Tuesday, 28 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Mark 10 : 28-31

Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house, or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.”

“I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life. Do pay attention : many who now are the first will be last, and the last, first.”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Psalm 49 : 5-6, 7-8, 14 and 23

Gather before Me, My faithful ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. The heavens will proclaim His sentence, for God Himself is the judge.

Hear, o My people, for I am speaking. I will accuse you, o Israel, I am God, your God! Not for your sacrifices do I reprove you, for your burnt offerings are ever before Me.

Yet offer to God a sacrifice of thanks, and fulfill your vows to the Most High. Those who give with thanks offerings honour Me, but the one who walks blamelessly, I will show him the salvation of God.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Sirach 35 : 1-15

Keeping the Law is worth many offerings. Being faithful to the commandments is like a peace offering. Returning kindness is an offering of fine flour; giving alms is a sacrifice of praise.

Renouncing sin pleases the Lord, and shunning injustice is a sacrifice of atonement. Do not appear before the Lord with empty hands. The commandment requires that you bring an offering.

When the offering of the righteous is burnt on the altar, the fat drips down and a fragrant aroma rises to the Most High. The sacrifice of the just man pleases God and will not be forgotten. Honour the Lord with a generous heart and do not be stingy with the first fruits of your harvest.

Offer your gifts with a smiling face and when you pay your tithes do it gladly. Give to the Most High as He has given to you; give generously to the Lord according to what you have; the Lord will repay, He will reward you sevenfold.

If you attempt to bribe Him with gifts He will not accept them; do not rely on offerings from dishonest gain. The Lord is judge and shows no partiality. He will not disadvantage the poor, He who hears the prayer of the oppressed.

He does not disdain the plea of the orphan, nor the complaint of the widow. When tears flow down her cheeks, is she not crying out against the one who caused her to weep?

Monday, 27 May 2013 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Scripture Reflection)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, God is our Lord, and He is our Creator. He is everything to us, for without Him, we cannot live, and we cannot survive. Only by being with God can we be saved, and only by staying in His presence and favour, we can gain eternal life, which He rewards to all those who remain faithful in Him and who prove that they love Him with all their hearts, their minds, and their souls, with their entire beings.

If we want to follow the Lord, and become His disciples, we cannot be half-hearted, and we cannot be hesitant. Instead, we must be very certain in our hearts, and be very conscious that we choose the Lord over everything else in this world. We have to put God foremost in our hearts and in all our daily dealings, before other things that may corrupt our hearts and sway our attention away from the Lord.

Wealth and worldly material possessions are some of such things that most easily turn the hearts of mankind away from God who loves them. Countless people across the different ages had spurned the love of God, and the salvation which He had offered freely to all, all just for the sake of money and possessions.

But be careful brothers and sisters, because we cannot misinterpret the Lord’s true intention and desire for us. The Lord is not hostile against wealth or His children having worldly possessions and material goods, but what He warned us all against is the danger of excessive wealth and the corrupting influence such things can have on us, that it turn us away from the Lord and bring us damnation in the end.

Wealth itself is not evil, brothers and sisters in Christ, and when wealth is used correctly, it can be indeed a great tool for love and for the advancement of the cause of Christ in this world. For wealth can feed many who hunger for basic nutrition and food, and those who lack basic needs required for survival. Wealth also can sponsor many of our Church’s charitable actions spread throughout the world, dedicated to the service of the poor, the ones who hunger, both physically and spiritually.

The true evil itself lies in our weakness, ever since the day of our rebellion against God’s will and our disobedience since the day of Adam. We had been exposed to sin ever since in our hearts. Greed in particular is our weakness, and desire to have more goods, more money had caused mankind to do much evil in the history of mankind, even within the Church.

That is why brothers and sisters in Christ, do not shun wealth! and do not hate the rich! but instead do our own part to help those who are less fortunate, especially those among us who have more, in terms of goods, money, or even if we have particular skills or even love, which we can indeed share to those around us who need them more. Indeed, this world has many people who does not just need the food for our stomach, but also food for the heart, that is love. For there remains many who are unloved in this world.

Today, we commemorate the feast of a great saint, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, who first established the Church hierarchy in the chaotic England of the Dark Ages. He established the first diocese in that country, what is to be known as the Archdiocese of Canterbury, and Saint Augustine was its first bishop

Saint Augustine converted many of the Anglo-Saxons who ruled England and much of the rest of Britannia at the time, in the region we know now as the United Kingdom. He established the Church in England. He served the Lord with zeal and strong faith, and through dedicated service, especially to the weak and to the poor. He convinced the rich and the powerful to follow Christ and abandon their old pagan and sinful ways, including even the king, whom he converted to Christianity.

Sadly, now the Church in England had been divided, by irresponsible act of men throughout history, which had brought division in the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I am certain that Saint Augustine is sad that his successors have not kept the faith of the Apostles. Let us pray that the Church in England will be reunited once more, and be one with the Universal Church, keeping alive the faith of the Apostles, and fall not into the evils of the world.

Then for all of us, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all strive to do our own best in giving our all to our less fortunate brethren, be it through material donations, skill donations, and even more importantly, by donating the love that is within us. Not that it will lessen the love that is within us. On the contrary, if we share our love to others who lack them and long for love, our own love will grow and strengthen us. May God be with us, in all our deeds, and strengthen our resolve, to do good for the sake of all mankind. Amen.