Thursday, 28 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 46-52

At that time, Jesus and His disciples came to Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to call out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!”

Many people scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying, “Take heart! Get up, He is calling you!” He immediately threw aside his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus.

Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, let me see again!” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.” And immediately he could see, and he followed Jesus along the road.

Thursday, 28 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises. Amid loud shouts of joy, sing to Him a new song and play the ten-stringed harp.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

The heavens were created by His word, the breath of His mouth formed their starry host. He gathered the waters of the sea into a heap, and stored the deep in cellars.

Let the whole earth fear the Lord, let the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke and so it was, He commanded, and everything stood firm.

Thursday, 28 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sirach (Ecclesiastes) 42 : 15-25

Now I shall remind you of the works of the Lord and relate what I have seen. The Lord’s works depend on His word, and creation obeys His will. The sun shines on everything and the work of the Lord is filled with His glory. Not even to His holy ones has the Lord given full knowledge of all His marvellous works.

The Lord, Master of the universe, has ordained that all should stand firm in His glory. He penetrates both the depth of the abyss and the human heart and knows their secrets. For the Most High has full knowledge and ordains the signs of the heavens.

He knows the past and foretells the future and reveals the traces of the world’s mysteries. No thought escapes Him, no word is hidden from Him. He has ordered the marvellous works of His wisdom, from ever and forever. Nothing can be added, nothing can be taken away and He has no need of counsel.

All His works are beautiful, even to the smallest spark of light. All this lives and endures forever : all is useful and obedient to His will. All things are in pairs, one opposite the other, and nothing He makes is in any way deficient. One thing emphasises the excellence of the other; who could ever weary of admiring His glory?

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard from our first reading, taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes, about the pleas and our begging for mercy from the Lord, that we hope that God would not hold our sins against us, and that He may be merciful to us and show us His mercy and forgive us our sins. By right, because of our sins, we have deserved death and to be destroyed and yet, by His infinite mercy He had opened for us the way to salvation.

But this does not mean that we should take God’s love for granted, for there is indeed a limit to God’s patience. Forgiveness will also come our way only if we have the commitment and dedication to changing our ways and abandoning all of our pride and ways of sin. God is merciful and kind, and He is willing to forgive our sins, but only if we are able to change and commit ourselves to His ways.

And God has given us so much help, so that we may be saved, firstly by sending reminders one after another, to keep us on His ways and not be lost, with prophets and messengers after another to preach to us the will of God and His message. And last of all, He sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Saviour of us all, and by His suffering and death, by which He bore the combined weight and burden of our sins, He had brought us this hope of forgiveness and liberation from our fate that was death.

We have to always remember this fact, that the Lord died for us, so that we may live. In His death we have shared the death to our old selves, and we have abandoned our old ways of sin, and by His resurrection to life, we have also therefore shared in the new life, which is the path to our eternal joy and true happiness with Him in heaven forevermore.

But the path to a life faithful to God, and indeed the journey of our faith will not be easy. In the Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ had told this fact to His disciples, of the cup of suffering that He was to drink. This cup of suffering was the burden of sin, the whole weight of our disobedience and our punishment, which our Lord Jesus had taken up upon Himself. And we are also going to share in the same cup of suffering, which is the rejection of the world, and the persecution, which our Lord had also encountered, being rejected and cast out by His own people.

It will be difficult to face all the challenges that will come our way, but if we persevere on and never gave up, then we should be rewarded richly by our Lord. Remember that our Lord also said that those who are faithful to Him ought to take up their own crosses in life and follow Him? These crosses in life are part and parcel of our journey as the disciples and followers of our Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps we can look up to the example of the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely St. Augustine of Canterbury. St. Augustine of Canterbury was the first to bring the Faith to England, and he was the first Archbishop of the See of Canterbury. Indeed, it is very unfortunate that because of the heresies committed a few hundred years ago, his successors have gone astray into the darkness, but indeed, in the first place, the works of St. Augustine of Canterbury remained evident even until this day, and it helps a lot in the reestablishment of the Faith in England until today.

St. Augustine was once a Roman priest and monk, who served the Pope in various capacities, and who was then summoned and tasked to spread the faith in the land of England beyond the sea. The Faith had once been established in that land by the Roman Empire, but after the fall of the Roman Empire in that region, the pagans have taken over the land, and the Church was in disarray. Therefore, the task and responsibility fell to the hands of St. Augustine, who then established the See of Canterbury, and became its first bishop.

Through his hard and tireless works, St. Augustine of Canterbury had managed to rebuild the Church and brought many people to conversion to the true Faith, and he never looked back on the past. He kept pushing forward and toiled hard to convert the masses of pagans and turn them from their faults and sins, and therefore to approach the throne of God’s mercy.

Therefore, let us all follow his examples and walk righteously in the path of the Lord. Let us no longer be distracted by the many distractions and temptations of this world, but let us all focus all of our attention to the Lord, devote ourselves to change our ways and do things righteously from now on. May Almighty God be with us all and protect us from the forces of evil, and bring us to the everlasting life He had promised to all of us who remain faithful to Him. Amen.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Mark 10 : 32-45

At that time, Jesus and His disciples were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and He was walking ahead. The Twelve were anxious, and those who followed were afraid. Once more Jesus took the Twelve aside to tell them what was to happen to Him.

“You see we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be given over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. They will condemn Him to death, and hand Him over to the foreigners, who will make fun of Him, spit on Him, scourge Him, and finally kill Him; but three days later He will rise.”

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to Him, “Master, we want You to grant us what we are going to ask of You.” And He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what You are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised in the way I am baptised?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptised in the way that I am baptised; but to sit at My right hand or at My left is not Mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John. Jesus then called them to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants, and their great ones oppress them. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all.”

“Think of the Son of Man, who has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 78 : 8, 9, 11, 13

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us for the sake of Your Name.

Listen to the groans of the prisoners; by the strength of Your arm, deliver those doomed to die.

Then we, Your people, the flock of Your pasture, will thank You forever. We will recount Your praise from generation to generation.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015 : 8th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Sirach (Ecclesiastes) 36 : 1-2a, 5-6, 11-17

Have mercy on us, Master, God of all, and look on us; make every nation stand in fear of You. Take action against the pagan nations and let them see Your power. Give new signs, do fresh wonders, stretch out Your hand and be glorified in Your strength. Kindle Your fury and rouse Your anger, destroy Your opponents, crush Your enemy.

Have pity, Lord, on the people known by Your Name, on Israel whom You called Your firstborn. Show compassion to the Holy City, to Jerusalem where You rest. Fill Zion with the fame of Your wonders, and Your people with Your glory. Confirm the promises made to Your people long ago and fulfill the promises made in Your Name.

Reward those who wait for You and fulfill the words of Your prophets. Hear the prayer of Your servants, Lord; hear Your priests giving Aaron’s blessing to Your people. So that all on earth may acknowledge that You are Lord and everlasting God.