HOMILY, SATURDAY 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
ST ALPHONSUS LIGUORI, B.D. [MERMORIAL]
[Born near Naples in 1696, Alphonsus earned degrees in civil and canon law. Later he gave up his profession as lawyer to become a priest. He was an outstanding apostle for the poor, an untiring write and preacher as well as a merciful confessor. He founded the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorist) to evangelise the poor. When he was appointed bishop he worked hard for the good of the people entrusted to him. He died in 1787.]
Jer 26:11-16.24, Matthew 14:1-12
In the face of apparent threat to his dear life, Jeremiah did not shrink. He rather delivered the Lord’s message to the princes and the people. In our today’s first’s reading, he said,
“But as for me, behold, I am in your hands Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”
More so, John the Baptist in today’s gospel did not keep silent when Herod, the king took his brother Philip’s wife. On account of this he suffered martyrdom.
Only God we must fear and not man. However, in our dealings with others, we must be very careful lest we unknowingly declare a battle with God. We must not be allergic to the truth. And we must not bury the truth for fear of attack. It is the Lord who can truly protect. The Lord made it clear when he said,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
It takes great courage to leave a legal profession so as to devote one’s life to serving the poor. Just like Jeremiah, St Alphonsus did not count the cost of leaving a lucrative job to follow Christ in the religious life. He followed the path of the lowly as he poured out his life for others.
We are all encouraged to surrender our lives to Jesus and do his bidding. He who holds the whole world in his palms will always plead our cause.
O Lord! In the face of apparent evil, give me the courage to speak your mind. Protect me against the fury of those who detest your ways. Thy kingdom come.