Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come together to celebrate this occasion of the holy day of our Lord, and we listened to the good words of the Sacred Scriptures. In today’s readings, the theme is all about who we are, and what we are supposed to do in this life of ours. For we are all the children of God, and therefore we are expected to life according to who the children of God are.

The first reading taken from the Book of Proverbs detailed how a good woman should behave, in the ways and actions she should do in life, and in how she should carry herself in the society of the people of God. However, this does not mean that this applies only to the females, but also to all of us. It is the kind of life that we all should lead, to be upright and just, to be careful in how we use our words, and in loving one another. Do you all remember that these were precisely what Jesus told us to do?

Then the psalm refers to blessings which God will bestow on those who fear the Lord and obey Him, and most importantly, those who do not just fear the Lord but also do His will and walk in His ways. This is a promise which He gave us, and if we are faithful, certainly we will not be disappointed. If we are faithful, then certainly we will need to do something to justify that faith, and not just merely staying idle or being so fearful of the Lord that we do not dare to do anything.

In the second reading, taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the faithful in Thessalonica, a frequent reminder to us is once again uttered. It is to remind us that the coming of the Lord will be totally unpredictable and will catch us all unprepared unless we have taken the necessary steps to make sure that when He comes again into this world as He had promised, He will not find us asleep, and instead find us all worthy, awake and filled with the fruits of our goodness to the brim.

And finally in the Gospel Reading, Jesus our Lord when He first came into this world told His disciples of the parable of the talents. A master of the house gave his ten servants five talents of silver, two talents, one talents and so on and so forth, before he embarked on a journey to become king in another country, and he would return one day to his house to settle matters, especially what he had given and invested in his servants.

The Gospel essentially summarised everything that the entirety of our myriads of readings today. In it, the parable of the silver talents represented exactly what had happened, what is happening now, and what will happen in the near, unpredictable future. The parable’s characters themselves represent the many characters that are present in this world, and who are those servants, to whom the master of the house had entrusted his silver? They are all of us, brothers and sisters.

The house itself is the world, and just as the servants lived in the house, entrusted with the care of the house while the master is gone, we have all been entrusted with this world as its stewards. Remember what the Lord had charged mankind with, at the beginning of time in the Book of Genesis. He made mankind the custodians of creation, giving all things and all creation to be under our stewardship, blessing us to multiply and fill all the earth.

He gave us many things, and for each of us, we are all different and unique. Each of us have different set of skills and abilities, and that is the wonders of our Lord and such is the grace of His creation of all of us, the most precious and beloved of all others He had crafted with His hands. He gave us life and even more, and all these are the food and drink with which the master of the house gave to his servants to sustain them.

The master of the house, is the Lord our God, for He is the Owner of the house that is this world, and He is also our Owner and Lord. And He came to us to grant us His gifts, like the master gave the silver talents to his servants. What are these gifts, brothers and sisters? It is the seeds of faith, the seeds of hope, and the seeds of love which He had planted in each one of us who believe.

Through baptism, we have been born anew and received new life in Christ. However, to all of us also have been given a task, a very important one indeed, that is to sow those seeds on fertile soil and allow them to grow healthy and strong, producing rich and plentiful fruits that will serve as our justification when the Lord comes back to this world at the end of time, at the time of His own choosing.

And the master left the house, to go into the kingdom where he was made the king of. The same happened to our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was in fact speaking of what would happen in the immediate future at that time. Remember that Jesus went on to suffer in Jerusalem, enduring through His Passion and eventually was crucified at Golgotha and died for our sins?

Remember that after that He was risen from the dead on the third day, appearing to His disciples, and while reaffirming His promises and telling of His coming again at the end of time, He then ascended to heaven in glory? He went there to prepare the places for His servants and His faithful ones, but also to reclaim the Kingship which He had left behind when He chose to come down as a lowly human, to save us.

Thus, like the master of the house who left to be a king in a distant country, Jesus also went to be the King of all kings. Next week, on next Sunday to be precise, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Jesus Christ our Lord, King of the Universe. Therefore, the readings this Sunday, we can see as a prelude leading towards that great feast, the last one of this liturgical year. After that we will begin a new year cycle with the season of Advent.

And the readings for the ending of the liturgical year all have the same theme, that is about the future arrival of our Saviour and Lord, who will come again for the second time, at the end of time, which is a time that we do not know of, to judge all the people living and the dead. And this also ties in perfectly with the parable of the talents in our Gospel reading today.

Remember, that the master came back to the house after a long time for a reckoning. And was there anywhere mentioned that he trumpeted his return or announced it to the servants beforehand? Was there anywhere mentioned that the master sent a message announcing his coming to them? No, and that is indeed what will happen at the end of time for us.

Yes, we do not know when the Lord will come again. And St. Paul warned us in his letter, our second reading, that the Lord’s coming will be like a thief, unannounced, sudden and unexpected. He will come at a time when we least expect it, and whatever we have done in this life, and whatever we have not done in this life, and whatever just things or wicked things we have committed, all have been finalised and set in the book when He comes again.

Thus it is a good time for us to look back into our life, to all what we have done and what we have said. And it is a good time for us to begin to inspect our relationships with others around us, and most importantly, our relationship with our Lord and Master. Why is this so? So that when the time comes suddenly, and the Lord asks us of what we have done, we can proudly show Him and present Him with all the things we have done.

The master asked for all of his ten servants to give an account of what they have done with the silver talents they have been entrusted with. The first two servants gladly showed that they have doubled the silver talents they had been given, and they gave their master the amount they have gained. The master was happy and pleased, and showed his grace and favour upon them.

But the third servant feared his master and hid the silver talent rather than investing it and letting it to grow with profits. It clearly betrayed his contempt for his master and the gift of talent which had been given to him, allowing it to slumber and be hidden in a hiding place. And the master was angry, and casting him out into the darkness, he rebuked that unfaithful and lazy servant, and took what he had, and gave it to those who deserved it more.

It is therefore precisely what will happen when we come to face the Lord in the final judgment. Everything we have said or done in our life on earth will be placed spread out in front of God with nothing that we can hide. After all He knows everything we do, everything we ever thought of, and He can see deep into our hearts. Remember that He has placed the seeds of faith, hope and love within us? He will then ask us to account for those.

If we can show Him that we have allowed those seeds to germinate within us, and to allow them to grow on a rich and fertile soil, then our Lord will certainly praise us, and say to us, ‘Blessed of My Father, welcome into the kingdom which I have prepared for you.’ And we will enjoy the gifts which He had prepared for us. For we have been entrusted with life, and with love and all things, and we have been found worthy, and thus our reward is an immortality in perfect love and harmony with our God, an eternal bliss and happiness.

And some may ask, how do we do this? It is by knowing our faith, learning and understanding what it is about, by listening to the teachings of the Church faithfully and internalise them, so that from there, our understanding may be turned into action, and those actions will then, if we truly understand our faith and commit ourselves to it, represent faith, hope and love.

If we fail to do this, and instead, allow those gifts of God to remain dormant, or worse, to even wither and die, because of our wickedness and our persistence to remain in sin and darkness, then our Lord Jesus will say to us, ‘Begone, cursed and wicked ones! Be forever with Satan and his angels in the lake of eternal fire prepared for them!’ And we shall be forever sundered from the love of God, to suffer for eternity a life without faith, hope and love, an eternal suffering and agony in despair. And that is true hell.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative that all of us do not leave this day behind without realising that if we have not done what we ought to do, then we should better start now. Never delay and never postpone anything! For all we know that, the Lord may come anytime, and if He comes when we are not ready, regret will not save us. Do not think that there is still a lot of time, but act as if He may come at this very moment.

How do we then, live our lives? We have to practice our faith as taught by Jesus concretely. First, we should look beyond ourselves and shatter the prison of our ego and selfishness. Look around us! There are many who needs our help, and most importantly our love and attention. Not all those who need help needs money or possessions. Many people remain unloved, ostracised, and hated in the society, and what we can do, is to offer our love for them.

Today’s two saints, St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude were both very pious and dedicated servants of God whose life examples we can emulate in our own. St. Margaret of Scotland was the Queen of Scotland, and yet she was renowned for her extensive charitable works and activities, and she was also very devoted in prayer, communicating frequently with God.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was devoted in her works and writings, through which her faith in the Lord became an inspiration for many who witnessed her life and read those works. Their examples should inspire us to do more for the sake of those around us, leading them ever closer to God through our own actions.

And lastly, of course, after we have loved one another, having hope in one another’s salvation, by knowing that we have done what is right, then we have to love our Lord and God beyond everything else. Yes, we have to love Him even more than we love ourselves. Then, our Lord and Master, at the day of reckoning, the Day of Judgment, will congratulate us, and lead us into His eternal kingdom, for us all to enjoy and be happy forever.

Let us all realise that each of us have been given different gifts, each according to our own abilities. And let us not let these gifts go dormant but rather that may all these benefit one another, through our actions of love. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-first-reading/

 

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-psalm/

 

Second Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-second-reading/

 

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-gospel-reading/

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 16 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are shown through the readings from the Sacred Scriptures and the Gospel that our Lord and God is merciful and kind, loving and forgiving, but as long as we have faith in us. And not just any faith, but faith that is both real, concrete and living. That faith in us cannot be artificial or just for show, or otherwise, it will be dead, just as faith without works is dead.

Our Lord Jesus in the Gospel today healed two people, a woman who had suffered from terrible haemorrhage for the past twelve years, and the daughter of an influential man in the society. Both of them were saved and made whole again because of their faith, and the woman was healed from the bleeding while the daughter was brought back to life from the gates of death.

The woman believed in the Lord so much and had such a great faith in Him, that she fervently believed that just by touching the very fringe of His cloak, she would be made whole. Certainly she was afraid of going public with her illness, for a woman to have such a bad bleeding for many years would be considered by others as the woman having a curse from God. Thus, she secretly touched the fringe of Jesus’ cloak, with sincere hope in her heart that she would be healed.

Meanwhile, the daughter of the influential man was brought back to life because of the sincere faith of her father, who begged Jesus in public to come and heal his daughter. Influential as he was in the society, it was out of the norm for him to beg publicly for such a favour from the Lord Jesus. And yet, that was what he had done. He was so filled with faith in the Lord’s power that he lowered himself to beg before the Lord of all, to heal his daughter and make her whole again.

In both cases, we see two different conditions, of two different peoples, who were made whole, both by their faith. It is their genuine faith and devotion to the Lord which moved the Lord to make them whole again and cleanse them from their afflictions. Their faith was not just an empty faith, and they were willing to go the extra mile to profess that faith.

Indeed, had the woman with bleeding not have such a strong faith, she would not have braved the great crowds pushing around Jesus. She must have been in a lot of pain, and yet she braved herself to make the journey to meet Jesus. And afraid as she was, she came clean and confessed what she had done before Jesus, showing her genuine faith, and she was praised by Him for what she had in her.

The influential man journeyed to see Jesus personally and begged Him to bring his daughter back to life. He could have just sent a servant or tell another person to call Jesus to his house. But he did not do so, and rather, he took the extra mile to meet the Lord personally and humbled himself before Him to ask for that great favour. He had complete faith in the power of Jesus, and his wish was granted.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we see these two examples, as examples we can follow in our own lives, and in how we live our faith. As St. Paul in his epistle to the Church and the faithful in Philippi mentioned that in our world, there are many who do not follow the way of Christ. It is the same now as it was then, and many considered themselves as the enemies of Christ.

And it was mentioned that their god is their belly, and what does this mean? It means that rather than having faith in God, like the woman with bleeding and the influential man, they put their trust in themselves, and their ego and pride clouded everything else. Their desire is their master and not God. They follow what their hearts’ desires lead them to, and more often than not, it leads them to destruction and damnation.

It is a way and fate that all of us who have faith in God certainly want to avoid. Certainly none of us want to end up in hell, is it not? All of us want to be saved, but the problem is that many of us do not have the resolve or the idea of how to ensure this is what happens and not our condemnation. And many of us want to remain in our present state, continuing to sin before God and oppose Him, and what is at stake is none other than the state of our soul.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, it is up to us now, from now on, to choose out path in life. Are we content with our way of life now, and do we consider what we do now as something that is good and just before God? Or are they things abhorrent in the sight of God? We have a clear choice, brethren, and we must no longer wait. Remember, that the coming of the Lord is not known to us in terms of time, and when He comes again, we may be caught unprepared if we do not do exactly as what He had asked us to do.

And how do we prepare ourselves then? It is by following the examples of the woman with bleeding and the man whose daughter was dead, and also the examples of the many holy saints and peoples of God. All of them have faith in the Lord, and not just any faith, but a living and concrete faith. Yes, faith that is not just mere words or empty in meaning, but also a faith founded and substantiated with love.

And how do we love then? By loving those who are around us regardless of who they are, what their backgrounds are, and regardless of whether they have benefitted or caused us pain before. We must love all equally without bias. Let us also love those like the woman with bleeding, namely those who suffer and who are in need, that our faith is truly a living faith.

Lastly, of course most important of all, we have to love the Lord our God with all our hearts and our strengths. In this, we have to look at the resolve of the woman with bleeding. We have to have strong faith in the Lord, and hope in Him, for in Him is our salvation. We have to therefore be like the woman, who went all the way with hope that her affliction may be healed.

We have all been afflicted too, brothers and sisters in Christ, with the affliction of sin, that is the disease of the soul. Our Lord Jesus Christ had come into the world to heal us sinners from our afflictions. And therefore, all of us should from now on cling ourselves to He who healed us, and together, let us all be reunited perfectly with our Lord and Master in love. May Almighty God bless us all, love us tenderly and give us His grace always, till the end of time. Amen.

 

Epistle :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/usus-antiquior-twenty-third-sunday-after-pentecost-ii-classis-sunday-16-november-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/usus-antiquior-twenty-third-sunday-after-pentecost-ii-classis-sunday-16-november-2014-holy-gospel/

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 25 : 14-30

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.”

“He who received five talents went at once to do business with the money, and gained another five. The one who received two talents did the same, and gained another two. But the one who received one talent dug a hole, and hid his master’s money.”

“After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.’ The master answered, ‘Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

“Then the one who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with two talents; with them I have gained two more.’ The master said, ‘Well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in little things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.'”

“Finally, the one who had received one talent came and said, ‘Master, I know that you are a hard man. You reap what you have not sown, and gather what you have not scattered. I was afraid, so I hid your money in the ground. Here, take what is yours!'”

“But his master replied, ‘Wicked and worthless servant, you know that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered; so you should have deposited my money in the bank, and on my return you would have given it back to me with interest.”

“Therefore, take the talent from him, and give it to the one who has ten. For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who are unproductive, even what they have will be taken from them. As for that useless servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

 

Alternative reading (Shorter version)

Matthew 25 : 14-15, 19-21

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Imagine someone who, before going abroad, summoned his servants to entrust his property to them. He gave five talents of silver to one servant, two talents to another servant, and one talent to a third, to each according to his ability; and he went away.”

“After a long time, the master of those servants returned and asked for a reckoning. The one who had received five talents came with another five talents, saying, ‘Lord, you entrusted me with five talents, but see, I have gained five more.’ The master answered, ‘Very well, good and faithful servant, since you have been faithful in a few things, I will entrust you with much more. Come and share the joy of your master.”

 

Homily and Reflection : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 5 : 1-6

You do not need anyone to write to you about the delay and the appointed time for these events. You know that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people feel secure and at peace, the disaster will suddenly come upon them as the birth pangs of a woman in labour, and they will not escape.

But you, beloved, are not in darkness; so that day will not surprise you like a thief. All of you are citizens of the light and the day; we do not belong to night and darkness. Let us not, therefore, sleep as others do, but remain alert and sober.

 

Homily and Reflection : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

 

Homily and Reflection : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Sunday, 16 November 2014 : 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Proverbs 31 : 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

The woman of character, where is she to be found? She is more precious than any jewel. Her husband has complete confidence in her; she will be of great benefit to him. She brings him only good and not evil, all the days of her life. She has obtained wool and flax, and works them with skillful hands.

She puts her hand to the distaff and her fingers hold the spindle. She reaches out her hand to the helpless and gives to the poor. Charm is deceptive and beauty useless; the woman who is wise is the one to praise. May she enjoy the fruits of her labour and may all praise her for her works.

 

Homily and Reflection : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/14/sunday-16-november-2014-33rd-sunday-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-margaret-of-scotland-and-st-gertrude-virgin-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 16 November 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Psalm 129 : 1-2

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine.

English translation

From the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my prayer, from the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Pro nostrae servitutis augmento sacrificum Tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus ut, quod immeritis contulisti, propitius exsequaris. Per Dominum…

English translation

We offer You, o Lord, the sacrifice of praise for the increase of our service, that You may graciously complete that which, for no merit of ours, You had granted unto us. Through our Lord…

Communion

Mark 11 : 24

Amen, dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite, quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

English translation

Amen I say to you, whatsoever, you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive, and it shall be done to you.

Post-Communion Prayer

Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum…

English translation

We pray to You, o Almighty God, that You will not suffer to be overcome by human dangers those to whom You granted participation in things that are divine. Through our Lord…