Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, B.D., (15th July, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial

(Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time (I))


Ex 3:13-20;

Ps 104:1.5.8-9.24-27. (R. v. 8);

Matt 11:28-30.

Saint Bonaventure, known as ‘the seraphic doctor’ was born at Bagnorea in Tuscany, in 1221. At twenty-two he entered the Franciscan Order. He was chosen General of his Order at the age of thirty-five and restored a perfect calm where peace had been disturbed by internal dissensions. Saint Bonaventure composed The Life of Saint Francis, and also assisted at the translation of the relics of Saint Anthony of Padua. Pope Gregory X made him a Cardinal and Bishop of Albano. He died at the Second Council of Lyons on 15th July, 1274.[1] Saint Bonaventure was canonised on 14th April, 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.[2]

Topic: Where disparity lies.

In today’s gospel, Jesus invites all that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens to rest. They are to take His yoke upon them and learn from Him who is gentle and humble in heart to find rest for their souls. He concludes, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Carrying burden (suffering) frightens. Jesus explained the necessity of His burden, cf. Matt 16:21; Mk 8:31. 9:12; Lk 9:22. 17:25. 24:26.46; Acts 3:18. He also rebuked Peter who wished Him otherwise, cf. Matt 16:22-23.

Many think that Jesus promises a burden free life. However, it is only an exchange of heavy burdens with His light one. The early disciples’ understanding of Christ’s burden made them rightly count it as a blessing, cf. Acts 5:41; Phil 1:29; 2Tim 1:12; 1Cor 6:7.

Jesus did not ask us to go about looking for burden to carry, cf. Matt 10:23. However, it can be God’s will, cf. Acts 9:16; 1Pt 4:19. Christian suffering can be likened to the water of Marah. It remained so until Moses threw a piece of wood God showed him into the water, cf. Ex 15:23-25a. That wood is a symbol of the cross of Christ. Burden loses its frightening quality when it is for the sake of Christ. Christ’s burden is a means of salvation (the crown of life) to those who endured to the end, cf. Matt 10:22; Rev 2:10. The gain of every Christian burden far outweighed their pains, cf. Rom 8:18. Hence, the Igbo adage, uru anaghị anyị arọ literally meaning that profit can never be said to be too much.

Bible Reading: 1Pt 3:8-22. 4:12-19.

Thought for today: Suffering is not a bad omen.

Let us pray: Lord, grant us the strength to stand every trial – Amen.

Saint Bonaventure – Pray for us.

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