Saturday, 12 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 27-28

As Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave you birth and nursed you!” Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Saturday, 12 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 96 : 1-2, 5-6, 11-12

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the distant islands be glad. Clouds and darkness surround Him; justice and right are His throne.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim His justice, all peoples see His glory.

He sheds light upon the upright, and gladness upon the just. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are blameless, and give praise to His holy Name.

Saturday, 12 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joel 4 : 12-21

Rise up, o peoples, and come to the Valley of Jehoshaphat, nations. Bring a sickle for the harvest is ripe; come and tread for the winepress is full and the vats overflow, so great is their wickedness!

Multitudes and more multitudes in the Valley of Verdict! The day of YHVH is near in the Valley of Verdict! The sun and the moon become dark, the stars lose their radiance. YHVH roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem; heaven and earth are shaken. Indeed YHVH is a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the Israelites.

You will know that I am YHVH, your God, dwelling on Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will be a holy place, and foreigners will never pass through there again. On that day the mountains shall drip wine and the hills flow with milk; all the streams of Judah will run with water and a fountain will spring from the House of YHVH, and water the valley of Shittim.

On the other hand, Egypt will be devastated and Edom will become a deserted wasteland because they committed violence against Judah, and shed innocent blood in their country. But Judah will be inhabited forever, and Jerusalem through all generations. And I shall avenge their blood and not leave it unpunished, for YHVH dwells in Zion.

Friday, 11 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are urged to be vigilant and ever trusting in God our Lord and Saviour. That we will remain faithful to Him and uphold ever strongly His commandments and laws within our hearts, anchoring ourselves within His love, so that the power of Satan will no longer prevail over us.

Christ had come into the world to save mankind from the hands of evil, and through His own death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, He had snatched us away from the hands of the enemy, and cast away the evil spirits and the demons that resided within each one of us, the spirits of temptation, lust, desire, greed, pride, sloth, and the spirits of other sinfulness. These Christ had cast out of us who believe in Him and who had been baptised and accepted into His Church.

But this does not mean that forever we will be out of danger, and that by the faith we had in Christ when we were saved is enough for us, and we need not do anything anymore. Some may argue that did Christ not say that we are saved by our faith, or citing the example of those who had been saved by faith? Then why do we need to do something even after we are saved?

That is because, brethren, our faith in God is not a dead faith and neither it is constant. A faith that is not supported with concrete actions of love, compassion, kindness, and dedication to God and fellow men is just as good as dead, or at least a dying faith. This kind of faith is not what the Lord wants from each one of us. What He wants from us is that faith which is living and dynamic, which is shown through our love, in our actions, that shows to the Lord our God, that our faith in Him is genuine and enduring, and not just mere words and promises!

After all, brothers and sisters in Christ, as unfaithful and rebellious we and our ancestors were, God did not turn away from His love towards us, and He constantly looked upon us with utmost mercy and compassion. And He who is ever faithful did not lie or offer false promises when He promised salvation, an eternal salvation and freedom from the powers of death and evil to our ancestors.

He made it truly a concrete and undeniable promise, through the coming of Himself, through Jesus His Son, the Word of God made flesh, into this world. That He was willing to come down upon us, to be one like us, to be the teacher of faith and love to us, and finally to die on the cross for our sake, were proof enough of His everlasting faith and love for us. If He had done so, we whom He had chosen to be His children, should also then do the same.

Satan, our former jailer and slave master, is not happy with us being released from our bondage to him and to sin. That is precisely what the death and resurrection of Christ had done for us. The evil one, ever mischievous and evil, does not give up on us, but instead intensified his attacks on us, sending evil spirits and temptations along our way, to turn us from the Lord, and make us betray the covenant we have made and renewed with God.

When we were baptised and accepted into the Church, we had been made clean, from our former dirty state. The waters of baptism cleanses us from the filth of sin within us, and God came to reside within each one of us saved in the Lord. However, as Christ Himself mentioned, that the evil spirit who left someone and then return, finding a clean room inside us, will be bound to come with more vicious evil spirits to destroy us, and to make us even worse than before.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, from today on, we ought to heed the warnings God had given us through Jesus our Lord, that we will not be swayed by the forces and temptations of Satan, and that we will keep strong the fortress of faith that is our heart and our body, that we will never again allow the spirits of wickedness, that is the evil spirits, to ever come again into us and reside within us.

Instead, let us affirm our love and dedication for the Lord our God, through whom we had been made clean and worthy of the eternal glory of heaven. Let Jesus Christ our Lord be the Master of our house, that is our body, heart, and soul, and not Satan the deceiver. Cast him out of our house and welcome instead the loving and compassionate Lord our God. God bless us all. Amen.

Friday, 11 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

Yet some of them said, “He drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God, has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guard his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.'”

“When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Friday, 11 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 9 : 2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9

Let my heart give thanks to the Lord, I yearn to proclaim Your marvellous deeds, and rejoice and exult in You, and sing praise to Your Name, o Most High.

You have turned back the nations; You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their names forever. The pagans have sunk into the pit they have dug, their own feet ensnared by the trap they laid.

But the Lord reigns forever, having set up His throne for judgment. He will judge the nations with justice and govern the peoples in righteousness.

Friday, 11 October 2013 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Joel 1 : 13-15 and Joel 2 : 1-2

Gird yourselves, o priests, and weep; mourn, o ministers of the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, o ministers of my God! For the house of your God is deprived of grain and drink offering.

Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land into the house of your God, and cry out to YHVH, “What a dreadful day – the day of YHVH that draws near and comes as ruin from the Almighty!

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all dwellers in the land tremble, for the day of YHVH is coming. Yes, the day is fast approaching – a day of gloom and darkness, a day of clouds and blackness. A vast and mighty army comes, like dawn spreading over the mountain, such as has never occurred before nor will happen again in the future.