Wednesday, 4 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 14 : 25-33

At that time, one day, when large crowds were walking along with Jesus, He turned and said to them, “If you come to me, unwilling to sacrifice your love for your father and mother, your spouse and children, your brothers and sisters, and indeed yourself, you cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not follow Me, carrying his own cross, cannot be My disciple.”

“Do you build a house without first sitting down to count the cost, to see whether you have enough to complete it? Otherwise, if you have laid the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone will make fun of you : ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'”

“And when a king wages war against another king, does he go to fight without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand can stand against the twenty thousand of his opponent? And if not, while the other is still a long way off, he sends messengers for peace talks.”

“In the same way, none of you may become My disciple, if he does not give up everything he has.”

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 4-5, 9

Alleluia! Blessed is the one who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. His children will be powerful on earth; the upright’s offspring will be blessed.

He is for the righteous a light in darkness, He is kind, merciful and upright. It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty.

He gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Romans 13 : 8-10

Do not be in debt to anyone. Let this be the only debt of one to another : Love. The one who loves his or her neighbour fulfilled the Law. For the commandments : Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not covet and whatever else are summarised in this one : You will love your neighbour as yourself.

Love cannot do the neighbour any harm; so love fulfils the whole Law.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the Lord Jesus who told His disciples and the people, the story about a master of the house who conducted a great feast and invited many people to come for the feast. And yet, all those who had been invited by the master refused to come, when his servant went to them and asked them to come for the feast.

Why is this so? If we noticed, all those who have been invited had their own reasons why they could not make it or why they did not want or could not go for the feast. One mentioned how he has business to attend to, and another has a son who is getting married, and surely the others also had various other reasons that they used as excuses to avoid having to come to the party organised by that master of the house.

In this parable, Jesus revealed to us all, the nature of our wickedness and our failures to follow the commandments of the Lord, as shown through the story of the master and the disobedient and unwilling guests. The master of the house is clearly representing the Lord our God, and the servant whom the master sent to the guests represents the prophets and messengers whom God had sent to His people.

And the guests represent all of God’s people, those whom He has called to His eternal banquet, the banquet of joy and happiness, that is the reunion between us and our Lord. And He has freely given His invitation for us to come and join Him in the joy of His blessings, and yet, it was also many of us who rejected Him and His offer, and in many cases, we even ridiculed those whom He had sent to remind us and call us to Himself.

What is the reason behind our indignant and haughty attitude? What is the cause of this wicked act and lack of gratitude? It is our preoccupation and inability to resist the many temptations that the devil placed on our path in order to block our way as we move towards Him and to our salvation. Instead, he gave us many goods and tempting things to distract us and he hoped that instead of looking towards God, we would look towards him instead.

And thus, that was just like how so many of the invited guests refused to come to the master’s banquet because of their own occupations and busy schedules. Let us all ask ourselves, is it not the same with our own attitudes? Is it not just like how we often reject the Lord and abandon Him for other pursuits such as to satisfy our own greed and desires?

Is it not just as how we often neglect our faith life and prayer life in the name of following our heart’s wishes and wants? We often forget about the Lord our God and only look for Him when we are in trouble or in difficulty. Yes, that is our nature, that in good times we are so preoccupied with ourselves and satisfying ourselves, and then when difficult times come, we hurry to seek the Lord and beg for His help, and when He apparently does not answer us, we often become angry at Him and even curse at Him.

This is our bad tendency and our bad habit. And if we do not change from this habit, we will fall into eternal damnation. Those invited guests who refused to come for the feast truly have no place in the master’s banquet, and their places will be given to another, just as the master asked his servants to gather others to come for the feast instead, even the poor and the destitute.

This is a lesson for us, not to be proud or be too filled with our own ego. We must not think of ourselves as privileged and worthy just because of our own achievements and good things we have in this world. On the contrary, we have to be humble and we have to realise how many debts we had that God had forgiven. He has forgiven us our faults and sins, and He is willing to welcome us back into His embrace, if we are willing to make a difference to ourselves and change.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, perhaps all of us ought to look at the examples shown by St. Martin de Porres, the saint whose feast we are celebrating today. He is a religious and a dedicated servant of God, born in what is today Peru in South America. He lived through a time of difficulty, a time of rampant prejudice and injustice, as someone born in the land that was a colony of the Spanish Empire, he encountered many prejudices and injustice, and once was barred from being able to devote himself fully to the religious life.

But he did not give up, and rather than succumbing to prejudice or even hatred, he continued on to do his works and devotions to many people, especially the poor and the less fortunate. He ministered to the sick and dying, and he devoted himself to those who have little or none, unloved and abandoned. Despite all fhe difficulties and challenges that he encountered, we can see now how much honour and glory he now receives and is a part of in the Lord’s kingdom.

Therefore, brethren, shall we not do the same as well? Shall we not also commit ourselves to good and selfless deeds for the benefit of others? If we show care and love for all those who are around us, then truly we shall receive the everlasting reward of our God. Shall we all consider this and thus do our best to resist our own temptations and the pleasures of this world that we may receive greater joy in the world that is to come?

Let us all walk in the footsteps of St. Martin de Porres and dedicate ourselves more and more to those who are less fortunate around us, and let us all willingly and joyfully go to the banquet that the Lord has prepared for us, and go in to that banquet worthily, donning the vestment of purity, chastity and love, that having shared in His eternal joy, we may forever enjoy His grace and blessings. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Luke 14 : 15-24

At that time, upon hearing the words of Jesus, one of those at the table said to Him, “Happy are those who eat at the banquet in the kingdom of God!”

Jesus replied, “A man once gave a feast and invited many guests. When it was time for the feast, he sent his servant to tell those he had invited to come, for everything was ready. But all alike began to make excuses.”

“The first said, ‘Please excuse me. I must go and see the piece of land I have just bought.’ Another said : ‘I am sorry, but I am on my way to try out the five yoke of oxen I have just bought.’ Still another said, ‘How can I come, when I have just got married?'”

“The servant returned alone, and reported this to his master. Upon hearing his account, the master of the house flew into a rage, and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'”

“The servant reported after a while, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out, but there is still room.’ The master said, ‘Go out to the highways and country lanes, and force people to come in, to make sure my house is full. I tell you, none of those invited will have a morsel of my feast.'”

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Psalm 130 : 1, 2, 3

O Lord, my heart is not proud nor do I have arrogant eyes. I am not engrossed in ambitious matters, nor in things too great for me.

I have quieted and stilled my soul like a weaned child on its mother’s lap; like a contented child is my soul.

Hope in the Lord, o Israel, now and forever.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Romans 12 : 5-16a

The same with us; being many, we are one body in Christ, depending on one another. Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts. Are you a prophet? Then give the insights of faith. Let the minister fulfil his office; let the teacher teach, the one who encourages, convince.

You must, likewise, give with an open hand, preside with dedication, and be cheerful in your works of charity. Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another.