Tuesday, 8 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord is loving and merciful, and He desires nothing from us other than our love and total dedication to Him, and that is what He told Martha, on the love and dedication Mary her sister had for Him. And that is also what He truly desired from the people of Nineveh, that they abandoned their sinful ways and instead took the bold steps towards redemption and salvation.

For many of us, brethren in Christ, are like Martha, who are too busy for the Lord, busy with all the activities that we have, busy with all the things of the world, that we forget about the most important of all, that is loving Christ and giving of ourselves to Him, through our dedication and love. We revel much in the pleasures of the world and gave ourselves in, to the temptations of the devil.

We are so busy and so preoccupied in what we are doing, that we lost sight of the true goal that we have in life, and sadly, many of us are like Martha, whose intention is actually good, in wanting to serve and provide for the Lord, through her service, but became too preoccupied in the rigour of the work, that the work and business take precedence over loving our Lord and God.

We also tend to be like the people of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, who lived in sin and basked in their sinfulness. They enjoyed all the pleasures of the world and did things abominable in the eyes of the Lord our God. This is what brought the Lord’s wrath upon them, the divine vengeance which He announced to them through Jonah the prophet.

It is easy for us to lose track of the truth and lose sight of the truth, because we have failed to filter out the noise of the world, which threatens to block the Lord from our hearts. We live in this increasingly noisier world, where mankind listen less and less to the heeding of the Lord, and pay more attention to their ego, their desires, and their wants.

The Lord speaks to us, brothers and sisters, inside our hearts, conveying to us His message of love inside our hearts, for each and every one of us. He wants us to understand the importance of love, especially the love for Him, and the love for our fellow mankind. We are truly creatures of love, created by God Himself who is Love. And yet, because we are often entangled within the evils in this world, we tend to love less and hate more, and even if we love, we tend to only love and care for ourselves.

This is why, brethren, we ought to be like the people of Nineveh, because even though they are sinful and had committed things abominable in the sight of the Lord, they repented once they knew the anger of the Lord is upon them, and humbly placed themselves, kneeling and prostrating with shame in front of the throne of God, even their king, showing the genuine nature of their repentance.

This is what made the Lord to spare all of them instead of punishing them for their sins. This is because the Lord truly loves us and does not want to punish us, all because of His eternal love. He will certainly welcome us back with love, if we repent from our sins in full sincerity.

Then, we also ought to be like Mary, the sister of Martha, at an even higher level of dedication to the Lord. This is because even without the threat of punishment or annihilation, she gave her full attention, dedication, and love to Jesus our Lord and gave her full heart to Him. That is what the Lord truly wants from us, our love.

We must not lose sight of our true goal in life, brothers and sisters, that is to reach out for the Lord, and the salvation that He offers to all of us. And we can achieve this through love, through the manifestation of our love in our words, deeds, and actions, daily in our world. In that, we show the extent of love we have for the Lord, that we listen to Him and His will, and like Mary, give our full heart’s attention for Him.

May the Lord who is loving and forgiving continue to watch over us and give us His tender love, readily welcoming us, when we turn our back on sin, and reach out for His infinite mercy. God be with us all always. Amen.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 10 : 38-42

As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He entered a village, and a woman called Martha welcomed Him to her house. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet to listen to His words.

Martha, meanwhile, was busy with all the serving, and finally she said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”

But the Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you worry and are troubled about many things, whereas only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Tuesday, 8 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 129 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8

Out of the depths I cry to you, o Lord, o Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears pay attention to the voice of my supplication.

If You should mark our evil, o Lord, who could stand? But with You is forgiveness, and for that You are revered.

O Israel, hope in the Lord, for with Him is unfailing love and with Him full deliverance. He will deliver Israel from all its sins.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Jonah 3 : 1-10

The word of YHVH came to Jonah a second time : “Go to Nineveh, the great city, and announce to them the message I give you.”

In obedience to the word of YHVH, Jonah went to Nineveh. It was a very large city, and it took three days just to cross it. So Jonah walked a single day’s journey and began proclaiming, “Forty days more and Nineveh will be destroyed.”

The people of the city believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

Upon hearing the news, the king of Nineveh got up from his throne, took off his royal robe, put on sackcloth and sat down in ashes. He issued a proclamation throughout Nineveh : “By the decree of the king and his nobles, no people or beasts, herd or flock, will taste anything; neither will they eat not drink. But let people and beasts be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call aloud to God, turn from his evil ways and violence. Who knows? God may yet relent, turn from His fierce anger and spare us.”

When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened upon them.

Monday, 7 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate an important Marian feast, a day dedicated to the Mother of God, Mary, the lady and our mother. Today, in particular, we celebrate an aspect of her that we often find to be ubiquitous in our faith and devotions, that is the holy rosary, the linked beads in chain, that we use to guide us in our prayer.

What is the rosary and what is its significance in our faith, and how does it affect us in our journey of faith in this world and beyond? The rosary is a weapon, a spiritual weapon in a spiritual warfare between the forces of evil led by the devil, against us, the children of the light, the beloved ones of God. This devotion was introduced by Mary herself, when she appeared to St. Dominic, who was then the first to recommend the devotion of the rosary to the people of God.

We often take the rosary for granted, and instead of taking the devotion seriously, we said the prayers without meaning and said the words faster than even the bullet trains! That is exactly what happened if we do not truly understand the usefulness and the purpose of the holy rosary, which is a potent weapon, a spiritual weapon, in the spiritual warfare constantly fought between us and the devil and his servants.

Then how did this feast of our Lady of the Rosary come about? This feast originated in the late sixteenth century, after the great victory of the forces of the faithful, fighting against the forces of the devil, represented by the Muslim forces of the expansionist Ottoman Turk Empire. This battle is the Battle of Lepanto, which happened on this date, today, in the year 1571.

This great victory marked a great turning point in the history of Christendom, where the faithful are no longer on the defensive, after the enemy was dealt a massive defeat by the power of God. Pope St. Pius V, the Pope at the time, decided to commemorate the great victory by dedicating it to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that the victory over the enemy was made possible.

In the same way therefore, today, through the rosary as our weapon, the spiritual weapon, we would like to celebrate our victory and triumph against the evil one and his forces of darkness, as we, the children of the light, had triumphed against the darkness, much like the victorious Christian vanguards at the Battle of Lepanto more than four centuries ago.

Nevertheless, brethren, even though we have been victorious, as through Mary and her Son Jesus, whose sacrifice on the cross dealt the evil one a complete and thorough defeat, but the devil still has plenty of tools under his sleeves. He continues to marshall his forces of darkness to harass us, especially those who are most vulnerable, those whose faith are wavering and weakened.

The devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord and God, through the holy rosary is a potent tool to prevent this from happening, that is to prevent our brethren to fall into the temptation of Satan and his angels, the fallen ones. The rosary, as I mentioned, is a powerful weapon in this constant spiritual warfare raging daily around us, where angels and devils fight for the sake of our soul, for its salvation or damnation.

Through meaningful and devoted praying of the holy rosary, we invoke the protection of the angels sent by Jesus our Lord, through the intercession of His blessed mother Mary, hearing the prayer we have made through the rosary in complete devotion and love. The Lord will certainly not abandon us to the forces of the enemy. He will smite them and cast them away from us, His beloved children.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, the rosary, in which we pray the prayers dedicated to the Lord and His mother Mary, emulate the Marian virtues of obedience and love, which we ought to follow and emulate ourselves. Through her obedience and love, we have Jesus who came into this world, and we have a hope, hope of salvation and eternal life in Him.

This rosary is our spiritual weapon and also our spiritual defender, a breastplate of faith and devotion, protecting us from the threats of the evil one and his forces. Let us therefore, spread the habit of praying the rosary meaningfully and devoutly, to all around us, especially to those among us whose faith is wavering. May the Lord continue to watch over us, and may His blessed mother Mary continue to intercede for us, for our salvation, as we continue to offer her and her Son, our love and devotion through the rose of the holy rosary. Amen.