Wednesday, 27 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus called His Twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to drive out all evil spirits and to heal diseases. And He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He instructed them, “Do not take anything for the journey, neither staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not even take a spare tunic.”

“Whatever house you enter, remain there until you leave that place. And wherever they do not welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet : it will be as a testimony against them.”

So they set out, and went through the villages, proclaiming the Good News and healing people everywhere.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Tobit 13 : 2, 3-4a, 4bcd, 5, 8

It is He Who punishes and He Who has mercy; Who makes people go down to the depths off the underworld and rise up again from the great abyss. No one can escape His hand.

Give Him thanks, people of Israel, before all the nations. Though He has dispersed you among them, He now shows you His greatness.

Exalt Him before all the living, because He is our God and Lord, our Father forever.

He punishes us for our wrongdoing but again He will forgive us. He will bring us together again from amongst all the nations among whom we have been dispersed.

I, in the land of my captivity, will return Him thanks and show His strength and greatness to My sinful people. Be converted, you sinners, and live justly before Him, certain that He will be pleased with you and show you mercy.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Ezra 9 : 5-9

I remained seated and dismayed until the evening sacrifice; and then, at the time for the evening offering, I rose from my fasting, and with my clothes and mantle torn, I knelt down, spreading out my hands to YHVH, my God.

I said, “My God! I am ashamed and confused, my God, I do not dare raise my eyes to You; for our sins have increased over our heads and our crimes reach up to the heavens. From the days of our ancestors to this day, our guilt has been great. We, our kings and priests have been given into the hands of foreign kings because of our crimes; we have been delivered to the sword, to captivity, to plunder, and put to shame as on this day.”

“However, for a brief moment, the mercy of YHVH, our God, has been shown to us. He made a remnant of our people survive, and allowed the survivor to settle once again in His Holy Place. He has given us joy and life, though we are in bondage. We are no more than slaves, but in the midst of our slavery, God has not abandoned us, He has extended a merciful hand over us to support us before the kings of Persia. He has revived our life, enabled us to rebuild the House of our God, and to have walls in Jerusalem and in the other cities of Judah.”

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the Gospel speaking to us about doing the will of God in our lives, and that those who obey the Lord and do His will shall be considered as the brothers and sisters of our Lord, meaning as those whom God had chosen to be His own people. And consequently, we are expected, as Christians, to do God’s will in our lives.

In the first reading today, we continue with the discourse from the Book of the prophet Ezra which began yesterday, speaking of the time when the people of Israel were freed from their Babylonian exile and slavery, and they were allowed to return to the land of their ancestors. They were also allowed to rebuild the Temple of God in Jerusalem, and today we heard of the preparations which were in place to reestablish fully the worship of God.

The priests and the relevant people were appointed just as the Temple of God was rebuilt in Jerusalem. The sacrifices and celebrations which had not been celebrated anymore ever since the days of the kingdom of Israel and Judah were celebrated once again, and the worship of God therefore continued once again in its proper order, and the people flocked to return to God.

The people of Israel and Judah had once been sinful and wicked in their actions, and they have not been faithful to God, and instead they worshipped the pagan gods and idols, which resulted in their estrangement from the Lord and their exile, the destruction of their kingdoms and livelihoods, until the time when they have repented from their sins, and therefore were allowed to return to the promised land, as we have heard in the passages from the Book of Ezra.

What God wanted from all of them was their dedication, love and commitment, not their empty gestures and sacrifices. He wanted them to love Him with all of their hearts and not merely just paying lip service in faith. That is why He constantly reminded us His people, that our faith in Him can neither be lukewarm or superficial. We should have genuine love for God, the strong desire in our hearts to be with God and to commit ourselves to His ways.

Today we should learn from the examples of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, the holy and dedicated servants of God, whose commitments to God have been exemplary, and whose faith in the Lord are truly inspirations for all of us. St. Cosmas and St. Damian were told to be twin brothers who were renowned physicians in the Roman province of Syria, who were martyred during the time of the great persecution under the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

They were very renowned physicians who were remembered fondly by many because of their sincere and generous devotion to the people, by not charging a single cent for their services. They did their services out of pure love for God and men alike. Their selflessness turned many towards the Christian faith, who were stirred by the faith which the twin saints practiced in their lives and in how they healed many from their afflictions.

Yet, the two saints were arrested during the great persecution of Christians, and were put to death in martyrdom, defending their faith to the very end. Nonetheless, the memory of their great faith, and the great love and compassion they have shown to their brethren were not forgotten, and still inspired many people to this very day. This is what all of us Christians should aspire to achieve in our lives.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all, inspired by the holy lives of the saints, particularly that of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, be true disciples of our Lord in deeds and actions, that in our every works, and in our every actions, we will always show forth that we truly belong to the Lord, by loving one another, and by caring for the least fortunate among us, practicing our faith in our every deeds in life. May God be with us all, and may He bless all of our good works. Amen.