Saturday, 21 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 12 : 46-50

At that time, while Jesus was still talking to the people, His mother and His brothers wanted to speak to Him, and they waited outside. So someone said to Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside; they want to speak with You.”

Jesus answered, “Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “Look! Here are My mother and My brothers. Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is for Me brother, sister or mother.”

Saturday, 21 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God my Saviour.

He has looked upon His servant in her lowliness, and people forever will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Saturday, 21 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 2 : 14-17

“Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH.

“On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people, but My dwelling is among you.” The people of Judah will be for YHVH as His portion in His holy land. He will choose Jerusalem again.

Keep still in YHVH’s presence, for He comes, having risen from His holy dwelling.

Friday, 20 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings are perfectly unanimous in their messages, which the Church intended for us all to know and understand, so that in our own respective lives we may grow ever more faithful and devoted to Him Who is present in us and Who dwells in all of us, the Holy Temple of His most Holy Presence.

In the first reading, we heard about how the forces of the faithful Israelites led by the Maccabee family retook the Temple of God in Jerusalem which had been captured by the Greeks earlier on and made into an abomination of the pagan gods and idols. The faithful removed all the wicked things and vile idols from the Temple, tore down the old and defiled altar and rebuilt a new altar in its place.

Then in the Gospel reading, we heard about how Jesus our Lord became angry because of the merchants, money changers, all the sins and the vileness of human greed that took place in the courtyard of the Temple of God in Jerusalem, where many people cheated each other in money and possessions, and where greed had no bounds, without due regards for the Lord’s House and its sanctity.

Therefore God was right to be angry and His wrath was justified, for all these people had defiled His House, His sanctuary and His dwelling place, just as those Greeks under king Antiochus IV Epiphanes had done many years before the birth of Jesus. He cast them all out with a whip, and with that purified the Temple of God from all the evils of the world, the evils of money, of greed and of boundless pride, the pride of men before God.

But all these readings will not make sense to us, and neither will they be beneficial to us, if we do not understand their true significance, their important meaning and what they wanted to convey to us. It is the very fact that because all these abominations and evils had corrupted the Temple of God in Jerusalem that God had been angry with, sending His faithful and later even His own Son, to be the ones to cast out all of the wickedness away from His holy Presence.

And that Temple of God built first by Solomon, and later rebuilt by the priest and prophet Ezra, and built to a new height of architectural glory and fame by the king Herod the Great, all these in their magnificent appearance, all the gold, silver and precious items within, all these cannot be compared to the new Temples of His residence which God has decided to dwell in, no longer in the Temple of God in Jerusalem, but in the hearts of His faithful.

Yes, lest we are all unaware of this fact, and lest that we have been deceived into thinking otherwise, we have to remember what St. Paul mentioned in one of his letters, reminding us the faithful that we are all the Temples of the Holy Spirit, for as with the Apostles who received the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost day, from them, we have received the same Spirit as well.

And do not forget that we have also received in the Most Holy Eucharist, our Lord’s own Most Precious Body and Most Precious Blood, and therefore, we dwell in Him and He is dwelling in us, in body, spirit, mind, heart and soul. Thus all of us are the essence and substance of His new dwelling in this world, and there can be no compare between the temples built by the kings and the prophets which were made from stones and precious items of the earth, but not from the very creation of God, made in His own image, that is us.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us be ever vigilant, that in all of our words, actions and dealings, all of us will be always faithful to our Lord without exception, and always try to keep our body, our mind, our heart and our soul free from the taints of sin as much as possible, so that the Lord Who sees all hearts and minds, will find us worthy and bless us. For otherwise His righteous anger will be upon us, and we will be cast out forever from His presence into eternal damnation.

May God bless us always, and help us to keep our ways righteous, just and holy, so that our Temple of His presence, our own bodies, minds, hearts and souls will be pure and holy and worthy to be His dwelling on earth. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, 20 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 19 : 45-48

At that time, Jesus entered the Temple area and began to drive out the merchants. And He said to them, “God says in the Scripture, ‘My House shall be a House of prayer; but you have turned it into a den of robbers!”

Jesus was teaching every day in the Temple. The chief priests and teachers of the Law wanted to kill Him, and the elders of the Jews as well, but they were unable to do anything, for all the people were listening to Him and hanging on His words.

Friday, 20 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Chronicles 29 : 10, 11abc, 11d-12a, 12bcd

In sight of the whole assembly David blessed YHVH and said.

Yours, YHVH, is the greatness, the power, splendour, length of days, glory, for all that is in the heavens and on the earth is Yours. Yours is the sovereignty forever, o YHVH.

You are supreme Ruler over all. Riches and honour go before You.

You are Ruler of all, in Your hand lie strength and power; You are the One Who gives greatness and strength to all.

Friday, 20 November 2015 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Maccabees 4 : 36-37, 52-59

Then Judas and his brothers said : “Our enemies are defeated, so let us go up and purify the Holy Place and consecrate it again.” And all the army assembled and went up to Mount Zion.

On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-eight (164 B.C.) they arose at dawn and offered the sacrifice prescribed by the Law on the new altar of holocausts which they had built. It was precisely at that same time and date that the pagans had profaned it before; but now they consecrated it with songs accompanied by zithers, harps and cymbals. All the people fell prostrate and blessed Heaven that had given them happiness and success.

They celebrated the consecration of the altar for eight days, joyfully offering holocausts and celebrating sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise. The front of the Temple was adorned with crowns of gold and shields; the gates and the rooms had been restored and fitted with doors.

There was no end to the celebration among the people, and so the profanation of the Temple by the pagans was forgotten. Finally, Judas, his brothers and the whole assembly of Israel agreed to celebrate the anniversary of the consecration of the altar annually for eight days, from the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev, in high festivity.