Wednesday, 17 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 11 : 42-46

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “A curse is on you, Pharisees! To the Temple you give a tenth of all, including mint and rue and other herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. These ought to be practiced, without neglecting the other obligations.”

“A curse is on you, Pharisees, for you love the best seats in the synagogues and to be greeted in the marketplace. A curse is on you, for you are like tombstones of the dead which can hardly be seen; people do not notice them, and make themselves unclean by stepping on them.”

Then a teacher of the Law spoke up and said, “Master, when You speak like this, You insult us, too.” And Jesus answered, “A curse is on you also, teachers of the Law. For you prepare unbearable burdens and load them on the people, while you yourselves do not move a finger to help them.”

Wednesday, 17 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Galatians 5 : 18-25

But when you are led by the Spirit you are not under the Law. You know what comes from the flesh : fornication, impurity and shamelessness, idol worship and sorcery, hatred, jealousy and violence, anger, ambition, division, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I again say to you what I have already said : those who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy and peace, patience, understanding of others, kindness and fidelity, gentleness and self-control. For such things there is no Law or punishment. Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its vices and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us live in a spiritual way.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Scriptures, telling us about being truly faithful to God, in all of our words, deeds and actions, as exemplified by the Lord and His words to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law before the people who followed and heard His teachings. In that exhortation, the Lord rebuked those mentioned for their uptight and unreasonable attitude with regards to the observance and the fulfilment of the commandments of God’s Law.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord rebuked the Pharisee who invited Him to a meal, and wondering in his heart why was it that the Lord and His disciples did not wash their hands in the way prescribed in the laws and customs of the Jewish people at the time, as handed down the generations from the time of Moses. The Lord knew what was in the heart and mind of the Pharisee, and voiced out His anger at the warped and unreasonable way of thinking as shown by the Pharisee and the others.

To them, external cleanliness and good appearances are important, but yet, they paid little to no attention on their internal disposition and preparedness, in terms of how they lived their lives, that ended up making them unworthy because of their wicked and unholy deeds, by desiring the many temptations of life. They did all their outward manifestations of faith, all the prayers and devotions, not because they truly loved God, but because they wanted to be praised and gain prestige among the people.

That is what the Lord wanted to highlight when He said that those who clean the outside but not the inside of a cup has been foolish in their deeds. He was against all those who treated their faith as a mere outward expression of piety and devotion, and yet, has nothing inside their hearts, no love of the Lord, and no true understanding and appreciation of what they were doing for the sake of the Lord.

It is sad that truly, it is possible to act in piety and in what seemingly pleases the Lord, but yet not having faith in someone’s mind and heart. And it was not just the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who did so, but even us as Christians. How many of us lived through our lives as Christians, doing what we are supposed to do as Christians, in our piety and our devotions to God, in our prayers and in what we have done all these while, and yet, in our hearts and minds, God was not truly present?

That means we are just going through the motion in living our faith life. How many of us coming for the Mass every Sunday without realising its importance for the salvation of our souls? How many of us goes through our prayers and other forms of expressions of our faith not because of our love for God, but instead for our own selfish desires, for either power, glory, recognition and all those other similar sorts of typical human greed and ego.

Today, we are called as Christians, to emulate the good examples set by our faithful predecessors in faith, namely St. Hedwig and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, whose faith and whose lives have been exemplary and good, and which we should also follow in our own expression of faith. They have shown us how it is that we should live, in turning ourselves towards God with complete sincerity and desire to love Him.

St. Hedwig was a noblewoman who became the wife of the powerful Duke of Silesia in what is now present day Poland. She was a devout and committed Christian, who has not let her position of power and glory to distract her from her faith, obedience and commitment to God. She lived a good life, caring for the needs of her people, and after her husband passed away, she entered a monastery in which she spent the rest of her life.

Throughout her life, St. Hedwig led a prayerful life centred on God, and her many charitable works for the poor, the sick and the less privileged in her society showed just how her heart and mind is attuned and centred on the Lord, which therefore influenced her every actions and deeds, which she did out of love for God and for her fellow men, and not for herself or for satisfying her selfish human desires.

Meanwhile, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was a mystic, visionary and member of the religious order of the Visitation nuns. She received many visions of the Lord and His Blessed Mother, in which she saw the vision of the Sacred Heart of Our Lord, and through the conversations between Him and St. Margaret, she received what is now known as the Devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. In that vision, she received the revelation of just how God loved us mankind, pouring out from His bleeding Heart.

St. Margaret Mary therefore led a pious and devout life, centred on the devotion she had, a very fervent and true love for the Most Sacred Heart of the Lord. She directed many people both during and after her life, to turn themselves to God’s love and to entrust themselves to the love which God has shown to each one of us, despite our sins and disobedience against Him. And she showed us the way to go forward in our life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, shall we follow the good examples set by St. Hedwig and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, by turning ourselves towards God with our whole heart and with our whole being. Let us be true Christians from now on, that our interior, and not just exterior self, be truly attuned and centred on God, and that we may love Him from now on, till the end of our days. Amen.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Holy Virgins)

Luke 11 : 37-41

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to have a meal with him. So He went and sat at table. The Pharisee then wondered why Jesus did not wash His hands before the dinner.

But the Lord said to him, “So then, you Pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside yourselves you are full of greed and evil. Fools! He Who made the outside, also made the inside. But according to you, by the mere giving of alms everything is made clean.”

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Holy Virgins)

Psalm 118 : 41, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48

Give me Your unfailing love, o YHVH; Your salvation, as You have promised.

Take not the word of truth from my mouth, for I would also lose my hope in Your word.

May I always keep Your word, for ever and ever.

I shall walk in freedom, having sought out Your laws.

For I delight in Your word, which I fear.

I will lift up my hands to You, and meditate on Your commandments.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Holy Virgins)

Galatians 5 : 1-6

Christ freed us, to make us really free. So remain firm, and do not submit, again, to the yoke of slavery. I, Paul, say this to you : if you receive circumcision, Christ can no longer help you. Once more, I say, to whoever receives circumcision : you are now bound to keep the whole Law. All you, who pretend to become righteous through the observance of the Law, have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen away from grace.

As for us, through the Spirit and faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. In Christ Jesus, it is irrelevant, whether we be circumcised or not; what matters is, faith, working through love.