Thursday, 1 September 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the theme of today’s Scripture readings tie in very nicely with the special event we are currently celebrating on this same day, that is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, during which we offer our solemn prayers together as the whole Church, that we as the stewards whom God had entrusted with the care of this world, may exercise our responsibilities and duties with genuine commitment and effort for the maintenance and the care for this world.

And we have to remember, lest we be distracted by what this world thinks about the environment, we as Christians have duties to take care of the living and the non-living world, caring for all the wonderful animals and plants, all the creatures that God had created to be in this world with us. We are the stewards of all the things God had created, and as such, we have that very great responsibility to care for what God had made with His hands.

But that does not mean that we focus our attention so much on those things living around us, the animals, plants and the environment, that we forget our most important mission and responsibility, that is to care for one another, for our fellow men alike. After all, God had appointed us to lead and guide one another on our way to reach out to Him, that we may receive the salvation and life promised to us by our loving God.

The Gospel today spoke of the moment when Jesus was calling His first disciples, the ones whom He had chosen to be His Apostles. And He called them from various places, and not the least of which was from the shores of lake Galilee, from simple fishermen paddling their daily lives and livelihoods catching fishes from the lake to be sold at the market.

These fishermen were simple men, uneducated and without great intelligence, power or influence. They were mere ordinary people of their time, without special talents and skills, without experience in governance and privilege, without much wealth and possessions, and yet, God chose them to be His principal agents and workers to spread His salvation and light to the nations.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what Jesus spoke today is what He expected from us to do, as His disciples and all those who follow Him. We are made to be the fishers of men, as what Jesus called those simple fishermen for, that they would no longer catch the fishes of the lake and the sea, but instead, spread their nets and catch for the Lord, the whole race of mankind, people of various kinds and from various origins, that they may be found by the Lord their God.

And that is the task entrusted to the Church by our God, and therefore becomes our mission and duty as well. And therefore, we are not just the stewards of creation, but also caretaker for one another as well, especially with regards to guarding our brethren against falling into corruption and sin, and liberating them from the darkness and bringing them into the light.

We have to be responsible with our words, actions and deeds, that they will not be misunderstood or even worse, mislead our brethren into the darkness instead of the light. We have to be responsible in our actions towards one another, towards other living creatures of God, that we show care, concern and the effort to preserve and make beautiful what God had created in His wonders.

Let us all therefore today renew our commitment to God, and seek to do our best in order to commit ourselves to the Lord and His ways. Let us learn to be more like Him in all of our ways and in all that we do, so that in everything that we do, we will proclaim Him to the whole world, for all others to see, that they too may believe and thus by believing, we all together will be brought to the eternal inheritance and life God promised us. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 1 September 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

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, 1 September 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 23 : 1-2, 3-4ab, 5-6

The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord, the world and all that dwell in it. He has founded it upon the ocean and set it firmly upon the waters.

Who will ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who will stand in His holy place? Those with clean hands and pure heart, who desire not what is vain.

They will receive blessings from the Lord, a reward from God, their Saviour. Such are the people who seek Him, who seek the face of Jacob’s God.

Thursday, 1 September 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 3 : 18-23

Do not deceive yourselves. If anyone of you considers himself wise in the ways of the world, let him become a fool, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s eyes. To this, Scripture says : God catches the wise in their own wisdom. It also says : The Lord knows the reasoning of the wise, that it is useless.

Because of this, let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you, Paul, Apollos, Cephas – life, death the present and the future. Everything is yours, and you, you belong to Christ, and Christ is of God.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard in the first reading, the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, how they were divided against each other there, with factions arising among the members of the Church, some professing to believe in what St. Paul taught them, and some others professing to believe in what another famous preacher, St. Apollos, preached to them.

These factionalism hurt the Church and the faithful as a whole, because the bitterness and ill-feeling that arose between them caused difficulties not just in the works of evangelisation, but also in the efforts to keep the faithful united against matters which they should be standing up against instead of falling against each other’s throats just because they disagreed on certain matters.

That was likely because they were really not feuding about the Lord, but instead, they feud because of their own human needs, of their own human rivalries and emotions, desires and greed. Ultimately, as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle, all of them were serving the same Lord their God, and regardless of the methods each of them employed, each and every one of them were serving the greater glory of God.

In the Gospel today, Jesus worked hard among the people, healing them from sickness and casting out demons from them, and even the evil spirits themselves recognised Jesus as Who He is, that is the Messiah and the Son of God. They feared Him for rightly, even though they have rebelled against Him together with Satan, their master, but they, together with Satan, are still bound to Him nonetheless.

Yet, it was often that the people themselves, even those among whom Jesus had performed His miracles, that refused to believe in Jesus, in His teachings and His words. They rejected Him, cast Him aside and even handed Him to His tortures and enemies, calling for Him to be crucified. And all these, which we have also heard in yesterday’s Scripture passages, reflect the nature of mankind.

Yes, we are often too busy with ourselves, settling our businesses and activities that we tend to forget entirely about God, about our faith and about why we live this life in this world. And that is where we begin to lose our focus and our way, and we end up like those who bicker among themselves even for simple matters, rather than serving the Lord and His Church.

Let us all ask ourselves, and let us all reflect on ourselves, our actions, as well as look through the Church and all of its long history. Then we should realise how often indeed it was that many bitterness and divisions were caused by similar selfish desires of men, which contradicted what the Lord had commanded them to do. They were unable to hold their ego and desire in check, and as a result, division that harm the Church and the salvation of souls were created.

Shall we then prevent the same thing from happening again? Let us not be so taken in by our differences and by our worldly concerns and desires so as to divide us and the Church into many factions that hamper and hinder the works of God among His people. Rather, let us all help one another, working together as one people, realising that the mission which He had granted us is greater than each and every one of us, as we are all called together as His Church that through us the grace and work of salvation may be made a reality.

May God help us in our works and endeavours. May He bless us and our efforts to guide lost souls to Him, that all may find their way to the eternal life and salvation God has promised to all those who keep their faith in Him. May God be with us all and be with His Church, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 : 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 of the kingdom of God. That is what I was sent to do.” And Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 12-13, 14-15, 20-21

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

From where He sits He watches all those who dwell on the earth – He Who fashions every heart observes all their deeds.

In hope we wait for the Lord, for He is our help and our shield. Our hearts rejoice in Him, for we trust in His holy Name.