Saturday, 27 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 25 : 14-30

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.”

“He who received five talents went at once to do business with the money, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole, and hid his master’s money.”

“After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.’ The master answered, ‘Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.'”

“Then the one who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.’ The master said, ‘Well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.'”

“Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, ‘Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!'”

“But his master replied, ‘Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered; so you should have deposited my money in the bank, and on my return you would have given it back to me with interest.'”

“‘Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

Saturday, 27 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 32 : 12-13, 18-19, 20-21

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield. Our hearts rejoice in Him, for we trust in His holy Name.

Saturday, 27 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Monica (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 1 : 26-31

Brothers and sisters, look and see whom God has called. Few among you can be said to be cultured or wealthy, and few belong to noble families. Yet God has chosen what the world considers foolish, to shame the wise; He has chosen what the world considers weak to shame the strong.

God has chosen common and unimportant people, making use of what is nothing to nullify the things that are, so that no mortal may boast before God. But, by God’s grace you are in Christ Jesus, Who has become our wisdom from God, and Who makes us just and holy and free.

Scripture says : Let the one who boasts boast of the Lord.

Friday, 26 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded again firstly by St. Paul who wrote in his letter to the Corinthians, that the message of Christ, the Good News, is not a message of comfort and joy as what many would immediately associate it with. Rather, the message and truth of Christ, while these offer comfort and happiness to all those who have believed, but to those who refuse to listen to Him, these made no sense at all.

This is to highlight the differences between putting our trust on the wisdom of God or to put our trust instead in our own human power and wisdom. St. Paul made the distinctions clear, by comparing the attitudes of those who believe in God, with the attitudes of the Jews and the Greeks, among those who refused to believe, namely the Pharisees, the elders and the teachers of the Law, and the philosophers among the Greeks.

These people were highly educated and intelligent people. And they also occupied very important positions in the society, highly respected and regarded by others around them. However, because of these, they became proud of themselves and became haughty, refusing to listen to the Lord and to the truth that He brought with Him into the world.

God showed this in the Gospel in the parable of the five wise and five foolish women, which story must be very familiar to us. The five women who were wise did not represent the wisdom of the world, as possessed by the Pharisees, the elders, the teachers of the Law and the Greek philosophers, who instead were represented by the five foolish women.

Why is this so, brethren? That is because just as the five foolish women just brought barely enough oil for their lamps to last a while, thus in the similar way those supposedly wise people in the world depended on their own intellect and human wisdom which were imperfect and limited in order to perceive and understand this world. But when they tried to use the same to explain the Lord, they were not able to understand His actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, do we also put too much of trust in our own powers and abilities? Have we become proud just because we are capable of great feats and deeds in this world? Well, we ought to be happy for the good things that we have accomplished, and yet, we should not be swallowed and be taken over by the pride and greed that are found within us.

Sin is born when we close our hearts and minds to God, because we think that we do not need Him, or that because we think that we can do everything without Him. That is the foolishness of our human wisdom and pride. And because of that Lucifer had fallen from his grace and became the wicked being he is now, the devil, rejected and cursed for all eternity.

Do we also want to share his fate? Certainly we should avoid such a fate. Rather than putting our trust in our own feeble and untrustworthy human abilities, we should trust in them knowing that God alone is the One Who gives us the grace to be successful in this life, for He is indeed the very One Who gave us those wonderful deeds and abilities.

Let us all therefore renew our devotion to the Lord, and learn to give of ourselves entirely to Him. Let us fear no longer, or be doubtful, for God our Lord and Father will protect us and give us the wonders of His love, that we may not be orphans anymore, but instead be filled with eternal grace and happiness. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 26 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 25 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “This story throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were careless, and the the others were sensible.”

“The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not bring extra oil. But those who were sensible, brought with their lamps flasks of oil. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!'”

“All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the careless ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.’ The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.'”

“They were out buying oil when the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.'”

“So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Friday, 26 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 10-11

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations and brings to nothing the peoples’ designs. But His plan stands forever, and His heart’s design through all generations.

Friday, 26 August 2016 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 1 : 17-25

For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to proclaim His Gospel. And not with beautiful words! That would be like getting rid of the cross of Christ. The language of the cross remains nonsense for those who are lost.

Yet for us who are saved, it is the power of God, as Scripture says : I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and make fail the foresight of the foresighted. Masters of human wisdom, educated people, philosophers, you have no reply! And the wisdom of this world? God let it fail.

At first God spoke the language of wisdom, and the world did not know God through wisdom. Then God thought of saving the believers through the foolishness that we preach. The Jews ask for miracles and the Greeks for a higher knowledge, while we proclaim a crucified Messiah.

For the Jews, what a great scandal! And for the Greeks, what nonsense! But He is the Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God for those called by God among both Jews and Greeks. In reality, the “foolishness” of God is wiser than humans, and the “weakness” of God is stronger than humans.