HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. CECILIA.
THEME: REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE END.
BY: Fr Francis Onwunali.
HOMILY FOR NOVEMBER 22.
Today, the Holy Mother Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr. St. Cecilia is one of the most famous and most venerated of Roman martyrs and her name is placed in the canon of the Mass. Not much is known of her history, however, legend has it that she was martyred together with her husband, St. Valerian and her brother in-law, St. Tiburtius whom she converted to Christianity. She stood for her faith in Christ Jesus her redeemer. From the middle ages she has been honoured as patroness of Church music.
The readings of today present to us a scary scenario of the events of the end of time. In the first reading (Rev 14: 14-19), the Book of Revelation speaks of the “time of harvest” where heavenly beings are armed with sickle. The good fruits are harvested and preserved while the bad are thrown into the “winepress of God’s anger”.
In the gospel (Luke 21: 5-11), our Lord Jesus not only speaks of the destructive end of the Jerusalem Temple, the pride of Israel, but also speaks of a time of false prophecy, wars, and natural disasters, all before the end of time.
Dear friends, if we live in this state of tension and calamity, then our hope in the Lord who conquered death to give us life is in vain. Yes, “it is in regard to death that man’s condition is most in doubt” (GS, 18), however, for those who believe and live in Christ, “the image of the Last Judgment is not an image of terror, but an image of hope” (Spe Salvi, 44). It evokes responsibility and fulfilment. That is why Christ said: do not be afraid in the face of all these calamities (cf. Lk 21).
I pray that as we journey in life today, we may remain focus in the face of turmoil coming to us physically and spiritually. It is often on the lips of our Saviour: “your faith has saved you”. May we cling to the One who is victorious over all. Have a faith-full day!