A LIFE TRANSFORMED BY DIVINE LOVE: ST. ALPHONSUS MARY DE’ LIGUORI
First Reading: Exodus 33:7-11,34:5-9,28
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 102(103):6-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 13:36-43
In the annals of time, the threads of divine love and human response are intricately woven together to create remarkable stories of saints who have left an indelible mark on the world. Among these luminous figures stands Saint Alphonsus Mary de’ Liguori, a Bishop, and Doctor of the Church, whose life bears witness to the transformative power of God’s love. Today, as we commemorate the feast of Saint Alphonsus, we are invited to delve into the life of this remarkable saint and explore the theme of divine love and its profound impact on human existence. As we journey through the readings, we will discern how Saint Alphonsus’ profound understanding of divine love shaped his theology and inspired his life’s work.
The First Reading from Exodus (33:7-11, 34:5-9, 28) narrates the encounter between Moses and the Lord on Mount Sinai. In this powerful exchange, Moses is granted the extraordinary privilege of being in the presence of God. This encounter reflects the essence of divine love, where the Almighty reveals His true nature as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6) Such profound attributes of God’s love were at the core of Saint Alphonsus’ theological teachings. He emphasized the boundless mercy of God and His unwavering love for humanity. In his writings, especially “The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ” (in original Italian: “Pratica dell’amore verso Gesù Cristo”), Saint Alphonsus extolled the concept of divine love as the fountainhead of redemption and the source of hope for all who seek God’s embrace.
The Responsorial Psalm (102/103:6-13) echoes the theme of divine love as the psalmist declares, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8) These words reverberate with Saint Alphonsus’ deep understanding of God’s compassion and clemency. Through his works, such as “The Glories of Mary” and “The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ,” Saint Alphonsus invited believers to enter into a personal relationship with God’s love and experience the transforming power of His mercy. He saw divine love as the remedy for human sinfulness, a love that could heal even the most wounded hearts and bring about spiritual renewal.
Our Gospel Reading from Matthew (13:36-43) presents the parable of the weeds and the wheat, where Jesus reveals the coexistence of good and evil in the world until the final judgment. Saint Alphonsus, in his spiritual teachings, emphasized the reality of human frailty and sinfulness. He acknowledged the presence of weeds in the fields of human hearts but directed believers to focus on cultivating the wheat of God’s love and grace. Saint Alphonsus emphasized that God’s love and forgiveness are always available, no matter the depth of one’s sins. Just as the Gospel passage affirms that the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father, Saint Alphonsus encouraged souls to strive for holiness and live in the radiance of divine love.
Throughout his life, Saint Alphonsus exemplified the transformative power of divine love. He founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) to spread the message of God’s love and mercy, particularly among the poor and marginalized. He lived a life of self-denial and dedicated himself to the service of God’s people. Saint Alphonsus’ prolific writings and theological reflections continue to inspire and guide countless souls on the path of divine love and spiritual renewal.
Dear friends in Christ, the life of Saint Alphonsus Mary de’ Liguori stands as a testament to the transformative power of divine love. His profound understanding of God’s mercy and compassion shaped his theology and inspired his life’s work. Today, as we celebrate this great Bishop and Doctor of the Church, let us be inspired by his example and immerse ourselves in the depths of divine love. May we embrace God’s mercy, seek His forgiveness, and allow His love to transform us, just as it did in the life of Saint Alphonsus. Through the intercession of this great saint, may we grow in holiness and become beacons of God’s love and mercy in a world that thirsts for the transformative power of divine love.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
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