Sunday, 13 October 2013 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Thanksgiving, especially giving thanks on what is due for us to give thanks for, is what is truly lacking in many of us. We do not give thanks to those who had done good things for us. Worse still, we often seek glory for ourselves, even for things that we do not do on our own, claiming honour and glory for ourselves, even of it is not rightful for us to do so.

That is the essence of the readings that we listened to today, brethren in Christ. A thanksgiving for the Lord who had shown us His care and love, and His dedication, one which we often overlook or simply forget, in the joy of the moment, after we had received the goodness of God.

The readings highlighted one of our major shortcomings throughout life, that is to forget the role of God in our lives, and to overlook Him and His role in favour of our own achievements and glory. That is what happened to the lepers who were healed from their afflictions, which out of ten, only one returned to the Lord to give Him thanks for His mercy and love.

We contrast this to the behaviour of Naaman, the Syrian, and one of the leper who is a Samaritan, who showed their affection to those who had done good unto them, thanking them sincerely on the love shown to them. They have done what is right in the eyes of the Lord, and therefore were made righteous.

Why use the example of a Syrian and a Samaritan? Firstly, I want to highlight the importance of understanding the true desire of the Lord in promoting the right attitude and mindset to His people. He did not intend the examples to highlight the differences between the people of Israel and the ‘pagan’ peoples around them.

Why so? That is because, the people of Israel, having been chosen as the people of God through the covenant God had renewed with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants, they have always thought of themselves to be special. That they are always the good ones, the upright, and the ones ensured salvation as their birthright.

They have always looked at the pagans in disgust and contempt, considering them damned and evil, while in fact, as we all know, as written throughout the Old Testament and even the New, as they had rebelled against God, tested Him, doubted Him, and even abandoned Him for other gods, the golden calf, and the false gods of the people of Canaan who lived around them. They had done what is wicked in the eyes of God and did not repent, but grew to be ever worse and deeper in their wickedness

Thus, in line with their stubbornness and God’s love for all mankind, without exception, He had sent Jesus His Son, to reveal the true nature of His love for all. He wanted to show Israel their wickedness and the need for them to repent, as well as for them to realise that being the first chosen people of God does not give them an excuse for their sinfulness, and that they in fact, should welcome all mankind as fellow brothers and sisters in God.

It is important for us to be warm and welcoming, as well as open to others around us, not to be quick to judge and condemn us, but instead seek on what is good within us, and embrace one another with love. That, is what the Lord truly desires from us, not our length prayers of the mouth, nor our empty obedience, but the love and commitment from our heart, for the sake of one another, and for God Himself.

Jesus our Lord, the Son of God had been sent into this world that through Him we may gain healing and new life, that we abandon the darkness of evil and this world, for the light of Jesus who is the light of the world, healing us from our afflictions that are sins and wickedness of the evil one. He had been sent to heal us from the sickness that engulf us, be it physically or spiritually, just as He healed the ten lepers who came to Him for healing and mercy.

That is why, I have to reiterate again of the importance of thanksgiving and gratitude, for there is no greater thing that we have ever observed in the history of creation, other than the ultimate sacrifice Christ had went through for us, for our sake, that we will not die an eternal death but live a life eternal, and live through not an eternal punishment but an eternal joy with God.

We have to beware of this leprosy, the true leprosy of the soul, that is our pride, arrogance and lack of gratitude for the Lord and His love and instead trusting our own feeble human power. We tend to think good of ourselves and do not give thanks and glory to God. We are often ignorant of the love that God has shown to all of us, not least of which, in the giving of Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, He had made us all whole and worthy once again, rescued from hell and given the promise of eternal life, as long as we remain faithful and true to His ways.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us commit ourselves to cast far, far away this leprosy, the sickness of our soul, away from us, that we cast away the evils and sins from ourselves, purifying our heart, body, and soul in the light of Christ, the light that cast away all the illusions of Satan, the impurities and corruptions of this world, and made ourselves whole and pure again in God.

Today, Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ on this world, will consecrate this world, the entire world, to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in our Lady of Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Mother of God, through whom Jesus Christ our Lord is born into this world. And therefore, just as she had cared and loved her Son Jesus with all of her heart and all of her love, she too will from now on take care and love our world and all those who live in it, that is all of us, brothers and sisters, all mankind as one.

This world, brothers and sisters, is in great darkness, under the power of evil and Satan, where brothers hurt brothers, where sisters slander sisters, and where mankind slay one another in hatred. It is where violence and injustice are the common order of the day. It is where mankind dwells in their pride, and disobeys God’s commandments and spurns His love on daily basis. It is the perfect example of leprosy of the soul that I have mentioned earlier on.

That is why, through entrusting this world to the care and intercession of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus, we hope that this world can become a better world, and be healed of this sickness, the leprosy of sin and evil that had infected us all for way too long. It is time for us all, with the help and assistance of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through her, with the power and might of God Himself, to break free entirely from the chains of slavery that had bound us for all these times.

May the Lord our loving and merciful God look away from the sins we had committed, and as we approach His throne of love and mercy, may He welcome us back into His embrace, and bless us with His eternal love and grace. May Mary, His Mother also continue to pray for us and care for us in the same way that she had shown Jesus her love, while He was on earth. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 13 October 2013 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 11-19

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, and, as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet Him. Keeping their distance, they called to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” Then, as they went on their way, they found they were cured.

One of them, as soon as he saw that he was cleansed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice; and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave Him thanks. This man was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did none of them decide to return and give praise to God, but this foreigner?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Sunday, 13 October 2013 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Timothy 2 : 8-13

Remember Christ Jesus, risen from the dead, Jesus, son of David, as preached in my Gospel. For this Gospel I labour and even wear chains like an evildoer, but the word of God is not chained. And so I bear everything for the sake of the chosen people, that they, too, may obtain the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus and share eternal glory.

This statement is true :

“If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him.”

“If we endure with Him, we shall reign with Him.”

“If we deny Him, He will also deny us.”

“If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.”

Sunday, 13 October 2013 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

The Lord has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

Sunday, 13 October 2013 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Kings 5 : 14-17

So Naaman went down to the Jordan where he washed himself seven times as Elisha had ordered. His skin became soft like that of a child and he was cleansed.

Then Naaman returned to the man of God with all his men. He entered and said to him, “Now I know that there is no other God anywhere in the world but in Israel. I ask you to accept these gifts from your servant.”

But Elisha answered, “I swear by YHVH whom I serve, I will accept nothing.” And however much Naaman insisted, Elisha would not accept his gifts. So Naaman told him, “Since you refuse, let me get some sacks of soil from your land – the amount that two mules can carry. I shall use it to build an altar to YHVH, for I shall not offer sacrifices to any other god but Him.”

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

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are ever reminded of the love and kindness that God has shown us all these while. We are also reminded of the love and dedication that God has for us, by sending a deliverance to us in His Son, Jesus Christ. We are then finally reminded of the promise of salvation and eternal joy that He had made with us, through the covenant, the new covenant sealed by the Blood of His Son Jesus on the cross.

That everlasting joy, the happiness that never ends will be ours, if we remain faithful to the Lord, and if we are consistent in our commitment to the Lord and His cause. If we do so, we will receive rich rewards in the end, while those who diverge from the path of righteousness and turned their backs to the Lord, they will be damned to eternal suffering in hell.

However, brothers and sisters in Christ, we must not be focused too much on the rewards and punishments that await us at the end of our lives. Our love for the Lord must not be because of our fear of punishment or indeed because we desire rewards from the Lord. In that manner, our love and devotion to the Lord must be really genuine and pure, without any hidden desires or purposes.

The Lord rewards the just and all those who keep His commandments, staying true to His laws and words, tempted not by the worldly pleasures and evils. He loves us dearly and wants us to remain in His grace. He is loving and forgiving, caring for all of us. But if we divert from the path of the Lord, and walk in the land of the wicked, His anger will be upon us.

But the Lord is angry at us not because He does not love us, but precisely because He cares for all of us with all of His heart. He sent us prophets and helpers along time, and all these times, He had given much of His attention to us, that we can be saved, and be worthy of Him, and not fall into eternal suffering of death.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is often that we spurned God’s eternal love for us. It is often that we turned away from His loving embrace, from His light, as we prefer darkness to the light of God. In the darkness of the pleasures of this world, we find the false guide and the false light, and we spurned God’s love and God’s care for all of us.

Therefore, brethren, let us renew our commitment to the Lord, to be loving children of God, loving one another and loving He who is our Father, promising that we will keep true to His words and His proclamations, casting away all that is evil from our lives and doing good at all times, giving love to our fellow men. God bless us all. Amen.