Sunday, 6 October 2013 : 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard the great importance of the faith and love we have in God, because they empower us and give us strength to do many magnificent things. It does not matter whether we have a small or a large faith, since all of these are truly perceptional by us, and what truly matters is in fact, whether we truly have a real faith and devotion to the Lord our God.

Faith is the key component of our life and our salvation. We cannot love God without faith, and vice versa, as we also need love to be able to have faith in God. That is why, faith and love are paramount virtues and values we must have, if we are to be saved in Christ, and receive His grace and love. Faith and love are the essential components of our lives and ought to be the centre of our very lives.

With faith, everything is possible, and certainly, our Lord and God is faithful to us, even when we have that very little faith in Him. This lack of faith is precisely the reason why, if we read the Old Testament, why the people of God, that is Israel, rebelled against God and His love so often, that He casted them out of His sight in anger. And even so, He still have faith in these rebellious children, sending prophets after prophets, and messengers after messengers, in order to convince them to repent their sinful ways and return to Him and His love.

That even in the New Testament, the lack of faith and love in God’s people is why they are so stubborn, and continue in their sinful ways, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who sought their own glory instead of the glory of God, and led the people into sinning against God. They even rejected Jesus, God’s own beloved Son, the Word made flesh, to bring salvation to the people and condemned Him to die on the cross.

And yet, it is the Lord’s perfect faith and undying love in us that enabled us to be saved through the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, that the offer of salvation and freedom of all evil and sin be extended to all mankind. God can just choose to obliterate us all and condemn all of us to oblivion, and that was indeed the much easier course for Him to take. After all, we have rebelled against Him with Satan, and corrupted His creations with our sins and evils.

And yet, He chose the hard way, to bear all of our sins upon Himself, and to suffer the consequences of all those sins, culminating in His death on the cross at Calvary, when He gave up His life, so that we may not die, but gain new life in Him, who is risen from the dead, rising with Him into glory. All these are because the Lord never abandons us, and He is always with us, loving us tenderly and providing us day by day.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, even if our faith in the Lord is just a little, but if that faith is genuine, we can truly do great things with it. The Lord always provides, brethren, and He never fails to do so. His power and authority is exercised in us when we have faith and love for Him, no matter how small it is. After all, we can never accomplish something, if we merely remain idle and believe that we re incapable of achieving anything.

Let me tell you all a story, a simple illustration on this idea of how important faith is in our life. There are two boys in a school, with similar performance in their academics and their studies overall. They are in two different classes, with two different teachers. In this case, both boys are taught very differently from one another.

One boy was taught to be positive in learning, and whenever he failed or did badly in his examinations, the teacher encourages him and convinces him that failure is not necessarily something bad, but in fact as an opportunity for one to learn from past mistakes and make improvements in the future.

The other boy, on the other hand, was taught by a very strict and authoritarian teacher, who always demands result from the students, and always punish severely those who performed badly in their examinations. The boy failed a few times during his studies and was reprimanded by his teacher.

Therefore, in your opinion, brethren in Christ, which among these two boys will likely have a better performance in the end? Certainly it is the boy whom the teacher always encouraged him whenever he failed and did not perform well in his studies. Yes, the one who will perform better is the one whose teacher gives strength and hope at times of despair, one who can therefore develop faith in themselves and their own abilities, and thus will be capable and more motivated to do better in studies or anything else.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heed the words of Christ and the prophets today, let us open ourselves and our hearts to God’s divine love, that He will sow the seeds of faith in us, that our faith and love for Him may grow, and grow well, that we will be firm in our devotion to the Lord our God. Let us not be fearful of any evil, or any troubles, as the Lord will surely take care of us, if we keep strong and burning, the faith and love that is in us.

May the Lord our God strengthen our faith, that with whatever little faith that is in us, we will stay true to the path of the Lord, and remain committed to fulfill His commandments through our actions and our words. May God who is loving and faithful, keep us within His embrace and bring us one day to heaven that is our reward. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 6 October 2013 : 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 5-10

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” And the Lord said, “If you have faith, even the size of a mustard seed, you may say to this tree, ‘Be uprooted, and plant yourself in the sea!’ and it will obey you.”

“Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner?’ No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterwards.'”

“Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.'”

Sunday, 6 October 2013 : 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Timothy 1 : 6-8, 13-14

For this reason I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love, and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains. On the contrary, do your share in labouring for the Gospel with the strength of God.

Follow the pattern of the sound doctrine which you have heard from me, concerning faith and love in Christ Jesus. Keep this precious deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us.

Sunday, 6 October 2013 : 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before the Lord, our Maker. He is our God, and we His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would that today you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Sunday, 6 October 2013 : 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Habakkuk 1 : 2-3 and Habakkuk 2 : 2-4

YHVH, how long will I cry for help while You pay no attention to me? I denounce the oppression and You do not save. Why do You make me see injustice? Are you pleased to look on tyranny? All I see is outrage, violence and quarrels.

Then YHVH answered me and said, “Write down the vision, inscribe it on tables so it can be easily read, since this is a vision for an appointed time; it will not fail but will be fulfilled in due time. If it delays, wait for it, for it will come and will not be deferred. Look : I do not look with favour on the one who gives way; the upright, on the other hand, will live by his faithfulness.”

Saturday, 5 October 2013 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are again reminded of the great love that God has for all of us, the most beloved of His creations, as beloved children of God. We have disobeyed against Him and thus committed great sin before His eyes, and yet He continues to love us without end, and He even unconditionally gave Himself for us, His life and all, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Through Jesus, mankind had been given a new hope, and a new light in Christ Himself, and they had been revealed a glimpse of heaven through Jesus, who showed them the path of salvation and new life, eternal life in God. He revealed the Lord’s long planned plan of salvation to His beloved people, to those who possessed the humility of heart to listen to the word of salvation, that is the Good News of Jesus.

To those who had listened to the Lord, and obeyed His commands, leading an upright and just life in this world, to those who had not gone astray in their path, the Lord had exalted them in glory, the glory of His majesty, and they become His beloved children, safe from the power of the devil, the great enemy and the deceiver of all.

The evil one was thrown down from heaven, where he was once the greatest angel of creation, and because of his pride, arrogance, and vanity, he was thrown down. He boasted that he would rise above the throne of God and rule over creation and yet he was made into nothing. He was struck, and not only once, but twice, by the power of God.

For Satan continued his rebellion, by ensuring that it is not just him and some of his fellow angels that fall into the sin of rebellion, but also mankind through the temptation of Eve by Satan-in-disguise, the deceitful snake. This made mankind to also fall into sin, and was cast out of heaven, of the beautiful garden of Eden God had prepared for them, His beloved.

It is in Christ and His coming into this world, that Satan was struck again, and this time for eternity, for all time. He was defeated with such finality, that he will not rise again, and his fate was sealed. For in Christ lies the fulfillment of God’s desire for mankind to be saved from the fate that awaits them that is death. In Christ is the final nail to the coffin of the devil, the final destruction of his rebellion, that mankind, whom Satan caused to fall into sin, now through Christ has the hope of redemption.

The anger of God was indeed aimed at us, but as much as He is angry with us, He remains loving and forgiving, and the fullness of His wrath is truly aimed at the deceiver himself, the devil, Satan, the old snake. It is His wish that all of us be freed from our bondage to that rebellious angel, one who thought that he is the greatest of all. We have been bonded to him ever since our forefathers chose to obey him instead of their true Master, the Lord our God.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not fear the anger of the Lord our God. Rather, let us use that knowledge of His anger as a warning and a reminder to all of us, how much the Lord loves us and cares for us, that He is angered by our trespasses and our indignant rebellion against His love. Yet, He is always merciful and His heart is always open and available to all of us, especially those of us who repent from our sinful ways and return back to He who loves us with all our sincerity and love.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we should not fear the Lord anymore, and neither should we fear the devil, that great enemy of all. The former, is because He truly loves all of us, and punishes us or be angry with us, because He cares for us and our salvation, that we will not fall into eternal damnation, away from His love, out of which, there can be no escape. And the latter, because, through Jesus, the Lord had broken the chains that had enslaved us to the power of Satan. He had broken the chains of death through His own death on the cross. Christ had been triumphant, and He crushed the devil under His feet in glory.

Let us therefore, first, seek the Lord’s merciful love and forgiveness, baring all of ourselves and our hearts before Him, opening the deepest depths of our heart to Him. Let us then, allow His love to flow into us, and through us, that we be made into conduits of His love, through our words, deeds, and actions. We have to become the children of the light, and the children of love, that is God, and there is nothing better than our dedication to Him through our loving actions and words. May we continue to spread the love of God to all mankind. God bless us all. Amen.