Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday readings we heard of the reminder that as Christians, all of us must carry our crosses in life and follow the Lord in our respective journeys of faith. We cannot be idle or be ignorant of our obligations, that we have to endure challenges, difficulties and even persecutions as those who believe in God. That was what the Lord Jesus told to His disciples as He foretold His own Passion, suffering and death on the cross, as He would be condemned by His enemies.

In that passage we heard, Jesus clearly told His disciples upfront of what was going to happen to Him, and how the chief priests and the Pharisees would arrest Him and made Him to suffer, endure the torture and humiliations, until His death on the cross, but at the same time, He also revealed the truth about His upcoming glorious resurrection from the dead, in which He would be triumphant over death and evil.

But His disciples were dismayed at what He had said before them, and they refused to believe that it was true, particularly St. Peter, who took Him aside and even berated Him for having said such things. Yet, the Lord Jesus rebuked St. Peter and warned of Satan’s influence, tempting Jesus not to proceed with His plan of salvation. Such was what Satan usually used to tempt us to break away from the way of the Lord, that is by manipulating our fears and our natural selfishness.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we mankind are by our nature, prideful, filled with ego and the desire to protect ourselves first before anything else. It is our nature, and our world’s customary ways that we should seek our own personal advancement and glory before we even care to look at others. And that is what the devil has been tempting us to do since the very beginning, to seek the greater glory for ourselves, and not that of God.

And Satan has done it through the world, by the force of persuasion and pressure, for us to conform to his way, and not the way of the Lord. In the second reading today, in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Rome, St. Paul begged the people of God to live righteously and faithfully in accordance with the ways of the Lord, and not to give in to the world’s demands, that they would not be shaped by the world they lived in, but instead be shaped by the Lord’s ways.

This is therefore the challenge which the Lord presented to us all, Christians who live in this world today. Are we able to resist the temptations of the devil through this world, the temptation to satisfy our personal needs and desires, our ego and pride, our greed and all that have become barriers in our relationship with God? Are we able to dedicate ourselves to God in the manner that our Lord Jesus Himself had done, and as His Apostles and many other holy saints had done?

It is easy for many of us to forget about our priorities in life, when we are inundated with so many worldliness, with so many busy schedules and work, in our daily commitments, in all the things we do in our lives, and we end up being engrossed in our pursuit, for power, for wealth and possessions, for recognition and fame in our society and amongst our friends, for pleasures in various kinds and types, to satisfy our needs and desires.

But if we ask ourselves, what is the purpose and meaning behind all of that? How will gaining all of those things benefit us in the end? We human beings are by our nature very difficult to be satisfied, and no sooner that we have gained what we want, we will start to crave for more of what we have received. That is our natural human greed, the temptation of Satan to please ourselves and to satisfy our needs and our ego.

We have to realise that no matter how much wealth we accumulate, how great power and authority we gather for ourselves, how much fame we attain, how great a prestige and honour we have received, and how mighty we are in the sight of the people of the world, none of this will be carried by us over to the world that is to come, when we meet the moment of our death and the time for us to render the account of our lives to the One Who will judge us, that is God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we have been so busy trying to preserve ourselves and attain our selfish desires, ahead that of serving the will of God, then in the end, there will be nothing for us to gain, but death, condemnation and eternal suffering. For God will reject all those who have not obeyed His commandments, all those who gave in to the temptations of the devil and all forms of worldliness, and consider them to be outcasts.

And the Lord Jesus Himself showed us the perfect example of obedience to the will of God, as even though He knew that He would have to endure great sufferings, pains and even death on the cross, for the sake of the people, many of whom did not even recognise His work among them, and even though He knew that He would die for the sake of sinners who were often tempted to fall again and again into sin, Jesus went on regardless.

Jesus was also tempted by Satan, who tempted Him to turn the stone into bread when He was hungry during His forty days of fasting, and then, he also asked Him to fall from the top of the Temple in Jerusalem, so that the Angels might lift Him up and all the peoples who saw Him might praise His miraculous deeds. And lastly, we know how the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms and the grandeurs of the entire world, trying to persuade the Lord to abandon His mission. But Jesus did not give up.

All of these should bring us to the realisation that for each of us Christians, the path forward is not necessarily an easy one. And there will be challenges, opposition and temptations that we will face, pressuring us to give up the faith. And we will face those pressures both from outside, from even our friends and families, as well as from within. Now the question is that, are we able to handle those pressures? Are we able to turn away from our pride, ego, greed and all the temptations of the world?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, many of us Christians are not truly faithful to the Lord, and that is why we easily fall into temptation, because our relationship with Him is not strong. We are often too distracted by the business of our lives, that we end up forgetting about God and getting more and more distant from Him. This is not what each of us should be doing. Remember, brethren, that the devil is always active trying to snatch us away from God.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, remembering this fact, let us all, each and every one of us Christians pray for strength, that we will be able to persevere through the challenges and difficulties we will encounter, and indeed have encountered in our journey of faith. Let us all spend more of our time to do what the Lord had asked us to do, to love our fellow brethren, to be generous in giving our time and attention to those who are less fortunate than us, rather than being preoccupied with our own selfish needs and desires.

Let us all seek God through our actions, and let us draw closer to Him, knowing that it is in Him alone that we will gain true and complete satisfaction in life, and not in the false promises and the pleasures offered to us by Satan or his allies. Let us carry together our crosses in life with faith, always trying our best to remain strong in faith and generous in love, that God will always bless us and that He will bring us all into His eternal kingdom. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 16 : 21-27

At that time, from that day, Jesus began to make it clear to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem; that He would suffer many things from the Jewish authorities, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law; and that He would be killed and be raised on the third day.

Then Peter took Him aside and began to reproach Him, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an obstacle in My path. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If you want to follow Me, deny yourself. Take up your cross and follow Me. For whoever chooses to save his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life, for My sake, will find it. What will one gain by winning the whole world, if he destroys his soul? Or what can a person give, in exchange for his life?”

“Know, that the Son of Man will come, in the glory of His Father with the holy Angels, and He will reward each one according to his deeds.”

Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 12 : 1-2

I beg you, dearly beloved, by the mercy of God, to give yourselves, as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing to God; that is the kind of worship for you, as sensible people.

Do not let yourselves be shaped by the world where you live, but, rather, be transformed, through the renewal of your mind. You must discern the will of God : what is good, what pleases, what is perfect.

Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 62 : 2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

O God, You are my God, it is You I seek; for You, my body longs and my soul thirsts, as a dry and weary land without water.

Thus have I gazed upon You in the Sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will praise You as long as I live, lift up my hands and call on Your Name. As with the richest food, my soul will feast; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips.

For You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.

Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Jeremiah 20 : 7-9

YHVH, You have seduced me and I let myself be seduced. You have taken me by force and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; they all make fun of me, for every time I speak I have to shout, “Violence! Devastation!” YHVH’s word has brought me insult and derision all day long.

So I decided to forget about Him and speak no more in His Name. But His word in my heart becomes like a fire burning deep within my bones. I try so hard to hold it in, but I cannot do it.

(Usus Antiquior) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Psalm 30 : 15-16

In Te speravi, Domine; dixi : Tu es Deus meus, in manibus Tuis tempora mea.

 

English translation

In You, o Lord, have I hoped. I said, “You are my God, my times are in Your hands.”

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Propitiare, Domine, populo Tuo, propitiare muneribus : ut, hac oblatione placatus, et indulgentiam nobis tribuas et postulata concedas. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Look with favour upon Your people, o Lord, look with favour upon their gifts, that being appeased by this oblation, You may give us pardon and grant us what we ask. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

Wisdom 16 : 20

Panem de caelo dedisti nobis, Domine, habentem omne delectamentum et omnem saporem suavitatis.

 

English translation

You have given us, o Lord, bread from heaven, having in it all that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Sumptis, Domine, caelestibus sacramentis : ad redemptionis aeternae, quaesumus, proficiamus augmentum. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Having received Your heavenly sacraments, o Lord, we beseech You that we may profit unto the increase of everlasting salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 3 September 2017 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 17 : 11-19

In illo tempore : Dum iret Jesus in Jerusalem, transibat per mediam Samariam et Galilaeam. Et cum ingrederetur quoddam castellum, occurrerunt ei decem viri leprosi, qui steterunt a longe; et levaverunt vocem dicentes : Jesu praeceptor, miserere nostri.

Quos ut vidit, dixit : Ite, ostendite vos sacerdotibus. Et factum est, dum irent, mundati sunt. Unus autem ex illis, ut vidit quia mundatus est, regressus est, cum magna voce magnificans Deum, et cecidit in faciem ante pedes ejus, gratias agens : et hic erat Samaritanus.

Respondens autem Jesus, dixit : Nonne decem mundati sunt? Et novem ubi sunt? Non est inventus, qui rediret et daret gloriam Deo, nisi hic alienigena. Et ait illi : Surge, vade, quia fides tua te salvum fecit.

 

English translation

At that time, as Jesus was going to Jerusalem, He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered into a certain town, there He met ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

Jesus Whom when He saw, He said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And it came to pass that, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, and with a loud voice, glorifying God, and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks, and this was a Samaritan.

And Jesus answering, said, “Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return, and give glory to God, but this stranger.” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. For your faith had made you whole.”