HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ST TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, VIRGIN and MARTYR.
THEME: Before you, the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because he chose poverty. Those who would follow him must renounce every earthly possession.(st Teresa Benedicta of the cross).
BY: Fr. Diotacious Chikontwe SMA,
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY AUGUST 9 2022
*READINGS OF THE DAY*
Hosea 2:16 -17, 21-22
Ps 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17
Today we celebrate the memorial of St Teresa Benedicta of the cross also known as Edith Stein. She was born in 1891 in Poland, the youngest of seven children of a Jewish family. She was a brilliant student and gained a doctorate in philosophy at the age of 25. She lost her Jewish faith as a teenager. At the age of thirty she came upon the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. It captivated her and she became a Catholic a year later. In her forties, she felt a call to the religious life and she became a Carmelite in 1932 in the convent in Cologne. Both Jewish and Catholic, she fled to Holland when the Nazis came to power. When the Nazis invaded Holland, she was captured and sent to Auschwitz where she died in the gas chamber on 9th August 1942.
*FROM OUR FIRST READING OF TODAY*
in today’s first reading, God promises his people that he will speak to their heart in the wilderness. The Lord does not abandon us in our wilderness; he speaks to our heart when we are at our most vulnerable. God spoke a word of love to Jesus on the cross which brought him through death into risen life and he did the same for Edith Stein in her wilderness. The Lord will speak a word of love to our heart in our own wilderness moments.
*FROM THE GOSPEL READING OF THE DAY*
In the parable Jesus tells in today’s gospel reading, only some of the bridesmaids had their lamps lighting when the bridegroom arrived. When a child is baptized, the priest says to the parents, ‘keep the flame of faith alive in his/her heart’. The parable calls on us to keep that flame of faith alive in our hearts, in good times and in bad. The dark experiences of life can sometimes cause the flame of our faith to flicker or even go out.
The Lord will speak a word of love to our heart in our own wilderness moments. The Lord remains faithful to us, especially when we walk through fire. The life and death of Edith Stein encourages to remain faithful to the Lord in bad times as well as good. In the language of the parable in today’s gospel reading, she inspires us to keep the lamp of our faith burning brightly when all seems dark.
*REFERENCES AND SOURCES*
1. Berkman, Joyce A., ed. (2006). Contemplating Edith Stein. University of Notre Dame Press.
2. “Edith Stein” at EWTN.com.
3. “The Science of the Cross (CWES, vol. 6)”. ICS Publications.