Thursday, 3 October 2013 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, truly, the time of harvest in near, and the grains awaiting harvest are abundant, and yet the labourers are few in number, and there is therefore not enough hands to handle these rich grains that is due for harvest. That there is a great need for more labourers to work on the fields of the Lord to gather that rich harvest.

The Lord sent His disciples to serve the people of God, to be the pioneer labourers of this great harvest, to be the heralds of His wondrous works, that it be spread onto the whole world. Yes, as the followers of Christ, we cannot be satisfied with just a small plot of land as our field. We must make the whole world our field, yes, the whole world is indeed that field upon which the good works of salvation are done.

The disciples of Christ are the workers in this field, and they labour that whatever seeds are planted there, rich harvest will follow. By this definition therefore, all of us are also involved, as the labourers of the Lord’s field in this world, so that we can, through the Church, harvest rich rewards for the effort that all of us made in the evangelisation of this world.

If we are all the labourers of Christ, in one way or another, how can then, there be a shortage of workers as Christ said it? That is, brothers and sisters in Christ, because Jesus was referring specifically to those who give themselves fully to Him, those who were taken away from the world to serve Him and His beloved people, to be the holy ministers and workers of His Gospel on earth. They are our priests, our bishops, and the other servants of the Lord in the religious orders, called to be shepherds of God’s people, like that of the Apostles of the Lord of old.

These people gave their whole beings for the Lord, the entirety of their lives and dedication, becoming the most obedient servants of the Lord our God. They are the group of people, the greatest servants of God, whom the Lord referred to as lacking in number, as insufficient to harvest the rich crops yielded by the fertile lands of this world.

There are plenty of opportunities in our world today for evangelisation, that is the plowing and planting of this rich grounds. We cannot just leave this land untilled and forsaken. The wealth of this fertile lands, if neglected and abandoned, as all farmers would know, will disappear in the same way that a fertile soil unplanted has its fertility washed away, when the rain and flood comes and no roots to keep them in place.

Such is what had happened to much of the world today, the spiritual desert which exemplifies what our world had become. Many people had become impoverished in their faith in that spiritual desert. They could not hold to their faith, shaken and weak as it was, by the flood of worldly worries and temptations.

It is therefore the task of those called by the Lord, as the labourers of the Lord’s field, to work on the field that is this world, so that the world-field will once again bear fruit. And after bearing much fruits, that they can gather them and offer them to the Lord, the offering of God’s beloved children, saved from the power of evil and sin.

The problem is that, brethren, in our world today, becoming the servant and labourer of Christ our Lord is no longer enticing for many, and it is no longer considered a distinct and noble honour to be one of them. The temptations and good things in this world is often too much for many to ignore or abandon. That is why fewer and fewer people opted for the life dedicated to God, in holy priesthood or religious devotion.

Are we then up to task to take up this call, especially those among us whom the Lord had planted His call? Many of us who are called to serve the Lord in a greater way, feared to do so or refused to do so, because either they were too distracted by the pleasures of the world, or because the society and the people around them looked down on the role of the servants of the Lord Most High, that the pressure eventually became too much and the called ones relented and gave up.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore, let us not be hesitant from today onwards, to be dedicated and faithful workers and labourers in the rich and vast field of the Lord that is this world, this fertile and great field, where much harvest awaits us working on them. If we remain idle, then these harvests will be wasted and thrown out. Remember brethren, that in our world today, there remains vast opportunities for evangelisation and good works, to bring more and more people to salvation in God. That is what the Lord meant by rich harvest, that we, the labourers of the Lord, ought to labour to collect.

Let us courageously step forth and take the initiative, by allowing the Lord to come into our lives, changing them to suit His purposes and divine plans in this world, that we may be transformed from our current idleness and sloth, into new servants of His Name, to be industrious and zealous servants of God’s kingdom, and to be hardworking labourers of the fertile field of the Lord that is this world. May the Lord continue to watch over us, protect us, and bless us all with endless blessings. God be with us all, always. Amen.

Thursday, 3 October 2013 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 10 : 1-12

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.”

“Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim : ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’ I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment, it will be better for Sodom than for this town.”

Thursday, 3 October 2013 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 11

The Law of the Lord is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The Word of the Lord is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of the Lord are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of the Lord are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of the Lord are true, all of them just and right.

They are more precious than gold – pure gold of a jeweller; they are much sweeter than honey which drops from the honeycomb.

Thursday, 3 October 2013 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Nehemiah 8 : 1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12

In the seventh month, all the people gathered as one man in the square before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which YHVH  had given to Israel.

Ezra brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all the children who could understand what was being read. It was the first day of the seventh month. Ezra read the book before all of them from early morning until midday in the square facing the Water Gate; and all who heard were attentive to the Book of the Law.

Ezra, the teacher of the Law, stood on a wooden platform built for that occasion. Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was in a higher place; and when he opened it, all the people stood. Ezra blessed YHVH, the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and answered, “Amen! Amen!” And they bowed their heads to the ground.

The Law was explained to the people who were standing. They read from the Book of the Law of God, clarifying and interpreting the meaning, so that everyone might understand  what they were hearing.

Then Ezra, the teacher of the Law, said to the people, “This day is dedicated to YHVH, your God, so do not be sad or weep.” He said this because all wept when they heard the reading of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat rich foods, drink sweet wine and share with him who has nothing prepared. This day is dedicated to the Lord, so do not be sad. The joy of YHVH is our strength.”

The Levites also calmed the people down, saying, “Do not weep. This day is a festival day. Do not be sad.” And the people went their way to eat, drink and share, and they had a great feast, because they had understood the words that had been proclaimed to them.