Tuesday, 2 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate together the love of God for us mankind, which He had shown by giving us Jesus, His own Son to bring this world and all mankind into salvation and eternal life with Him in heaven. And today we heard how Jesus performed His miracles, casting out demons and healing the sick as He ministered to the people of God, doing many good works.

Jesus showed us hope and strength by showing that evil and death has no power over us, and over all those who had put their trust in the Lord. Those who trust in the Lord will never be disappointed, for God will care for them and protect them, all the days of their lives. And through Jesus we have been given the Spirit of God, that is the Holy Spirit, who passed through the Son from the Father, and who revealed to us the truth about our Lord and God.

Those who belong to the spiritual world, that is the Spirit of God and the holy angels who serve the Lord, all are beyond our ability and physical senses to be able to detect them and know them, and yet through the Spirit and the revelations given to us through the Church, we know that they are there, and they are around us, and within us, that is the Spirit of God which had been placed in us.

And even the evil spirits, the allies and the servants of Satan, which we witnessed in the men possessed at the time when Jesus was ministering in Capernaum, knew Jesus and understood His true nature fully, for they too, once belonged to the same order of angels that served the Lord. They followed Lucifer, the evil one who fell and be trapped in his own pride, and entered into a rebellion against God, and thus they were together cast away from heaven.

God is truly loving towards us, and we are truly the most beloved and the greatest among His creations, created in the very image of God and be awakened with the very Spirit that came from the breath of God. Do you notice this? The Lord Himself breathed life into us through His Spirit, that dwelled in us and made us whole. Yet, we too fell when our ancestors followed Satan into his rebellion by listening to Satan and disobeying the will of God.

But the Lord gave us such a grace, that we are given another opportunity through life to redeem ourselves, and through the sending of many prophets and messengers that carried on the will and word of God to us, which all are aimed at our salvation and redemption from destruction and eternal damnation that is our fate. Yes, the fate of all who had defied the will of God and rebelled against His love is death, and yet, the Lord wanted us to know that we have no need for fear, as long as we put our complete trust in Him.

Satan and his angels, the evil spirits, were not given a second chance, and indeed, they remained in their rebellion and hatred of the Lord and all of His creations, that they are truly beyond any form of redemption. It is not the same for us humans, for God had made us special and to be the greatest and most beloved of all of His creatures.

Satan who tempted and made our ancestors to fall into sin certainly did not remain quiet and passive throughout this. In fact, he had marshalled all of his forces in the world and beyond, and he launched strikes after strikes at us mankind, so that more and more may fall with him and to suffer together in eternal damnation and separation from God. But the Lord who knows all and who created all had other plan for us.

He showed that He is truly in control, and He cast out the demons to show it clearly to them and to men, that in God, everything is possible, and that He is truly the One whom everyone ought to praise and worship. All honour belongs to God and to Him alone. And if He cares for us and loves us beyond everything else, then we are truly blessed, for we share in the Lord, the promise of salvation which He had made to us through Jesus.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we all need to come to a greater realisation that God is with us, and that He has placed within us His Spirit, so that we may know the great works of Jesus, and by listening to the readings from the Holy Scriptures today, we are made aware of the assurances given to us by the Lord, who promised to protect us and guide us on our way, rebuking forever and rejecting forever the power and authority of Satan, the great enemy of all who are living.

Satan is afraid of the Lord, and he rightly did so, because he already knew his fate and the futility of his endeavour, for he goes up against none other than the Lord and Master of all the universe, and even Satan himself and all of his allies are bound and answerable to God and His authority. And he knew of his ultimate fate, that is destruction, eternal agony and suffering that await him, and thus, he and all of his angels feared the Lord greatly, for they knew that it is in Him that their doom will come. Jesus is the great Judge, the last Judge of all who would judge all creations at the end of time.

May our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen in our hearts, our desire to know more about Him, so that we may truly discern about His presence around us, and therefore bringing all of us to greater wisdom and understanding in the Holy Spirit of God. Let us reject Satan with all of our hearts, our strengths and our minds. If we have any trouble, let us all remember that, if we call on the Holy Name of Jesus with full faith, no evil may stand against us. May Almighty God instead bring you to triumph and victory in His Name. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 31-37

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee, and began teaching the people at the sabbath meetings. They were astonished at the way He taught them, for His word was spoken with authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by an evil spirit, who shouted in a loud voice. “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I recognise You; You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus said to him sharply, “Be silent and leave this man!” The evil spirit then threw the man down in front of them, and came out of him without doing him harm.

Amazement seized all these people, and they said to one another, “What does this mean? He commands the evil spirits with authority and power. He orders, and you see how they come out!”

And news about Jesus spread throughout the surrounding area.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 144 : 8-9, 10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14

Compassionate and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and abounding in love. The Lord is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

The Lord is true to His promises and lets His mercy show in all He does. The Lord lifts up those who are falling and raises those who are beaten down.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 2 : 10b-16

Because the Spirit probes everything, even the depth of God. Who but his own spirit knows the secrets of a person? Similarly, no one but the Spirit of God knows the secrets of God. We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who comes from God and, through Him, we understand what God in His goodness has given us.

So we speak of this, not in terms inspired by human wisdom, but in a language taught by the Spirit, explaining a spiritual wisdom to spiritual persons. The one who remains on the psychological level does not understand the things of the Spirit. They are foolishness for him and he does not understand because they require a spiritual experience.

On the other hand, the spiritual person judges everything but no one judges him. Who has known the mind of God so as to teach him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded yet again on the importance of understanding the will and the nature of God, and how He worked His wonders and good works in our lives, learning to trust more of His love and kindness and casting away from our hearts all forms of prejudice, bias, judgmental attitude and self-righteousness.

We mankind are all prone to all of these, as we have been created with much abilities and gifts given to us. Among all of creations, we are special in that we have such an intellect and ability to discern the right and the wrong, partly because our ancestors committed sin by eating the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In that, we all are aware of the things around us and we are able to discern, but because our intellect, the human intellect, and our human wisdom are not divine in nature, what we have in us, in our minds are limited and flawed by its nature. That is how we fall into the trap of prejudice, bias and judgmental attitude towards others, thinking that we are righteous over other peoples, and in our selfishness, which is part of our nature, we condemn and judge others based on our own standards.

It is common for us to look at someone and judge them based on their character, on what we observed from them, in terms of what clothes they are wearing, what accessories they are wearing, and what company of friends and background someone has. We judge others based on what we observe from them, and we tend to look at the exterior, on appearances to make our judgments, and once we have judged, it is hard for us to remove that bias and prejudice from our minds.

The same happened to Jesus, who went to His own hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. He went there to continue doing the good works He had done during His ministry in this world to fulfill and accomplish the long promised salvation for the people of God, the Messiah and Saviour who had eventually come to bring all of His people into a new life in harmony with God and His will.

Yet, as we all know, Jesus among men were seen as a mere carpenter’s son, the son of a simple and humble yet hardworking carpenter named Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, and through this, became His foster-father. Yet, the people even when presented with the truth, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and the Son of God, and Joseph was His foster-parent refused to change their bias and prejudice, choosing to reject Him rather than listening to His truth.

Why is this so? Because every men are by nature selfish and they are always concerned about themselves and their own self-preservation. This is our nature, and it is not easy to change unless through a determined effort and understanding of the teachings which Jesus had passed down to us. Those people in Nazareth must be thinking, that how is this Son of a humble and simple carpenter, a noteworthy job and yet one that did not bring about much respect due to its low position in the hierarchy of the society, can be the Messiah.

They thought not in divine terms but in the terms of men and the world. They judged Jesus for His supposed simple and low-rank birth to a carpenter and from there they developed the prejudice that prevented them from truly listening to the words which Jesus had to say. And this did not happen to just Jesus, as many of the prophets as mentioned also suffered the same fate, rejected especially by those who knew them and those who shared their homes with these prophets.

We always like to presume that we know it all, and we know all about those around us by just looking at them and we judge them based on how they look and how they act in the society. And Jesus wanted to tell us that this attitude is wrong. We must never be judgmental to others as we too can be judged if we judge others. And that we should look deeper and not just be focused on the appearances, but also on what are inside a person’s hearts and minds.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives, on whether we have done what the people of Nazareth had done, in prejudicing and in being judgmental against others. Let us all change our ways if we had done so, and become better children and servants of our Lord. Let us stop our selfishness and judgmental attitudes, and from there let us all instead work together with one another, so that we may live in harmony and love together, and love sincerely and love tenderly.

May Almighty God be with us, guide us on our way, and strengthen the love and faith which He had planted in our hearts, awakening in us the desire to love one another and to love our God, our Lord and Creator, He who also loves us so much that He gave us Jesus, His Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer. God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 16-30

When Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.”

All agreed with Him, and were lost in wonder, while He spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?” So He said, “Doubtless you will quote Me the saying : Doctor, heal Yourself! Do here in Your town what they say You did in Capernaum.”

Jesus added, “No prophet is honoured in his own country. Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon.”

“There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet, and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”

On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought Him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw Him down the cliff. But He passed through their midst and went His way.

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102

How I love Your law, meditating on it all day!

Your command – mine forever – has made me wiser than my enemy.

I have more insight than my teachers for I meditate on Your decrees.

I have more understanding than the elders for I abide by Your precepts.

I turn my feet from evil paths, that I may keep step with Your word.

I have not departed from Your decrees for You Yourself have instructed me.