pray with St Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life– Amen.
Saint Therese of the Child Jesus – Pray for us.
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