HOMILY FOR THE MEMORIAL OF ST. BONAVENTURE (15/7/2020 )
THEME: LORD, WHO AM I WITHOUT YOU?
To answer the question above I must say that every human person is a product of both mercy and grace. You will hear words like: I am a great man/woman. I am intelligent. I am rich. I am handsome. I am beautiful. I am organized. I am skillful. I am successful. I am great. I am disciplined. I am focus. All these are courtesy of God’s grace and mercy.
However, saddening it’s, that most of us are swift to forget this. We’re swift to forget that we’re nothing without God. We’re swift to forget that our achievements are not a result of our hard work alone. But it’s 80% grace and just 20% effort. And so, it’s easy for us to brag, pride ourselves around and look down on every other person. We feel that whatever we want we can get because we’re powerful. But shall the axe magnify itself over he who wields it? This is the existential context of today’s message.
As we all know, Pride goes before a fall.
In the preceding text of today’s Gospel (Mt. 11:2-27), Jesus expresses joy and gratitude to his father for hiding the mysteries of the kingdom from the learned and clever (the I.T.Ks) and revealing to little ones. And in today’s Gospel Mt. 11:28-30), Jesus invites us to come to him with our heavy burdens and he will lighten them for us. But in addition or as a condition, we must learn from him to be humble and gentle of heart.
Concomitantly, the man we celebrate today is a product of grace. The parents sought him and the Lord gave them as a blessing and so they named him Bona-ventura which means, “Good Fortune.” He lived his entire life relying on God’s grace. He believed he couldn’t do anything without God’s enablement. He was humble and gentle of heart. Despite his wealth of knowledge, he surrendered wholly and entirely to God. His level of intimacy with God won him the title, Seraphic Doctor.
Beloved in Christ, whatever we become in life; however far we go in life; even if we get to the apex of success, the pinnacle of riches and the top of the pyramid of knowledge. We must always remember, that it’s grace that has brought us safe thus far. And it’s grace that will lead us home. It has been God all the way. We must remember that a second can change the story. A minute is enough for the table to turn around. So let’s not boast and pride over nothing. For, what are we without God? Instead, humility and simplicity should be our garments, face mask and face shield. And the Lord will protect us and lighten our burdens.