HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA/ SATURDAY OF THE 17TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME:
“Virtue and holiness of life can do a great deal, almost everything, with men, as well as with God”- St. Ignatius of Loyola. We celebrate today, the Memorial of this great saint, Ignatius of Loyola, who experienced tremendous transformation because of his encounter with the Divine. Ignatius, was born of a noble Spanish family, and as a soldier, was wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on 20 May 1521. It was during his recuperation that he encountered God and his life was transformed through reading the biographies of the saints and Life of Christ. He later on founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits.
Today’s gospel (Matt. 14: 1-12) gives account of a life lived in guilt and its consequences. King Herod, the most powerful and wealthy man in Judea, had everything he wanted, except a clear conscience and peace with God. Out of his self desires, he beheaded John the Baptist, and now is being haunted by his past failures and sinfulness. Have you ever stood against the innocent? Or is your life ridden with guilt of your past life?
The first reading (Lev. 25: 1, 8-17) presents the announcing of the Jubilee Year, a year of Repentance, Release, Return, Restoration and Redemption.
Dear friends, the Lord Jesus gives grace and help to the humble, to those who acknowledge their weaknesses and their sinfulness, and who look to God for his mercy and pardon, wisdom and strength. His grace not only frees us from guilty conscience, it enables us to pursue holiness in every area of our lives, in our thoughts and intentions as well as our words and actions.
I pray as we journey in life today, we will rely on God’s grace to free our conscience from guilt and live in freedom. May we work to restore our relationship both with God and our neighbour. “May God have pity on us and bless us; may His face shine upon us” (Ps. 67: 2-3). Have a freedom-full day!
Fr. Francis Onwunali