Thursday, 17 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 19 : 41-44

At that time, when Jesus had come in sight of the city of Jerusalem, He wept over it, and said, “If only today you knew the ways of peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Yet days will come upon you, when your enemies will surround you with barricades, and shut you in, and press on you from every side.”

“And they will dash you to the ground and your children with you, and not leave stone upon stone within you, for you did not recognise the time and the visitation of your God.”

Thursday, 17 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Thursday, 17 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Revelations 5 : 1-10

Then I saw in the right hand of Him Who was seated on the throne a scroll written on both sides, sealed with seven seals. A mighty Angel exclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open this and break the seals?”
But no one in heaven or on earth or in the netherworld was found able to open the book and read it. I wept much when I saw that no one was found worthy to open the book and read it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Shoot of David, has conquered; He will open the book of the seven seals.”

And I saw next to the throne with its four living creatures and the twenty-four elders a Lamb standing, although It had been slain. I saw Him with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out to all the earth. The Lamb moved forward and took the book from the right hand of Him Who was seated on the throne.

When He took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders bowed before the Lamb. They all held in their hands harps and golden cups full of incense which are the prayers of the holy ones. This is the new song they sang : “You are worthy to take the book and open its seals, for You were slain and by Your Blood You purchased for God people of every race, language and nation; and You made them a kingdom and priests for our God and they shall reign over the land.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Lord’s words in the Scriptures, about what we as Christians should do in order to live as true and devoted Christians. We should heed the Gospel passage today where Jesus related to the disciples, the parable of the silver pounds.

In that parable, we witnessed the contrast between the wise and diligent servants who invested the silver pounds and gained back more than what were given to them, and the lazy servant who did not do anything with what he had been given with, but instead, hiding it and therefore gained nothing. This should be understood in relation to our own lives, to how we as Christians should live our lives in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the silver pound represents the gifts of the Lord, God Who is represented in that parable as the lord who became king in a faraway land, as he who had given his servants part of his wealth to be taken care of. Some were given more while others were given less, but they were all entrusted with the silver pounds after all.

God gave us all talents and abilities, different from one to another person. Some has more and some has less, but in the end, all of these are still the precious gifts of the Lord, the greatest of which is this very life and the breath we take in and out every single moment we are alive. He has given us many possibilities, chances and opportunities that come with whatever He has blessed us with, and now, just as the servants in the parable, we are given a choice on what we are to do with these gifts which have been given to us.

Are we going to keep these to ourselves? Are we going to use the gifts and talents we have for our own selfish benefits? Then perhaps we should look on what happened to that lazy servant who kept and hid the silver pound and did nothing to it. In the end, whatever it was that had been entrusted to him was taken away and given to those who had shown that they deserve it more.

In the same manner, if we do nothing that will bring about joy, love and happiness to our brethren around us who need them, we are not growing at all in the sight of God, but stagnant and wicked, and what it was which God has blessed us all with, He will withdraw and give to those who are more deserving of it. This is a reminder to all of us that we as Christians cannot be passive or be lukewarm in our faith. Instead, we have to be truly committed, and we have to really give our very best and dedicate ourselves to love and serve the Lord our God and His people.

Today, we celebrate the feast of two holy women whose lives have been exemplary and good, as model Christians for us all to follow and to be inspired with. St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude has shown us all, and many others in the past centuries, how we all ought to carry ourselves as Christians in the world, and what we should contribute for the sake of our brethren in need.

St. Margaret of Scotland was an English princess who married the King of Scotland and therefore became the Queen of that country, and was renowned for her great piety and devotion to the Lord. She helped to instigate religious reform and renewal in Scotland, and became a great role model on piety and charity among her people.

She spent much of her time in prayer and in charitable works, often spending time with the poor and the less fortunate in her kingdom, and praying at the Holy Mass and other devotional events in many occasions. She helped to guide her husband the King and her sons, three of whom eventually also became the King of Scotland. She helped to ensure that the king ruled with justice and with firm adherence to the faith in God.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was a great German religious sister, a member of the Benedictine order widely praised and renowned for her great piety and works, through her many visions and mystical experiences, through which she shared with many others, religious and laity alike, how one ought to become closer to God through prayer and devotion, particularly towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as one of its early proponents.

The examples of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude should inspire us all to become ever more dedicated as Christians, that we should give ourselves to the effort to love and care for each other, and be welcoming to our brethren who are coming to seek the Lord, and also to repent from our past and sinful ways, and be thoroughly converted to God.

May the Lord help us all, and by the intercession of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, may God forgive us all our sins, and may He awaken us the strong and unquenchable desire to love Him and to seek Him all the days of our lives. Amen.