Thursday, 14 September 2017 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 3 : 13-17

At that time, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has ever gone up to heaven except the One Who came from heaven, the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.”

“Yes, God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through Him the world is to be saved.”

Thursday, 14 September 2017 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Philippians 2 : 6-11

Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man.

He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 77 : 1-2, 34-35, 36-37, 38

Give heed, o My people, to My teaching; listen to the words of My mouth! I will speak in parables; I will talk of old mysteries.

When He slew them, they repented and sought Him earnestly. They remembered that God was their Rock, the Most High, their Redeemer.

But they flattered Him with their mouths; they lied to Him with their tongues, while their hearts were unfaithful; they were untrue to His Covenant.

Even then, in His compassion, He forgave their offences and did not destroy them. Many a time He restrained His anger, and did not fully stir up His wrath.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 : Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Numbers 21 : 4b-9

The people were discouraged by the journey and began to complain against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is neither bread nor water here and we are disgusted with this tasteless manna.”

YHVH then sent fiery serpents against them. They bit the people and many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, speaking against YHVH and against you. Plead with YHVH to take the serpents away.”

Moses pleaded for the people and YHVH said to him, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a standard; whoever has been bitten and then looks at it shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a standard. Whenever a man was bitten, he looked towards the bronze serpent and he lived.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded through the readings from the Scriptures, both from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Colossae and the Gospel passage, of what we all need to do as Christians, as those who belong to the Lord and are faithful to Him. We cannot be true Christians unless we obey the Lord with genuine and sincere faith.

In the first reading today, St. Paul reminded the faithful of the need to set our minds on the matters of the Lord, and beyond our usual earthly concerns and commitments. We should be righteous in all of our ways, and resist the temptations of the flesh, and all the pressures that are pressing on us to abandon our faith in God. We have to learn to resist those temptations and put our effort to do what the Lord had asked us to do, even though it may not bring us popularity, renown or greatness in the sight of the world.

It is easier for us if we just succumb to those temptations and give up the struggle, and yet, if that is the path we have chosen, we may end up falling into damnation and eternal suffering which awaits all those who do not walk righteously before God, and those who committed wickedness in their actions. Ultimately, we have to realise that what is acceptable according to the world may not be acceptable to the Lord, and vice versa.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives, through introspection of our actions and deeds in life. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord in all that we say, in what we do, and in how we interact with one another? Have we endured suffering and difficulties as we proceed on with our lives? Do we realise that all of that are the tribulation and trials that may await us all, who believe in God and remain faithful to Him?

The way of the world is the way of sin, the way of darkness, and the way of rejection of God’s love, filled with selfishness, greed, inappropriate lust and desire for the pleasures of the flesh. And all these things are incompatible with the way of life that Christians should adopt. And yet, it is something that we are often bombarded with, and inundated with in our society today.

Are we able to persevere through the temptations and challenges? Are we able to remain true to our faith even though those whom we know and care for denounce us because of our faith? That was what happened to the many saints and martyrs who remained true to their faith and refused to give up their faith even though there were those who pressured them to give up and apostasise.

In this perhaps we should also follow the good examples of St. John Chrysostom, the brave and courageous saint, who remained true to his faith even amidst challenging moments and times. St. John Chrysostom was the Archbishop of Constantinople who was renowned for his commitment and devotion to the faith, preaching against heresies and even against those who abused their authorities.

It was renowned that St. John Chrysostom even went up against the Empress of the Empire, who was criticised openly by St. John Chrysostom for her excesses, for her extravagance and lavish lifestyle, including many of the wealthy nobles and courtesans. He was exiled twice for the opposition and righteous works he had done, and for what he had faithfully committed for the faith and the Church, and yet, he did not give up to the very end.

From St. John Chrysostom all of us should learn the courage and the faith with which he conducted his actions, for the good of his flock and all those whom God had entrusted to his care. Each and every one of us should follow in his footsteps and learn from his deep faith and devotion to the Lord. May the Lord bless us all, and may He empower each and every one of us to become ever more faithful to Him. St. John Chrysostom, holy saint of God, pray for us. Amen.