Monday, 21 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 13-21

Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.”

He replied, “My friend, who has appointed Me as your judge or your attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do : I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth.’”

“‘Then I will say to myself : My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell Me who shall get all you have put aside?’ This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”

Monday, 21 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 1 : 69-70, 71-72, 73-75

In the house of David, His servant, He has raised up for us a victorious Saviour; as He promised through His prophets of old.

Salvation from our enemies and from the hand of our foes. He has shown mercy to our fathers; and remembered His holy covenant.

The oath He swore to Abraham, our father, to deliver us from the enemy, that we might serve Him fearlessly, as a holy and righteous people, all the days of our lives.

Monday, 21 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 4 : 20-25

Abraham did not doubt nor did he distrust the promise of God, and by being strong in faith, he gave glory to God : he was convinced that He who had given the promise had power to fulfill it.

This was taken into account for him to attain righteousness. This was taken into account : these words of Scripture are not only for Him. But for us, too, because we believe in Him who was raised Jesus, our Lord, from among the dead, He who  was delivered for our sins and raised to life for us to receive true goodness.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together and listen to the words of Jesus, and that of St. Paul, heeding us to live righteously and in the spirit of true faith in God, and not in the belief of any human power or pride, that is what is very common for many of us to do.

Jesus warns us that we should not be hypocrites as the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were, and we must truly practice what we preach, and practice what we believe in. And that our righteousness comes truly from the inside and not just the purity of the outside that makes us all righteous in the eyes of God.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law or the Scribes were entirely preoccupied in their own set of laws, rules, and regulations that were very strict and restrictive at the same time. They have rules regulating everything in the daily life of peoples, even to the most minute details regarding the washing of the hands before meals and how it is supposed to be done.

The washing of the hands before meals according to the laws of the Pharisees involve the thorough rinsing of both hands with water all the way to the elbow. While the intention was indeed good, that is for hygiene purposes, in its application, such rules and laws made by men often caused us to lose sight on what is truly important, that is to love and serve the Lord our God, and obey His commandments of love.

That is because the people become so preoccupied with the procedures and the rules, that they obey them for the sake of obeying the rules, instead of understanding the true meaning and purpose of those laws. The Lord did not have His Laws to punish or make the lives of the people to be difficult, as what He intended out of His commandments is that the people can remain in His righteous path and remain in His love, loving one another and loving Him as their Father and Lord.

Yes, brethren, for the commandments of God is the commandments of love, as Christ had aptly summarised it as the commandments to love God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our strengths, and doing the same to love our brothers and sisters, and our neighbours around us, all our fellow mankind.

The Pharisees did not do these commandments, and neither did they ‘do’ them for the love of God, but instead for the praise of men. They loved to show their great piety, their supposed full obedience to the laws of the Lord, while in fact, they were great sinners within. They cleaned the exterior but cared nothing for the interior, that is their heart and soul.

That is why Jesus rebuked them, that they were only beautiful to behold from the outside, but inside, they were truly rotten and corrupt. Worse still is that they did not just do this to themselves, but also to the people of God whom they were entrusted with, and therefore made them to fall as well. The Lord’s wrath is therefore justly raised against them, these deceivers and hypocrites.

That is what the Lord really wants us to avoid, that is to avoid being trapped by the devil and his temptations of this world. We must say those prayers meaningfully and with great sincerity and not just for the sake of being considered ‘holy’, as what those Pharisees had once done. True holiness comes not from the outside, but from the inside.

If we are truly holy inside, that is if we truly love the Lord and dedicate ourselves to Him, then it will certainly show through, and the light that is within us, will shine brightly through, and the Lord will recognise us as His possession. On the other hand, if we are truly wicked on the inside and tried to maintain a facade of purity and ‘holiness’ on the outside, the darkness inside us will also show through, and the Lord will cast us away from His presence.

Today, brethren, we also commemorate the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila. St. Teresa of Avila was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970. She was made so, because of her own great piety and well-known faith in God, as well as through her numerous writings and works, many of which influence us even till today, and also played a significant role in addressing heresies and divisions among the faithful in her time and beyond.

St. Teresa of Avila received visions and experienced great joy in God through ecstatic experiences, through which the Lord especially revealed to her the nature and the result of sin, mortal sins, and how terrible they are. She went through much suffering and persecution throughout her life, with some even doubting her faith in God, as strong and great as it is. Nevertheless, with the strength of God, St. Teresa of Avila continued to march on, and persevered through those time of difficulties.

St. Teresa of Avila is our role model, that we ought to give ourselves in entirely to the Lord, and to open ourselves fully to His divine love and divine providence, that we will become truly the possession of Christ, and Christ becomes a possession of ourselves, that He will live in us, just as we live in His loving embrace. May St. Teresa of Avila intercede for us, asking the Lord to strengthen our faith, and deepen our commitment and conviction for His cause. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red (Martyrs)

Romans 3 : 21-30

But, now it has been revealed altogether apart from the Law, as it was already foretold in the Law and the Prophets : God makes us righteous by means of faith in Jesus Christ, and this is applied to all who believe, without distinction of persons.

Because all have sinned and all fall short of the Glory of God; and all are graciously forgiven and made righteous through the redemption effected in Christ Jesus.