Tuesday, 24 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 21 : 5-11

At that time, while some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire, all will be torn down.”

And they asked Him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” Jesus then said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come claiming My title and saying, ‘I am He, the Messiah; the time is at hand!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, do not be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.”

And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from Heaven will be seen.”

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Daniel 3 : 57, 58, 59, 60, 61

All the works of the Lord, bless Him, praise Him, exalt Him forever.

Angels of the Lord, bless Him, praise and glorify Him forever.

Heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

All the waters above the heavens, bless the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

All the powers of the Lord, bless the Lord, praise and exalt Him forever.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Priest and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Daniel 2 : 31-45

Daniel said to king Nebuchadnezzar, “In your vision you saw a statue – very large, very bright, terrible to look at. Its head was of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

As you watched, a rock cut from a mountain but not by human hands, struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, smashing them. All at once the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold crumbled into pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing floor in summer. The wind swept them off and not a trace was left. But the rock that struck the statue became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.

That was the dream. Now the interpretation. You, o king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given dominion, strength, power and glory, and into whose hand He has placed humankind, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, making you ruler over them. You are that head of gold.

After you, another kingdom inferior to yours will rise. Then a third kingdom of bronze will rule the whole world. Last shall be a fourth kingdom strong as iron and just as iron breaks and crushes everything else, so will it break and smash all the others.

The partly clay and the partly iron feet and toes mean that it will be a divided kingdom, yet it will have some of the strength of the iron, just as you saw iron mixed with clay. And as the toes were partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. Just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, the people will be a mixture but will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

In the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom never to be destroyed or delivered up to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and put an end to them. And it will endure forever. This is the meaning of your vision of a rock cut from a mountain not by human hands, the rock which struck the statue and broke into pieces the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold. The great God has shown the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation reliable.

Monday, 23 November 2015.: 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about the Scripture readings which highlighted the fact that giving should come from the heart, and that from a purity of heart, one can give enormously in terms of the righteousness and light that emanates from those who are righteous, just and good in the eyes of the Lord.

In the first reading, we heard the beginning of the narrative of the story of Daniel the prophet and servant of God, who was called and chosen from among the many exiles of Israel at the time of their Babylonian exile, and he was blessed by God, for his faith and devotion to God, through his never ending commitment to the ways of the Lord, and God blessed him to show an example to the nations that He is the one and only True God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the choice facing Daniel and his friends are the same choices which all of us are facing on daily basis. It is a choice between following the way of righteousness of our Lord, following His commandments and laws, and obeying all the tenets and precepts as taught by the Sacred Scriptures. The other option is for us to disobey the Lord and follow our own desires, living without the bounds of the Law.

It is a choice for us whether we lead a life filled with the purity of love, of care for others, commitment to peace and harmony between peoples and nations, and leading a life filled with faith and joy knowing that we have lived in accordance to God and His words, or we can choose to live a life filled with the worldly pleasures of gluttony and greed, of hatred and jealousy, of insatiable desire and selfishness.

And in this, we should heed the examples of the poor widow as shown and told by our Lord Jesus Himself, as He related the parable to His disciples, about a poor widow who even though gave only two pieces of small coins, but she sincerely gave them for the Lord, without even worrying about what she would do without these coins which would be essential for her own livelihood and survival.

Jesus did not mean to mark a difference or distinguish between the rich and the poor, between the privileged and those who have little or none. On the other hand, He wanted to point out that to have faith in the Lord require much effort and much devotion, commitment and hard work on our part, by giving of ourselves unconditionally and with complete confidence in God.

Many of us are often distracted by the many worldly goods and things that kept us away from truly being able to give ourselves fully to the Lord, and many of these things tempted us away from the true goal that is to reach out to salvation in our Lord. It is in our nature to be easily lured away and tempted by these pleasures and goods of the world, which the evil one is using to his full advantage to prevent us from being saved and fall into damnation.

Therefore, all of us ought to follow the examples of the two saints, faithful men whose lives are an inspiration to us all, namely the lives of St. Columban the Abbot, and Pope St. Clement I, one of the first Popes and a martyr of the Holy Church and a defender of his Faith in God. Both of these saints have lived through times both good and evil, and they have lived their lives faithfully and had had their faith tested through many trials.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the first Bishops of Rome, the successors of St. Peter the Apostle, the first Pope and Vicar of Christ. As the leader of both the growing local Church in the heart of the Roman Empire and as the leader of the whole Universal Church, Pope St. Clement I toiled and laboured hard for the sake of the Lord, and for the sake of His people.

He wrote extensively, and in His many writings, He encouraged the faithful of the Church all over the world to follow closely to the teachings of Christ found in the Church, and amidst persecutions of the faithful, he continued to inspire many of the people of God to walk courageously in faith, and he led by example, when he himself was arrested and imprisoned, he continued to defend his faith in God passionately. Yes, even unto death.

Meanwhile, St. Columban was a religious monk whose life was truly exemplary, filled with prayers and great spiritual focus on the Lord. He advocated the faithful to be true to their faith, and seek to be forgiven from their sins and mistakes through the use of confession by priests. He was one of the first to encourage regular confession before priests to ensure that our souls are clean from the taints of sin.

These two holy men led an example through their own respective lives, and there are many things which they had done that we can also emulate for ourselves. Indeed, let us all heed their examples, and show the same actions in our own lives as well. It is time for us to commit ourselves more to the Lord and walk ever more faithfully in His ways. May God be with us all, and may through the intercession of Pope St. Clement I and St. Columban the Abbot, we may be brought closer to God’s holy presence. Amen.