Thursday, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 1-11

At that time, one day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around Him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats, left at the water’s edge by fishermen, now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat and continued to teach the crowd.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if You say so, I will lower the nets.” This they did, and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

They signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and they filled both boats almost to the point of sinking. Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made, and so were Simon’s partners, James and John, Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on.” So they brought their boats to land and followed Him, leaving everything.

Thursday, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

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

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, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 1 : 9-14

Because of this, from the day we received news of you, we have not ceased praying to God for you, that you may attain the full knowledge of His will through all the gifts of wisdom and spiritual understanding.

May your lifestyle be worthy of the Lord and completely pleasing to Him. May you bear fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. May you become strong in everything by a sharing of the Glory of God, so that you may have great endurance and persevere in joy.

Constantly give thanks to the Father who has empowered us to receive our share in the inheritance of the saints in His kingdom of light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In Him we are redeemed and forgiven.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about how the fruits of the Gospel and the Good News brought to the people in the city of Colossae have blossomed and bore a lot of great results. The people turned towards the Lord and they abandoned their past sinful lives. And in the Gospel we also heard then how Jesus healed many people from their sickness and diseases, how He made them whole once again.

In this, we have to realise a simple fact, which many of us tend to overlook and forget. We often do not realise this until it is too late, and quite a few of us refused to recognise this truth, that is we are all afflicted and diseased, for all of us share that same affliction and disease that had affected all of mankind, namely sin. Sin is the disease of the soul, which causes everything inside of us to be rotten and wicked.

And we have dwelled on in this state for a long time, ever since we threw aside our obedience to God for the comfort and pleasures of the world, listening and obeying our own selfish desires instead of listening to the word of God. We who were once destined for good things and to enjoy forever the goodness of life as God had created it, had become marred and spoilt by the darkness of the sins inside of us.

Therefore, the Lord who loves us and who is merciful, He gave us another chance, a new opportunity, by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour, to be our Healer, the One who will make us all whole once again. He laid His hands on His people so that by His power, He may heal them from their afflictions. For it is not by our own power only that we have saved ourselves, but through the grace of forgiveness that God had extended to us, and which we receive with open arms.

But it was very often that we refused to accept God’s forgiveness and grace, because the doors of our hearts are closed up tight against Him. He came to us, knocking on those doors, but we did not respond. This is just as at the time of His birth in Bethlehem, when all the inns and places were full and no place opened their doors to welcome the Lord and Saviour when He came into the world, and He was born in a simple and humble stable.

It is a good thing and a good lesson for us to take note. How many of us realise that we ought to be humble and open our hearts, baring our souls open for the Lord to come in and dwell in us? Many of us are too full of ourselves, filling our hearts with ego, desire, pride, hubris, lust and many other things that keep us away from the Lord, all the wickedness that had made us all unworthy before God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, have we made the effort to make ourselves better and draw ourselves closer to God? Or are we going to continue to live in sin and wickedness that we have accumulated all these while? We have a clear choice, brothers and sisters, and just as we cannot serve both God and Satan, we cannot be ambiguous in our choices. If we are truly faithful to the Lord, then we should take action to show it in reality.

Our Lord had been so generous in His love and mercy for us, and thus it is only right that we should thank Him for that. If not for His mercy and love, we may have no hope with us, and everything would be meaningless, including our existence in this world, because of our sins, we were heading into certain annihilation without hope of getting out of that destruction. Yet, because the Lord in Jesus Christ had extended His hands to us and rescue us, we now have a new hope once again.

May Almighty God, our loving Father, ever forgiving and merciful, our Healer and our Lord, bless us and keep us always in His grace. May He keep us in His love, and may all of us also be awakened in our heart and soul to devote ourselves to Him more and love Him ever more. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 38-44

At that time, leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His mother-in-law was suffering from high fever, and they asked Him to do something for her. Bending over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and waited on them.

At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying His hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, “You are the Son of God!” He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew He was the Messiah.

Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of Him, and finding Him, they tried to dissuade Him from leaving. But He said, “I have to go to other towns to announce the Good News to the kingdom of God. This is what I was sent to do.”

And Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 51 : 10, 11

But I am as a green olive tree that thrives in the house of God : I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever.

I will praise You forever for all You have done, and proclaim Your good Name before the faithful ones.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 1 : 1-8

Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God and Timothy our brother, to the saints in Colossae, our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ : Receive grace and peace from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord. Thanks be to God, the Father of Christ Jesus, our Lord!

We constantly pray for you, for we have known of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints. Indeed you await in hope the inheritance reserved for you in heaven, of which you have heard through the word of truth. This Gospel, already present among you, is bearing fruit and growing throughout the world, as it did among you from the day you accepted it and understood the gift of God in all its truth.

He who taught you, Epaphras, our dear companion in the service of Christ, faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, has reminded me of the love you have for me in the Spirit.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard how the Lord had sent His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, to be our Saviour, to bring us from the darkness and into the light. Through Christ, He had brought us away from the certainty of death and from the dominion of Satan and his allies. And from us He had cast out the demons and the evil spirits that dwelled inside us, and in its place, He places within us His Word, His own Divine Presence, and the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has come to deliver us from the forces of evil that assailed us, and He has come to bring us from the punishments which were designed for us, because of our sins and our rebellions against God. We are the children of the Light, greatest and most beloved among all of God’s creations, and we were special, but because of our inability to resist our temptations, that brought about our fall from grace.

We would rather follow the devil’s instructions and accept his offers, because it seems to be more lucrative and beneficial for us. That is because the devil knows exactly what we have in us, our desires and wants, and he is tapping on those to bring about our downfall. Satan was once the prince of the heavenly forces and the greatest, most brilliant and mightiest of the angels of God, Lucifer, the lightbringer, but he was brought down by his own pride and wickedness.

As he fell from grace, Satan must have been jealous on the glory and grace that God had bestowed on men, on our ancestors, for He created them to be His most beloved and greatest creatures. Therefore, just as He has fallen from grace and was cast down, he was likely determined to bring us down with him as well. That was why he tempted Adam and Eve, and their failure to keep up their faith brought about their fall as well.

But God is a loving God, who loves us all very greatly beyond compare. Even though we have sinned before Him, and even though He hates our sins and wickedness, but He still has His love for us. For we were created to share in His love, in His very own image, and to us He has given dominion over all creations. But we were unable to match up to what the Lord expected of us.

Yet, He is still willing to give us a chance, just as He had given those who came before us many, many chances at repentance and forgiveness. He openly offered His mercy, and through Jesus, He made it clear that sinners may come to Him and be freed from the bonds that had held them, namely the bonds of sin. The Lord cast out the evil spirits from them, and in this, He showed all that He values us more than anything else.

Now we also have to realise that, as powerful, mighty and scary the devil is, or his allies, they all have no power against God who is all powerful and Almighty. No matter what hubris the devil had lavished and shown, even he, being a mere angel, mighty as he was, is still subject to the Lord, who is his Lord and God, as painful and as horrible as it is for Satan to admit this fact.

He tried to undermine and to stop the Lord’s work at saving His people, by condemning them before His presence, as he had done with Job, and when he was unsuccessful, he continued to pester us, and tempted us all the more, trying hopefully to steer us far away from finding the salvation in God. And in the end, he even tried to tempt Jesus Himself, not knowing that He is God, the Divine Word who took up the flesh of Man.

Jesus made it clear that He had the authority over the evil spirits, just as He is the Master and Lord of all things. And He wants all sinners and those troubled in heart to be healed and to be brought back to the grace of God. This is what He wanted, and what He had done for us, even unto bearing the cross of sins and sufferings and died for us on Calvary.

God had done so much for us, and He has been willing to go the extra mile to help us and deliver us from certain destruction because of our own actions and faithlessness. Shall we do the same as well? It is just right and honourable for us all to return Him the love and dedication He had shown us. And how do we do so? It is by living righteously and sinning no more, and in all of our words and actions, let us all always be mindful of the Lord and His love for us.

Let us all bless the Lord and let us from now on walk again in His path, so that by doing so, we will be found just and worthy to receive the eternal life and the fullness of grace and inheritance He had promised all who remain faithful to Him. Let us all reject and rebuke Satan and all of his lies, and all of his wicked temptations and falsehoods, and let us seek and worship the Lord our God alone. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 31-37

At that time, Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee, and began teaching the people at the sabbath meetings. They were astonished at the way He taught them, for His word was spoken with authority.

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by an evil spirit, who shouted in a loud voice, “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I recognise You : You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus said to him sharply, “Be silent and leave this man!” The evil spirit then threw the man down in front of them, and came out of him without doing him harm. Amazement seized all these people, and they said to one another, “What does this mean? He commands the evil spirits with authority and power. He orders, and you see how they come out!”

And news about Jesus spread throughout the surrounding area.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!