Saturday, 26 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of our Lady)

Brethren, bear fruit and be bountiful in all our actions and graces. That is what the Lord wants from all of us, when He told us through His disciples, on the parable of the fig tree. We should not be barren and unproductive, as the fig tree that was barren.

Yes, we are the fig trees, and we have been given much ‘nutrients’ that is the love and the Spirit of the Lord, and this love within us has grown much, and then, comes what is expected from us, that we bear fruits from ourselves. The Lord can be likened to a farmer or a landlord, and this world, His field. We are then the seeds that the Lord had planted in this world, and in time, as we are nurtured in faith and love, we grow tall as a majestic plant, and in time, bear flowers and hence much fruits.

However, it does not mean that we can just remain idle. If we remain idle and do nothing, then we will never bear fruit. Although the Lord can be likened to the farmer of the field, we too are in a sense farmers of the field of the Lord, for we have to toil and labour for the sake of the plants that are ours, that they will grow healthy and bear bountiful products.

Plants can indeed grow without assistance, and even so, they can also bear fruit, but the results are usually not good, and the plant will likely look sick and weak. There are many threats to the healthy growth of a plant, especially for crop plants, such as weeds, diseases, lack of nutrients due to barren soil, heat and dryness, and many other factors. Equally so, there are many factors that help these plants to grow better, such as water, fertiliser, insecticides, and many others.

Therefore, by using these farming examples, just as Christ had done, let us take time to reflect on ourselves and on the actions we have taken in the past. When we look back at what we had done, especially in the past one week or so, have we noticed what we had done for the healthy growth of our faith? You may ask what is the relationship between the farming story and our own real lives, but they are indeed very clear, brethren.

For the plants indeed reflect ourselves and our own nature, the faith that is in us, the faith we have towards the One and True God. The plants cannot grow well or even die, if it is choked by weeds, or being competed out by the roots of those weeds, lacking nutrients for growth, and if the soil itself is lacking in the aforementioned nutrients. In human terms, this can be equated to the entanglement of sin, temptations of the world, and an environment without love.

In this world, brothers and sisters, it is getting more difficult for us, in order to ensure the healthy growth of our faith, that eventually it will bear fruits. This world offers us too much temptations at times, for many of us to be able to persevere, and we often give in to our desires. We become ensnared by the threads spun by the devil, and fell into state of sin. We also often live in environments not conducive for the development of healthy faith in God.

This is where, we need our fertilisers, insecticides, and basically everything fhat makes plants grow healthy, strong, and fruitful. Our fertiliser is our prayers, made in deep love, devotion, and faith in God our Lord. A good prayer life nurture our spiritual development, and we will also then be made ever closer to the Lord our God. Without prayer, we will not be able to get closer to God, and we will be more prone to the power of the devil and his temptations.

Therefore, brethren, let us begin from now on, to develop an ever more intimate relationship with God, especially by nurturing a healthy and deeply spiritual life, that our hearts will be ever filled with the love of God, thus helping us to grow strong in our faith, and ultimately to be fruitful, producing plenty of fruits. Yes, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are what we will richly produce from ourselves, in the love, hope, wisdom, and faith that pour out from the deepest depth of our hearts.

May the Lord who planted the seeds of faith and love in us continue to guide us, that we can nurture what is good inside us, that we can truly be fruitful, producing the richness of love, that we will be found worthy by the Lord our God when He comes again. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of our Lady)

Luke 13 : 1-9

One day some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?'”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.'”

Saturday, 26 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of our Lady)

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Saturday, 26 October 2013 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Mass of our Lady)

Romans 8 : 1-11

This contradiction no longer exists for those who are in Jesus Christ. For, in Jesus Christ, the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death.

The Law was without effect because flesh was not responding. Then God, planning to destroy sin, sent His own Son, in the likeness of those subject to the sinful human condition; by doing this, He condemned the sin in this human condition. Since then the perfection intended by the Law would be fulfilled in those not walking in the way of the flesh, but in the way of the Spirit.

Those walking according to the flesh tend towards what is flesh; those led by the Spirit, to what is Spirit. Flesh tends towards death, while Spirit aims at life and peace. What the flesh seeks is against God : it does not agree, it cannot even submit to the law of God. So, those walking according to the flesh cannot please God.

Yet your existence is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, because the Spirit of God is within you. If you did not have the Spirit of Christ, you would not belong to Him. But Christ is within you; though the body is branded by death as a consequence of sin, the Spirit is life and holiness.

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is within you, He who raised Jesus Christ from among the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Yes, He will do it through His Spirit who dwells within you.