HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI
THEME: BEING COMPASSIONATE TOWARDS OTHERS
BY: Fr. Francis Onwunali
HOMILY: We celebrate today, the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226). He was the son of a rich merchant, Bernardone, received a good education, and in the beginning followed the ways of the world. Later he abandoned everything for Christ. His father became extremely displeased at his action, and disinherited him. In 1220 he founded a new order called the Friars, which in ten years numbered five thousand brothers. Out of humility Francis never accepted the priesthood but remained a deacon all his life. He had a great love for God’s creatures and called them his brothers and sisters. His ardent love of God merited for him the name of Seraphic. This feast is celebrated today both in the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
One of the elements in today’s readings is being compassionate towards others. In the first reading (Jonah 1: 1-2: 1-2, 11), we are presented with the story of Jonah who tries to flee from God’s assigned mission but ended up in stormy waters and the belly of a fish. The sailor, though identified Jonah as the cause of their calamity, did everything to avoid throwing him overboard. They were ready to show compassion but the will of God which is always for our good must be fulfilled.
In the gospel (Luke 10: 25-37), Jesus presents the story of the Good Samaritan in answer to the Scribe who wants to know who is his neighbour.
- Dear friends, compassion literally means “suffering with the other”, which is what God did for us in Jesus Christ. It is a foreigner, a Samaritan, who “suffered with” the man beaten by armed robbers, while the “chosen one”, priest and levite, refused to be “God-like”. How do I react to the plight of others? Do I go out of my way to care for others? Or am I always self-centered?
I pray as we journey in life today, we will live our lives as ambassadors of God’s mercy and compassion. May we be willing to bring help to others even if they brought the challenges on themselves. May we be compassionate to others as God in Christ has been compassionate to us. Have a compassion-full day!
Fr. Francis Onwunali