Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 22 : 15-21

At that time, the Pharisees went out and considered how they could trap Jesus by His own words. They then sent out their disciples, with members of Herod’s party, for this purpose.

They said to Jesus, “Master, we know that You are an honest Man and truly teach God’s way. You are not influenced by others nor are You afraid of anyone. So tell us what You think : is it against the Law to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus understood their bad intentions, and said to them, “Hypocrites, why are you testing Me? Show Me the coin with which you pay the taxes.” They showed Him a silver coin, and Jesus said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose name?”

They answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus replied, “So give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.”

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 1 : 1-5b

From Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy to the church of Thessalonica which is in God the Father and in Christ Jesus, the Lord. May the peace and grace of God be with you.

We give thanks to God at all times for you and remember you in our prayers. We constantly recall before God our Father the work of your faith, the labours of your love and your endurance in waiting for Christ Jesus our Lord.

We remember, brothers and sisters, the circumstances of your being called. The Gospel we brought you was such not only in words. Miracles, Holy Spirit and plenty of everything were given to you.

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 95 : 1 and 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10a, 10c

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth! Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

How great is the Lord and worthy of praise! Above all gods He is to be feared. For all other gods are worthless idols, but YHVH is the One who made the heavens.

Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His Name; bring gifts and enter His courts.

Worship the Lord with holy celebrations; stand in awe of Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

He will judge the peoples with justice.

Sunday, 19 October 2014 : 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Mission Sunday and Memorial of St. John de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Martyrs; and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 45 : 1, 4-6

Thus says YHVH to His anointed, to Cyrus : “I have taken you by the right hand to subdue nations before you and strip kings of their armour, to open the gateways before you so that they will be closed no more.”

“For the sake of Jacob My servant, of Israel My chosen one, I have called you by your name and given you your mission although you do not know Me. I am YHVH, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I armed you when you did not know Me, so that, from the rising to the setting of the sun, all may know that there is no one besides Me; I am YHVH, and there is no other.”

Prayer of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation

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On 7 October 2014, on the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, His Excellency Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye, the Archbishop of Singapore dedicated and consecrated the Archdiocese of Singapore and all the efforts of the New Evangelisation in Singapore to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation.

Although this refers to the Archdiocese of Singapore, I believe that everyone else in the world, within the Church of God may also pray the same prayer for the sake of evangelisation of the Good News everywhere in this world.

 

Here is the text of the prayer, to be prayed daily from 7 October 2014 to 7 October 2015, the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

 

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Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ.

We praise and thank God for His mighty works in you. O Blessed Mother, Star of the New Evangelisation; we consecrate the New Evangelisation for Singapore to your Most Immaculate Heart and implore your intercession for a mighty renewal of the Catholic Church in Singapore. We entrust to you all priests, Religious and laity. Guide our leaders to imitate your humility and obedience to God and to be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

May all hearts be converted and re-ignited with love for Christ and inflamed with evangelical zeal, so as to bear witness to God’s loving salvation. Mary, Mother of the Church, unite us with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be a people of communion in mission.

May your constant love and guidance be the light of refuge that leads us to your son, Jesus. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Saturday, 18 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate with the entire Universal Church, the feast of one of the four great Evangelists, that is the four writers of the Holy Gospels. Today is thus the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, who wrote the Gospel accorded with his name, the Gospel of St. Luke. As a background, St. Luke was once a renowned physician, who became one of the faithful and followed St. Paul in some of his journeys, including what St. Paul wrote in the letter he wrote to Timothy, another faithful disciple of the Lord.

As we can see from what St. Paul shared with Timothy, St. Luke remained faithful and devoted to the tasks entrusted to him. Yes, this is true even though his fellow journeymen had left to pursue their own interests or for various other reasons. They encountered difficulties along the way, and not all the people they were sent to welcomed them. There were indeed instances when they were welcomed and accepted gladly, but more often than not, they literally had the doors slammed on their faces.

This is exactly what Jesus mentioned as He sent His group of seventy-two disciples, who were meant to help both Jesus Himself and His Apostles in the ministries and works they were doing. Jesus mentioned how they would be sent like lambs among wolves. They would not encounter easy works and acceptance easily, but will be constantly subjected to difficulties and suffering. The lambs rightly represent the disciples and the Apostles, while the wolves represent the various people of God, from which a great majority refused to listen to the Word of God.

Remember that in the other occasion in the Gospels, Jesus also mentioned how that as He who is the Lord and Master of all would suffer rejection and suffering at the hands of mankind, the very people of God to whom He had been sent, then His disciples and Apostles, as well as all those who follow Him and walk in His path will also suffer the same fate. Thus, it explained the fate which St. Paul and St. Luke the Evangelist met during their journeys.

But did they stop on their path? No! That is what made them different from those others who gave up along the way, who could not endure the difficulties and challenges and preferred the comfort of their old lives, settling for the less worthy. What can indeed be more worthy than the Lord and to live to proclaim the Lord’s words to the nations? And St. Luke, together with the other saints continued courageously to defend their faith and to continue the hard works for which they are admired and adored now.

Remember what the Lord had said in the Gospel today, in the Gospel written by St. Luke himself, so that we may know it and hear it as if it was spoken directly by the Lord Jesus Himself to us? Yes, that the harvest is plentiful but the labourers and workers are few. So what did Jesus then tell His disciples? Exactly, that they should ask the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers and workers to tend to the harvest. This truly makes sense, as more labourers will help the Lord of the harvest to bring in even more harvest and bring about more bountiful returns.

But what does this mean, brothers and sisters in Christ? This means exactly that the harvest is truly plentiful in our world, and the harvest refers to the people of God, who are ripe for picking and salvation in God, are awaiting for the labourers and workers who serve the Lord, to pick mankind for the Lord of the harvest, that is the Lord our God.

The field itself refers to this world. This world is filled with much difficulties and uncertainties, but it also offers much opportunities and chances for the crops grown in the field of this world. The pests and the weeds that threaten the crops refer to the forces of darkness that is led by Satan, the father of lies and evil, who always try their best to seduce mankind and make them to follow him instead of the Lord.

The rich harvest is a very tempting thing to the pests and weeds, who will definitely try to snatch and destroy the good harvest from the hands of those who collect these rich harvests to the Lord of the harvest. Thus, the same applies to us, as Satan and his fellow fallen angels is out there trying to turn us mankind, by appealing to our human desires and weaknesses, so that we may fall along our path towards the Lord, and then into damnation with them.

The labourers and the workers of the harvest refer to the servants of God, the disciples of Christ and the Apostles, who like St. Luke the Evangelist and many other saints, worked hard and courageously, like lambs among wolves, to ensure that the harvest of the Lord is collected amidst all the pests and the weeds, that is amidst the challenges and difficulties. Their successors, our priests and bishops, and all who devoted themselves to the service of God, continued their hard works even until this very day.

But this does not mean that the works of the Lord are limited to them only. In fact, brothers and sisters in Christ, we too are the workers and servants of the Lord. How is this so? That is because all of us who believe in the Lord and had received the revelation of truth through the Holy Scriptures and the Church, and have been baptised and accepted into the Church of God have the responsibility to spread the Good News of the Lord.

If St. Luke the Evangelist wrote one of the four Holy Gospels and through it countless souls had been saved, then we too can do it in our own way, by showing the faith through our own actions, that show our sincere and genuine faith, which is not in mere words but also through real actions, so that all those who see us, may know that we belong to the Lord, and therefore hopefully they too will seek salvation in God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. Luke the Evangelist and other holy saints of God, and remembering always the words of the Lord, how the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few, let us all pray sincerely and fervently, so that we may truly know and understand what we can do in order to help the works of God in the salvation of mankind.

May Almighty God bless us all and strengthen us, that we may courageously take up the cross and bear the mission entrusted to us, so that we may help the works of God, saving many others who await God’s salvation and who still live in the darkness of the world, and so that those of us who are called, we may embrace our calling and devote our lives in the full and complete service of the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 18 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you.”

“Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house. When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”