Saturday, 22 October 2016 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 13 : 1-9

At that time, one day some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did. And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish as they did.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it use up the ground?'”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.'”

Saturday, 22 October 2016 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!”

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the Assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Saturday, 22 October 2016 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Ephesians 4 : 7-16

But to each of us divine grace is given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it is said : When He ascended to the heights, He brought captives and gives His gifts to people. He ascended, what does it mean but that He had also descended to the lower parts of the world? He Himself Who went down, then ascended far above all the heavens fill all things.

As for His gifts, to some He gave to be Apostles, to others prophets, or even evangelists, or pastors and teachers. So He prepared those who belong to Him for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Then no longer shall we be like children tossed about by any wave or wind of doctrine, and deceived by the cunning of people who drag them along into error. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we shall grow in every way towards Him Who is the Head, Christ. From Him comes the growth of the whole body to which a network of joints gives order and cohesion, taking into account and making use of the function of each one. So the body builds itself in love.

Friday, 21 October 2016 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we are approaching fast to the closing and the end of the liturgical year in November, we are reminded to be prepared and to be ready for the coming of the Lord and His judgment that awaits each and every one of us at the date and time of His own choosing. And we do not know when this time will come for us, as only the Lord alone knows it.

Through the readings which we received and heard today, we are also reminded that we have been sundered from the Lord because of our sins and iniquities, all the things that prevented us from being able to be reconciled and reunited with God. And unless we are reconciled with our God, we have no hope in us, and we are in a great danger for eternal damnation.

And the way for us to achieve this reconciliation is just as what our Lord Jesus mentioned, that is by seeking to make peace with God, and to be absolved and be freed from what had made us to be lacking that peace of God in the first place. And this requires us to seek true and genuine repentance for our sins and wickedness. It means that we must learn to change our ways and adopt what the Lord had shown us, His ways and precepts.

In the first reading today, St. Paul in his letter to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus mentioned how through baptism we have been made members of the Church, and be made into one body, the members of the Body of Christ, the Church, and be freed from our past sinful ways, and be brought into a new life, namely a life blessed and graced by the righteousness of God.

And therefore, all of us Christians, who have been washed anew by the holy water of our baptism, have passed on from the chains of slavery of sin, just as the Israelites have walked through the sea from their slavery in Egypt, and into liberation in God, Who brought them and guided them through the desert into the lands promised to them and to their ancestors.

But perhaps from that experience and history, we can also learn several things that we ourselves need to take note of in our own lives today. Firstly, the people of Israel, despite having been liberated from their slavery, they were easily tempted and in many occasions, they complained and even openly rebelled against God and His servant Moses, comparing how their lives in Egypt had been far better than living in the desert, although God cared for them day and night.

It is a lesson for us, that as we live our lives in this world, today, it is easy for us to get distracted and to be tempted by the many persuasions and temptations that the devil and his forces arrayed against us, the people of God. It is a reminder for us that as Christians, we cannot be lukewarm in our faith, but instead, we must be active and be truly devoted to God via our actions, words and deeds.

And this is what is meant by true reconciliation, where we cast away our sinfulness, our past rebelliousness and resistance against God, and instead learn to live with faith, with a new commitment for our God, be true Christians in our way of life, and not just be a Christian on paper alone. And surely, God Who sees our actions made with genuine faith in Him will reward us and bless us, and we will be made righteous and just, worthy of Him and His salvation.

May the Lord bless us all and grant us strength to persevere on in this life, filled with zeal and devotion, to do what He has asked of us and more. May the Lord bless all of our endeavours. Amen.