Thursday, 16 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Virgins)

Luke 11 : 47-54

At that time, Jesus said, “A curse is on you, for you build monuments to the prophets your ancestors killed. So you approve and agree with what your ancestors did. Is it not so? They got rid of the prophets, and you build monuments to them!”

“For that reason the Wisdom of God also said : I will send prophets and Apostles and this people will kill and persecute some of them. But the present generation will have to answer for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, the people of this time will have to answer for them all.”

“A curse is on you, teachers of the Law, for you have taken the key of knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you prevented others from entering.”

As Jesus left that place, the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees began to harass Him, asking Him endless questions, setting traps to catch Him in something He might say.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Virgins)

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6

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.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp, with trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!

Thursday, 16 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Hedwig, Religious and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious and Virgins)

Ephesians 1 : 1-10

Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, to you who share Christian faith : receive grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus the Lord.

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, who in Christ has blessed us from heaven with every spiritual blessing. God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world to be holy and without sin in His presence.

From eternity He destined us in love to be His adopted sons and daughters through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will. This goal suited Him : that His loving kindness which He granted us in His Beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

For in Christ we obtain freedom, sealed by His Blood, and have the forgiveness of sins. In this appears the greatness of His grace, which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and understanding, God has made known to us His mysterious design, in accordance with His loving kindness in Christ.

In Him and under Him God wanted to unite, when the fullness of time had come, everything in heaven and on earth.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard about the distinction between the ones who lived in the flesh and in the Spirit, that is those who listen to the whim of their human weaknesses, namely pride, anger, jealousy, desire, arrogance, greed, ignorance, wrath, lust, dishonesty and many others, rather than to walk in the way which the Lord had designed for us.

The Lord had revealed His laws through Moses, with all the rules and regulations designed to help the people to control themselves and prevent themselves from succumbing to the desires and temptations of the flesh and the pleasures of the world, with which Satan constantly and daily assault us all mankind, in order to drag us into damnation together with him for eternity.

The Law of God, as exemplified by the Ten Commandments are a set of guides and rules to help the people of God as focus to lead them in life, just like a lighthouse with its light guides ships away from the shores and from dangerous and sharp rocks, so that they would not flounder and be wrecked on the reefs. Thus the purpose of the Law of God was not to punish, but instead to love the people of God, that is by showing how God loves them through such care that He gave them such guidance that they may not hurt themselves by doing something foolish in life.

Yet, many of the people refused to listen to and obey the laws, despite constant and repeated reminders by the Lord. They continued to persist in their rebelliousness, and they walked with pride, knowingly following the ways of Satan the deceiver, who lavished them with lies and temptations of the flesh. Like the tales of old, again using the example of the ships and the sailors who guide them through rough waters, Satan and his agents were like the legendary sirens who were told to be enchanters who lulled unaware sailors and ships with their songs, that they ended up wrecked on reefs and rocks and be lost.

The lull, the joy and the pleasures of Satan are dangerous, brothers and sisters in Christ, be it then, and be it now. He is always about and around us, looking for opportunities where we are at our most vulnerable. And if we are not careful, we may indeed be trapped by the devices of Satan and fall into damnation. Thus we have to be ever vigilant and be ready to guard ourselves against such vicious attacks.

And how do we best do this? This is by embracing the teachings of Christ and asking the Holy Spirit to be our guide, by entrusting ourselves fully to His love and shunning all things of the devil. That means we have to cast away all acts of fornication and corruption of our flesh, heart and soul, and begin to walk righteously in the sight of God. We have to practice our faith and commit fully to the truth and love of God, showing the faith we have in our words, actions and deeds.

And today, we celebrate the feast of a great woman and saint, whose life can be a model for us all, in living our faith. She is St. Teresa of Jesus, also known famously as St. Teresa of Avila, after the name of the city where she came from. St. Teresa of Jesus was recently made a Doctor of the Church, for her great and numerous works in faith, through which her writings and works became priceless inspiration source for many of the faithful.

St. Teresa of Jesus herself was born in Spain during the time of the early modern era Europe, at the time when the Church was about to be rocked greatly by the so-called Protestant ‘reformation’, where many of the faithful were led away by the lies and falsehoods of the agents of Satan, who infiltrated many hearts of the faithful and turned them against the efforts of the Lord through His Church.

Satan appealed to the people of God, to make themselves free from the Law of God through the Church, which had been seen by many as corrupted. Indeed, the Church leadership and hierarchy at the time had been seen as debauched and corrupt, much like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law at the time of Jesus. They only fulfilled the Law on the superficial level, but in their hearts, they were corrupt and they served only their own desires.

But many people took matter to their own hands, and rather than listening to the words of the Holy Spirit, they followed the lies of Satan that caused even greater injury to the Church and to the faithful. They refused to help the Church and the faithful to get free from the entanglements of Satan, and instead they themselves became entangled even further.

This was where St. Teresa of Jesus entered the scene. Joining the Carmelites at a young age, St. Teresa of Jesus had always been noted for her great piety and devotion to the Lord, who made herself to belong completely to Christ our Lord. She wrote many books and writings which became model for many who came after her in the subsequent centuries, and she also received many visions about the Lord, and how we mankind ought to live our faith life. She eventually also became a leading figure of the Counter-Reformation efforts to return many souls to the Lord.

She suffered from many illnesses and diseases throughout her life as a religious sister, but she did not complain or become bitter because of that. Instead, she saw it as a suffering being suffered for the sake of the Lord. She also promoted the need for mankind to put themselves completely in trust to God, and to surrender themselves and subject themselves to the love of God.

This and many of her other teachings in her writings help mankind to find a clear path towards the Lord, avoiding all the efforts of the devil who constantly tried to turn mankind away from the path towards salvation and into damnation with him. Like the clear and bright light of the lighthouse, what St. Teresa of Jesus had written, had said and had done in her life, enduring suffering after suffering in joy with the Lord, and in her complete and undying trust in God, she showed us all, who still wander in the darkness of this world, how to reach our target and destination, that is the Lord our God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us today ask for the intercession of St. Teresa of Jesus and of other holy saints of God, that they may help intercede for our sake, and pray for us before the Lord, that we may follow their leads and examples, to avoid falling into the traps and devices of Satan and that we may also reject firmly all forms of fornications of the flesh, and begin to live according to the Spirit. May Almighty God guide us on our way, and lead us to Himself, that we may find our way to resist Satan and remaining true to our faith in God. God bless us all. Amen.