Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday all of us heard from the Scriptures about the importance for each one of us as Christians to be good listeners, and to pay close attention to what the Lord had taught us, that we will not fall into the temptations of the devil, and that we will be able to live harmoniously and in peace with one another.

This is important because each and every one of us make up the living Body of Christ, the Church. And in the ages past, and even until today, disagreements and lack of peace and harmony among the faithful has become a great source of sorrow for the Lord and for all of us. We have witnessed so many periods of disunity and divisions to the Church because of the falsehoods and the heresies that the devil had struck the Church with, tempting its members to deviate away from the Lord and His truth.

Divisions in the Church has happened many times, and it is often due to the disagreements coming from personal preferences and ego, the pride and ambition of the members of the Church who refused to let go of their ego that they might listen to the voice of reason and the truth as espoused in the teachings of the Church. Instead, we saw how many people broke away from the Church over their disagreements.

Many people refused to listen to reason, and they closed their hearts and minds to the words of truth, because they felt that their way and their thoughts, opinions and methods alone were correct and others were wrong. That was exactly how and why the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law refused to believe in Jesus, as they were adamant in keeping their beliefs about the laws of Moses, and to them, Jesus and His teachings were unacceptable.

That was how many of the people embraced heresies and went into open rebellion against the teachings of the Lord in His Church, and even decided to make their own ‘churches’, as splinters being forcefully torn apart from the holy Body of Christ, His Church. Yet, from time to time again, the Lord and His Church prevailed, and all those who tried to impose their falsehoods on the faithful faltered, because God was not with them.

How should we handle these matters then, brothers and sisters in Christ? First of all, if we refer back to what we have heard in the Gospel passage today, we will see that violence or anger is not the way for us to adopt, as none of these will end up in good results. As I have just mentioned, one of the main reasons why the divisions and disagreements have occurred was because of the stubbornness and the ego of the parties involved, that they refused to listen to the reason and the truth.

If we ourselves also end up being filled with anger, violence and hatred against others simply because they disagree with us or because they believe in falsehoods of the devil and in the heresies mentioned, then it may be difficult for us to reconcile our differences and for us to show them the way to the truth of God. Instead, as what the Gospel has shown us, we should seek to communicate and have dialogue with the ones involved, through prayer and seeking guidance from the Lord.

Why is that so? That is because it is easy for us to lose ourselves to our emotions, anger and hatred if we do not let God to take charge of our actions. We should open our hearts first and listen to the Lord, asking Him what is His will for us, and how we should proceed forward, especially when dealing with those who disagree with us, or with those who espouse the false teachings and ways of heresy. That is why I emphasised earlier on the importance of listening, and not just listening, but attentive listening in all of us.

Many of us are too ready and willing to shout out our ideas and proposals, our suggestions and demands, and yet we are not ready to allow our ears and our minds to listen to what others have to say. And if we are not even able to listen to what others are saying, how can we then convince them to listen to us? How can we convince them to believe in our true faith if we do not lend them a listening ear and mind first?

I am not saying that we should compromise on our faith or allow those who have fallen into heresy to continue in their sinful ways, as that is in itself a great sin, for then we will not just end up condemning them to the fires of hell, but also ourselves for having failed to help them and by compromising our faith. Rather, what we all need to do is to show an open-minded and welcoming attitude, and through that, to bring everyone to the invitation to prayer and discernment.

That is also how we ought to resolve the disagreements that will surely come up from time to time amongst the different members in the Church, between the priests and priests, between the priests and the laity, and amongst the laity themselves. As Jesus Himself said that, when two or more are gathered together in His Name, He Himself will come among them and be with them. How can we go wrong if God is with us, and His Spirit gave us His wisdom?

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend some time today to think through carefully about how we have lived our lives thus far, and how we have acted in our dealings with one another. Have we thus far acted with pride and ego in our actions, and have we refused to listen to the words of others but instead being stubborn and unreasonable?

Can we heed what the Lord had told us all through the Scriptures? Shall we all restrain our ego, our pride, and the desire to be the first and the greatest in everything? Let us all also learn from the examples of our Lord Jesus Himself, Who even though He was the Almighty God and King of all kings, but He willingly lowered Himself and came upon us, that He might serve us His people and show His everlasting love.

Shall we all overcome our innate reluctance and unwillingness to be attentive listeners and open our minds and hearts to others? Shall we then do our best to bring together all the scattered children of God, all those who have been separated from God’s loving Church, by welcoming them back with love and compassion, and by gathering them to the Lord in prayer, by showing them through our own examples, that in prayer, they may come to realise the errors of their ways and come back to the Lord in repentance?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all do our very best from now on, that we may be able to listen to God as well to listen to our brethren, let us all throw far, far away all forms of ego and pride, all the things that have become obstacles on our path, all that have caused divisions and disagreements among the faithful people of God. Let us all reject all that Satan was trying to do in order to detract us and to snatch us away from God’s salvation.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He give us the strength and the courage to do His will, to surrender ourselves to what He wants us to be, and to be faithful disciples, who are concerned about our brethren, especially those who have fallen away from the path towards God’s salvation. Let us all be good and attentive listeners while at the same time being good evangelisers, through our gentle and loving actions showing the truth about God.

May the Lord bless us all and every endeavour we make, that eventually all the faithful people of God may be united together once again in His Church, without any more divisions or disagreements. May He continue to guide His Church and empower all of its members to always walk faithfully in His ways. Amen.

Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 18 : 15-20

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “If your brother has sinned against you, go and point out the fault to him, when the two of you are alone; and if he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, so that the case may be decided by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

“And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembled Church. But if he does not listen to the Church, then regard him as a pagan, or a tax collector. I say to you : whatever you bind on earth, heaven will keep bound; and whatever you unbind on earth, heaven will keep unbound.”

“In like manner, I say to you, if, on earth, two of you agree in asking for anything, it will be granted to you by My heavenly Father; for where two or there are gathered in My Name, I am there, among them.”

Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 13 : 8-10

Do not be in debt to anyone. Let this be the only debt of one to another : Love. The one who loves his or her neighbour fulfils the Law. For the commandments : Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not covet, and whatever else, are summarised in this one : You will love your neighbour as yourself.

Love cannot do the neighbour any harm; so love fulfils the whole Law.

Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 94 : 1-2, 6-7, 8-9

Come, let us sing to YHVH, let us make a joyful sound to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him giving thanks, with music and songs of praise.

Come and worship; let us bow down, kneel before YHVH, our Maker. He is our God, and we, His people; the flock He leads and pastures. Would, that today, you heard His voice!

Do not be stubborn, as at Meribah, in the desert, on that day at Massah, when your ancestors challenged Me, and they put Me to the test.

Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ezekiel 33 : 7-9

The skies will darken and the stars become dim; I will veil the sun with a cloud and the moon shall not give its light. Because of you, I will darken all the lights in the sky and cover the earth in darkness, word of YHVH.

Many nations will grieve when I spread the news of your fall, even people you do not know.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Psalm 33 : 8-9

Immittet Angelus Domini in circuitu timentium eum, et eripiet eos : gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus.

 

English translation

The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about those who fear Him, and shall deliver them. O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet!

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Concede nobis, Domine, quaesumus, ut haec hostia salutaris et nostrorum fiat purgatio delictorum, et Tuae propitiatio potestatis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, that this saving Victim may become both the cleansing of our sins, and the propitiation of Your might. 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

Matthew 6 : 33

Primum quaerite regnum Dei, et omnia adjicientur vobis, dicit Dominus.

 

English translation

Seek first the kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto you, says the Lord.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Purificent semper et muniant Tua sacramenta nos, Deus : et ad perpetuae ducant salvationis effectum. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

May Your Sacraments, o God, ever purify and fortify us, and bring us to the effect 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) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 6 : 24-33

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis : Nemo potest duobus dominis servire : aut enim unum odio habebit, et alterum diliget : aut unum sustinebit, et alterum contemnet. Non potestis Deo servire et mammonae.

Ideo dico vobis, ne solliciti sitis animae vestrae, quid manducetis, neque corpori vestro, quid induamini. Nonne anima plus est quam esca : et corpus plus quam vestimentum? Respicite volatilia caeli, quoniam non serunt neque metunt neque congregant in horrea : et Pater vester caelestis pascit illa. Nonne vos magis pluris estis illis?

Quis autem vestrum cogitans potest adjicere ad staturam suam cubitum unum? Et de vestimento quid solliciti estis? Considerate lilia agri, quomodo crescunt : non laborant neque nent. Dico autem vobis, quoniam nec Salomon in omni gloria sua coopertus est sicut unum ex istis.

Si autem foenum agri, quod hodie est et cras in clibanum mittitur, Deus sic vestit : quanto magis vos, modicae fidei? Nolite ergo soliciti esse, dicentes : Quid manducabimus aut quid bibemus aut quo operimur? Haec enim omnia gentes inquirunt. Scit enim Pater vester, quia his omnibus indigetis. Quaerite ergo primum regnum Dei et justitiam ejus : et haec omnia adjicientur vobis.

 

English translation

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will sustain the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

“Therefore I say to you, do not be solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat, and the body more than that of the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor do they reap, nor gather into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of much more value than them?”

“And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They do not labour, and neither do they spin, but I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.”

“Now if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is today, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more you, o you of little faith! Do not be solicitous therefore, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall we drink or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathen seek. For your Father knows that you have need of all these things. Seek all of you therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 117 : 8-9 and Psalm 94 : 1

Bonum est confidere in Domino, quam confidere in homine.

Response : Bonum est sperare in Domino, quam sperare in principibus.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Venite, exsultemus Domino, jubilemus Deo, salutari nostro. Alleluja.

 

English translation

It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man.

Response : It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Come, let us praise the Lord with joy, let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Galatas – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Galatians

Galatians 5 : 16-24

Fratres : Spiritu ambulate, et desideria carnis non perficietis. Caro enim concupiscit adversus spiritum, spiritus autem adversus carnem : haec enim sibi invicem adversantur, ut non quaecumque vultis, illa faciatis.

Quod si spiritu ducimini, non estis sub lege. Manifesta sunt autem opera carnis, quae sunt fornicatio, immunditia, impudicitia, luxuria, idolorum servitus, veneficia, inimicitiae, contentiones, aemulationes, irae, rixae, dissensiones, sectae, invidiae, homicidia, ebrietates, comessationes, et his similia : quae praedico vobis, sicut praedixi : quoniam, qui talia agunt, regnum Dei non consequantur.

Fructus autem Spiritus est : caritas, gaudium, pax, patientia, benignitas, bonitas, longanimitas, mansuetudo, fides, modestia, continentia, castitas. Adversus hujusmodi non est lex. Qui autem sunt Christi, carnem suam crucifixerunt cum vitiis et concupiscentiis.

 

English translation

Brethren, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh, for the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, for these are contrary one to another, so that you do not do the things that you would.

But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like, of that which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with the vices and conscupiscences.

(Usus Antiquior) Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 10 September 2017 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 83 : 10-11, 2-3

Protector noster, aspice, Deus, et respice in faciem Christi Tui : quia melior est dies una in atriis Tuis super milia.

Quam dilecta tabernacula Tua, Domine virtutum! Concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Behold, o God, our Protector, and look on the face of Your Christ. For better is one day in Your courts above thousands.

How lovely are Your tabernacles, o Lord of hosts! My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Collect

Custodi, Domine, quaesumus, Ecclesiam Tuam propitiatione perpetua : et quia sine Te labitur humana mortalitas; Tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis et ad salutaria dirigatur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Guard Your Church, we beseech You, o Lord, with Your continual kindness, and because without You human frailty falls, let it, by Your assistance, ever be both withheld from harm and guided to what is salutary. 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.