Thursday, 3 November 2016 : 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 listened to the word of God speaking to us from the Sacred Scriptures, telling us about the conversion of sinners, and how we should not leave behind our brethren who are in trouble, sinners and delinquents who are in need of our help. There is a hope for everyone, and as Christians we should also help in this matter.

The Lord spoke of those who have lost a silver coin and another who lost a sheep from among his flock. And He told His disciples and the people the great extent and effort which they, as the owners of the respective lost items, would go in order to retrieve what was lost from them. Surely we ourselves have experienced this too, brothers and sisters in Christ? Surely we have known the feeling of how painful and discomforting it is for us to lose something that is precious to us?

Therefore, just imagine that if we can be so discomforted by losing our precious items, our own possessions, all the more God Who owns all of us will be distraught over the loss of even a single one of His beloved children, that is when even one of us disobey the Lord and does things that are contrary to His ways, meaning that he or she has sinned before the Lord.

And sin has been the main culprit of our sundering and separation from God. It has been the thorn on our side ever since Satan tempted our ancestors to disobey the Lord our God and His commandments. And throughout time, again and again, we mankind have fallen into his persuasions and lies, and committed sins which separated us further from the Lord and His salvation.

God loves us all very much brethren, and no one is beyond the scope of His love, unless we ourselves have turned our back of that love and defiantly rejecting His overtures of mercy and kindness. He is our loving Shepherd and we are His sheep, the sheep of His flock. We are His wonderful treasures, which He treasures and if any of us are lost from Him, He will look for us.

Unfortunately, it is we ourselves who often rejected Him, because we prefer to follow the ways of the devil rather than listening to the words of God. We continued to commit sin after sin, and the state of our souls are in great danger. And yet, God never gave up trying to bring us back into righteousness and grace, and He sent thus many prophets, messengers who brought the word of God to us all.

And one of them was St. Martin de Porres, whose feast day we celebrate today. He was a member of the Dominican order, working in the place he was born, in Peru in what was then Spanish Americas. He devoted himself to work for the poor and the less fortunate in his community, and he himself grew up in poverty and faced many challenges in his life.

He faced great discrimination due to his mixed heritage, having been an illegitimate son of a Spanish father and a freed slave mother. By the law at that time, he was counted among those who were barred from joining the religious life fully as a member, and were therefore consigned to be the lowest member of the Dominican order, enduring discrimination, difficulty and even rejection at times.

Yet, all these did not dampen the spirit of St. Martin de Porres, who devoted himself all the more to works and pursuits of mercy and compassion to the poor, the weak, the oppressed and those who suffer because of various reasons. He cared for them and helped them in various occasions, because of his genuine love and commitment for them, living out the Gospel which he was preaching to the people by his own dedications.

This is the kind of example which each and every one of us should also heed and follow, the example of how we should live our lives filled with faith from now on. We are called to show mercy to those who have sinned against us, allowing them to have a renewed faith in God and to repent from all of their sinful and wrong ways. But have we done these in our lives? Have our lives been actively devoted to such good works?

Many of us have thought only of ourselves, and it is often that we selfishly acted in order to preserve ourselves and fulfil our desires. As a result, our eyes, ears and senses are often dulled against the cry of those who are lost, who are struggling, suffering and encountering difficulties, whom we actually can save and help, but because we turned our backs to them, we often have left our brethren to fend for themselves.

Shall we from now on renew our commitment to our faith and that faith we have in the Lord by devoting ourselves anew to look for and help our brethren in need, the lost sheep, whom the Lord wants to save and reunite with Himself, just as He had done with us? Let us all help one another, that in the end, as many as possible can receive the salvation from the Lord our God.

May St. Martin de Porres be the source of our inspiration in living out our faith, and may he intercede for our sake, praying for us all, that our hearts may be stirred and our passion and desire to help others in need can be awakened within us. May the Lord help us and bless us on our way, and may He remain with us forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 3 November 2016 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)
Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.”

“What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the Angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

Thursday, 3 November 2016 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)
Psalm 104 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Sing to the Lord, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Thursday, 3 November 2016 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Martin de Porres, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)
Philippians 3 : 3-8a

We are the true circumcised people since we serve according to the Spirit of God, and our confidence is in Christ Jesus rather than in our merits. I myself do not lack those human qualities in which people have confidence. If some of them seem to be accredited with such qualities, how much more am I!

I was circumcised when eight days old. I was born of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin : I am a Hebrew, born of Hebrews. With regard to the Law, I am a Pharisee, and such was my zeal for the Law that I persecuted the Church. As for being righteous according to the Law, I was blameless.

But once I found Christ, all those things that I might have considered as profit, I reckoned as loss. Still more, everything seems to me as nothing compared with the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.