Homily (Reflection) for the Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, P., (31st July, 2021) on the Gospel and the Memorial


Lev 25:1.8-17;

Ps 66:2-3.5.7-8. (R. v.4);

Matt 14:1-12.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491- July 31, 1556) fought several battles as a soldier. In 1521, he was struck by a cannonball in the legs. He underwent several surgeries without anaesthetics. At a point, he was asked to prepare for death. However, on June 29, 1521, the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, he began to improve. Ignatius started to read the lives of the saints and Christ. Among his profound realizations was that some thoughts brought him happiness and others sorrow and that two powerful forces were acting upon him. Evil brought him unpleasant thoughts while God brought him happiness. He discerned God's call, and began a new way of life, following God instead of men. On March 25, 1522, he entered the Benedictine monastery. His time in prayer and contemplation helped him to understand himself better. He also gained a better understanding of God and God's plan for him. He became friends with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier while at school in Paris and led them in his spiritual exercises. Other men soon joined their exercises and became followers of Ignatius. Pope Paul III received the group and approved them as an official religious order in 1540. Ignatius was elected as their first leader. They called themselves the Society of Jesus. Some dubbed them “Jesuits” in an attempt to disparage them. By virtue of their good work the label lost its negative connotation. The order was responsible for much of the work of stopping the spread of the Protestant Reformation. They advocated the use of reason to persuade others and combat heresy. Ignatius was beatified by Pope Paul V on July 27, 1609 and canonized on March 12, 1622. He is the patron saint of the Society of Jesus, soldiers, educators and education.[1]

Topic: When ego turns centric.

When Herod heard about Jesus, he said that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead. He bound and imprisoned him because John condemned his adulterous union with his brother’s (Philip’s) wife. Herod would have killed him but he feared the crowd who regarded him as a prophet. However, the daughter of Herodias’ dance on his birthday made him to promise on oath to grant whatever she might ask. Following her mother’s prompting she requested, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” Although Herod was grieved yet he instructed that John’s head be given to the girl because of his oath and his guests. The girl took it to her mother.

When Herod could think about someone else, he thought about himself. He commanded that John’s head be given to the girl because he was thinking about himself alone. Otherwise, what else could have removed the fear of the crowd in him? His thought of his oath and what his guests would think of him carried the day. The anger in Herodias set fire that could not be quenched by Herod’s feeling of extreme sadness.

Often we see both Herod and Herodias at play in us. Let no one allow anger to lead him/her into sin, cf. Eph 4:26. And “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jas 1:19). We are nothing without God, cf. 2Cor 3:5. We must glorify God in everything we do, cf. 1Cor 6:20.

Bible Reading: 2Cor 4:1-10.

Thought for today: Worship God alone.

Let us pray: May God help us to do His will always – Amen.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola – Pray for us.

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