Tuesday, 30 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 31-37

At that time, 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 words 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, 30 August 2016 : 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, 30 August 2016 : 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, 29 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of the Passion of St. John the Baptist, remembering that time when the faithful servant and messenger of God, met his end at the persecution of king Herod and his unlawful wife, Herodias. It was because of his persistent opposition and defiance against the king doing such a wicked act, that he was put to death defending his faith.

But in death, he has shown us the example of what a servant of God should be like. That is a servant of God should not be easily ready to compromise their faith and the mission which God had entrusted them with, in order to accommodate the desires of peoples and even those who are in power. We should be ready to stand up to defend the teachings of our Faith and the ways of our God when it comes to the time when it is necessary for us to do so.

At the same time, we should know that God is always there watching over us, and He will not abandon us to the darkness, and He shall not let us down, just as He has always be there for His faithful servants. God called those whom He had chosen to be His messengers and bearers of the word of truth which He has brought into the world.

The problem that exists with many Christians today, even many among us is that we tend to be silent whenever there are trespasses and sins that our peers committed among us. Many of us are afraid to step in and make comments or trying to remind them of their sins because we are too afraid to damage or ruin our relationships with them. But do we actually realise that if we do nothing, it is actually just the same as us pushing them deep into sin and damnation?

The examples of St. John the Baptist and the last episode of his earthly life, being imprisoned by Herod and Herodias, and how he met his death is a reminder to all of us, that we mankind are feeble creatures easily affected and lured into sin, as shown by Herod and his actions in the Gospel today. As a king, he has access to every worldly needs he wanted, and the beautiful daughter of Herodias mesmerised him so much so as for him to pledge with many vows everything she wanted.

That is the danger which all of us should be wary of, that as Christians we have to learn to resist the impulses of our desires, or else they may cause us to lose control over ourselves, and even lead us into sin and damnation. Herod’s great sin was that he was not only unable to resist the temptation to get Herodias as his wife, even though she was lawfully married to his deceased brother and with a daughter. And he gave in to the temptations of the pleasures of the eyes and the flesh, and resulting in him indirectly causing the death of a great saint of God.

We as Christians should learn to resist these temptations, and thus, at the same time, also help one another to do the same. And at times this will require us to be courageous and be daring, to take the initiative to point out the errors in the way of those whom we see having sinned and committed errors in front of God and His people alike. We do not need to fear about anything, since God Himself is with us in this matter.

And in the end, are we not concerned that any of our brethren are slipping away from God and His grace, and into the slippery slope of sin and temptations, that they are in danger of falling into eternal damnation and suffering? Let us all as Christians be true Christians, true friends and brethren to each other, helping all to find their way to God, and not be afraid to stand up for the truth.

May God help us in all of our endeavours, that we all, inspired by the holy Passion of the Herald of the Messiah, St. John the Baptist, will do all that we can in order to help our brethren in need of salvation and grace of God. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 29 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Mark 6 : 17-29

At that time, this is what happened : Herod had ordered John to be arrested, and had had him bound and put in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. Herod had married her, and John had told him, “It is not right for you to live with your brother’s wife.”

So Herodias held a grudge against John; and wanted to kill him, but she could not, because Herod respected John. He knew John to be an upright and holy man, and kept him safe. And he liked listening to him, although he became very disturbed, whenever he heard him.

Herodias had her chance on Herod’s birthday, when he gave a dinner for all the senior government officials, military chiefs, and the leaders of Galilee. On that occasion the daughter of Herodias came in and danced; and she delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want and I will give it to you.” And he went so far as to say with many oaths, “I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” The mother replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptist, here and now, on a dish.”

The king was very displeased, but he would not refuse in front of his guests because of his oaths. So he sent one of the bodyguards with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded John in prison; then he brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother.

When John’s disciples heard of this, they came and took his body and buried it.

Monday, 29 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 70 : 1-2, 3-4a, 5-6ab, 15ab and 17

In You, o Lord, I seek refuge; let me not be disgraced. In Your justice help me and deliver me, turn Your ear to me and save me!

Be my Rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety, for You are my Rock and my Fortress. Rescue me, o my God, from the hand of the wicked.

For You, o Lord, have been my hope, my trust, o God, from my youth. I have relied on You from birth : from my mother’s womb You brought me forth.

My lips will proclaim Your intervention and tell of Your salvation all day. You have taught me from my youth and until now I proclaim Your marvels.

Monday, 29 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Passion of St. John the Baptist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Jeremiah 1 : 17-19

But you, get ready for action; stand up and say to them all that I command you. Be not scared of them or I will scare you in their presence! See, I will make you a fortified city, a pillar of iron with walls of bronze, against all the nations, against the kings and princes of Judah, against the priests and the people of the land.

They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue you – it is YHVH Who speaks.