Friday, 25 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard of the importance to uphold what is good, and to live uprightly and justly, to abandon all taints of sin, and keep ourselves pure and dedicated to the Lord our God. We have to really appreciate, understand, and indeed be grateful of this faith that we have in the Lord. We have to treasure this faith that is within us, and keep it not hidden, but let it shine out for all to see, spreading the love that is within us to all mankind.

We cannot be hypocrites who profess the faith and outwardly appear to be faithful to the Lord, but really in fact is empty and without faith and love in God or our fellow mankind. We must practice our faith and make real the devotion that we have in God. As we belong to God, so then must our actions and deeds reflect this holy nature that is within each of us, because the Holy Spirit had been sent to us as our strength in life.

The Lord also highlighted the importance for us to seek peace with God our Lord and Creator, which He aptly portrayed using the example of an accuser and an accused on their way to the place of judgment. He stressed that it is important for the accused to seek peace, reconciliation, and ultimately resolution of the issue with the accuser, before the accused is judged and punished for what he or she had done.

That accused one is us, my dear friends. We who are all sinners with varying kinds and degrees of sins are the accused, the accused one before the Lord our God, who will be the judge of us all, the Great Judge. If we do nothing and continue to live in our sinful ways, we will face our fate according to what the Lord had told His disciples, that the accused will face punishment suitable to the faults he or she had done. And brethren, the punishment and consequence of sin is death.

Not just any death, brothers and sisters, but an eternal death and suffering, in total separation from the mercy and love of God, with no hope of release or salvation from such state. That is true hell for us, not the popularly depicted hell of fire and flames, but the hell of total separation from God’s love and mercy, the hopelessness of men fallen into eternal damnation. That is hell. That is the punishment and the judgment given to us, who had failed to reconcile ourselves with the judge and the accuser, none other than the saints and the angels, who observed all that we do and stand before us at the presence of God.

Yet the Lord did not leave us alone, and that is why He sent us the greatest help in Jesus, His Son, that through Him, we have hope for salvation, and we have hope of a new life in the holiness and purity that is of the Lord, just as a criminal pardoned and forgiven of his sins, and given a new lease of life, a new opportunity to do what is good, and sin no more.

Through Jesus, we are taught the value of love, the nature of love, and the same in terms of mercy and kindness. Through Him we receive the knowledge of what we ought to do if we seek to be absolved from our trespasses, which earned us the punishment of death in the first place. Through Jesus therefore, we ought to be able to break free from that chain of sin and death which had engulfed us for a very, very long time.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us learn from the Lord, from His examples, and from His words, just as they are written and recorded in the Holy Scriptures. That is what we ought to do, and from now on as well, may all of us be closer and be more intimate in our relationship with our Lord, bringing ourselves ever closer to the throne of the Lord’s mercy and love.

May we not ever be separated from Him, and may we be empowered always, by His Holy Spirit, that in His love and infinite mercy, we can be closer to Him, and remain by His side, faithfully following His path towards salvation and eternal glory in heaven with Him who loves us so much that He sent us Jesus Christ to be our Saviour, His only Son. May the Lord watch over us and bless us always. Amen.

Friday, 25 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 54-59

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it happens. And when the wind blows from the south, you say, ‘It will be hot’; and so it is.”

“You superficial people! You understand the signs of the earth and the sky, but you do not understand the present times. And why do you not judge for yourselves what is fit?”

“When you go with your accuser before the court, try to settle the case on the way, lest he drag you before the judge, and the judge deliver you to the jailer, and the jailer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

Friday, 25 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94

Give me knowledge and good judgment for I trust in Your commands.

You are good, and Your works are good; teach me Your decrees.

Comfort me then with Your unfailing love, as You promised Your servant.

Let Your mercy come in to give me life, for Your law is my delight.

Never will I forget Your precepts, for with them You give me life.

Save me for I am Yours, since I seek Your statutes.

Friday, 25 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 7 : 18-25a

I know that what is right does not abide in me, I mean, in my flesh. I can want to do what is right, but I am unable to do it. In fact I do not do the good I want, but the evil I hate. Therefore, if I do what I do not want to do, I am not the one striving towards evil, but Sin which is in me.

I discover, then, this reality : though I wish to do what is right, the evil within me asserts itself first. My inmost self agrees and rejoices with the law of God, but I notice in my body another law challenging the law of the Spirit, and delivering me as a slave to the law of sin written in my members.

Alas, for me! Who will free me from this being which is only death? Let us give thanks to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Thursday, 24 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Christ warns us today, of the implications of following Him and dedicating ourselves to Him. He highlighted that it will not be an easy path for us, if we choose to follow Him, and oppositions will likely always stand in our way. The other path, that is the alternative path, is easier to take, but it is also a path that leads to ruin and eternal damnation.

The Lord our God had rescued us from the hands of the devil, and rescued us from the depth of our sinfulness, lifting us up to a new life in holiness and glory. He had done that, none other through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus, on the cross. This event of salvation, through the Passion of Christ, highlights the very purpose of the coming of Christ into this world. Christ did not come into this world just for nothing. He came into this world to save it, and save it by no other means other than through the shedding of His blood, and the laying down of His life.

This event also highlights the kind of reception the people have on Jesus, how throughout the ministry of Jesus, while there are many who were glad of His coming, and praised Him as their King, there are also many of those who opposed Him and placed many obstacles in His path, blocking His good works and slandered against Him.

Particularly, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were among the most vicious and stubborn of all of God’s enemies. They rejected God and His ways, preferring their own human and worldly strengths and power. The Lord came into the world, and ever since He began His ministry, He had been faced with all kinds of rejection and even sometimes violent, opposition. Many tested Him and asked Him all sorts of questions doubting His authority as the Messiah and the Son of God.

That is because Satan sowed the seed of distrust and lack of faith in the hearts of these men, because he did not wish to lose his grip on us, which he had once had in complete dominion. The Lord Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross had broken us free from that deadly grip, and set us well on the path towards salvation. Ever since that, Satan no longer has any power over us, for we have been freed from the slavery he had imposed on us.

Yet, do not be mistaken, brothers and sisters, because the Lord our God is a loving God and the Lord of peace. One may easily be misled by the reading today, especially that of the Gospel, that the Lord brings about division and discord. That is a lie that Satan has for us, especially those among us whose faith are weak. The devil himself is the one who sowed those discords and divisions among the people of God, by planting his agents and his seeds of evil, even within the people whom we know well, even within our families and circles of friends.

This again does not mean that we should respond to the discord and divisions with equally great passion for such discords and divisions. It is in our human nature for us to be angry and to hate others, and it is easy for us to take part in that discord, and therefore creating even greater divisions and suffering for one another. Do not give Satan the satisfaction of seeing us being divided against one another and hating one another, even as we have faith in God.

That is why, it is important that we put the Lord’s commandments into practice, and by following His examples. This is done through love and forgiveness. We have to be able to love and commit ourselves to love, especially those who had caused us pain, suffering, and hurt, and be ready to forgive them for what they had done. In this way, our love will flow out from us, and then shared with our fellow brethren, and therefore, with love we can change the state of ourselves, our family, and our brethren around us, ending the division Satan had caused, and bring everyone together with God, in love and perfect harmony.

Remember that our Lord Himself forgave those who had handed Him over to His executors and jailors. He had prayed that the Father would forgive all those who had done such terrible deeds towards Him, that He will not take into account their sins. If our Lord Himself had shown us the example, then we too ought to follow in His footsteps.

Today, brethren, we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, a bishop and religious who founded the religious order of the Claretians. St. Anthony Mary Claret was a man who joined the priesthood and then went on to do many good works for the sake of the faith. He did many charitable works, and was particularly caring for the poor and the abandoned in the society, and during his ministry, he visited and founded hospitals and other charitable organisations dedicated to the care of these least among us.

Even after being chosen and made as an Archbishop in an important see in the New World, that is of Cuba, St. Anthony Mary Claret remained dedicated to his works and to the cause of the poor, the weak, and the less fortunate. He founded a religious congregation, known well as the Claretians, whose aims and works conform to that of St. Anthony Mary Claret, and his focus on service to the people of God.

After he chose to retire from his position, he preached widely and worked hard to maintain the adherence of many to the true faith, and was very successful in this manner, especially through his extensive writing and publications. He even helped the Pope himself to convene and plan for the First Vatican Council, which was designed to deal with errors and heresies within the Church and affirm the obedience to the true and orthodox Christian faith.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us show the world, the love of God given to mankind, that through our words, our deeds, and our actions, just as those of St. Anthony Mary Claret and those who followed in his footsteps can be the beacons of light, hope, and love, piercing through the dark veil spread by Satan over all of us, in attempt to divide us through lies and fabrications, that we will hurt one another and therefore sin before God.

Let us ask St. Anthony Mary Claret for his intercession, and may the Lord too strengthen us in our devotion and love for Him, that we may love Him greatly and tenderly at all times, until the end of our days and until we are reunited again with Him in the glory of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Luke 12 : 49-53

I have come to bring fire upon the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what anguish I feel until it is over!

Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, in one house five will be divided : three against two, and two against three.

They will be divided, father against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.