Wednesday, 11 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Luke 11 : 1-4

At that time, Jesus was praying in a certain place; and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.”

And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this : Father, may Your Name be held holy, may Your kingdom come; give us, each day, the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive all who do us wrong; and do not bring us to the test.”

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Psalm 85 : 3-4, 5-6, 9-10

Have mercy on me, o YHVH, for I cry to You all day. Bring joy to the soul of Your servant; for You, o YHVH, I lift up my soul.

You are good and forgiving, o YHVH, caring for those who call on You. Listen, o YHVH, to my prayer, hear the voice of my pleading.

All the nations You have made will come; they will worship before You, o YHVH, and bring glory to Your Name. For You are great, and wonderful are Your deeds; You alone, are God.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Jonah 4 : 1-11

But Jonah was greatly displeased at this, and he was indignant. He prayed to YHVH and said, “O YHVH, is this not what I said when I was yet in my own country? This is why I fled to Tarshish. I knew that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and full of love, and You relent from imposing terrible punishment. I beseech You now, YHVH, to take my life, for now it is better for me to die than to live.”

But YHVH replied, “What right have you to be angry?” Jonah then left the city. He went to a place east of it, built himself a shelter and sat under its shade to wait and see what would happen to Nineveh. Then YHVH God provided a castor-oil plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade over his head and to ease his discomfort. Jonah was very happy about the plant.

But the next day, at dawn, God sent a worm which attacked the plant and made it wither. When the sun rose, God sent a scorching east wind; the sun blazed down upon Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. His death wish returned and he said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Then God asked Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the castor-oil plant?” Jonah answered, “I am right to be angry enough to wish to die.” YHVH said, “You are concerned about a plant which cost you no labour to make it grow. Overnight it sprang up, and overnight it perished. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish right from left and they have many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned for such a great city?”

Tuesday, 10 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the continuation of the discourse from the book of the prophet Jonah, in which today we are focused on the actions of prophet Jonah in Nineveh, when he carried out what the Lord had asked him to do, to proclaim the fated destruction of Nineveh because of their wickedness.

Almost immediately however, the entire city of Nineveh, from its king and all the way to its inhabitants, to the lowest among the slaves, all repented from their sins and showed great remorse for their wickedness, dressing up in sackcloth and ashes, the most visible outward sign of a penitent at that time. Knowing very well their sins and wickedness, they turned away from those before they were to face destruction.

And thus God spared the city of Nineveh, by not carrying out the destruction He had planned out for the city. The people of Nineveh could have ignored the Lord’s words and continued on with their daily business as usual, and they would end up being destroyed. Yet, as we heard, they sided with the Lord and placed themselves on His side.

In the Gospel today, we heard the Lord Jesus Who came to the house of Mary and Martha, the close friends and disciples of Jesus, who were also the sisters of Lazarus that the Lord resurrected from the dead. Mary and Martha welcomed the Lord, but each of them then acted differently. Mary listened attentively to the Lord while Martha was busy preparing the kitchen and ensuring a hospitable welcome for the Lord.

But in her busy activities, Martha forgot the one most important thing that she should have done, and that is to listen to the Lord, to His truths and teachings. She was too preoccupied and busy with her other concerns that she forgot about the Lord, while Mary placed her focus in the right place and time. Martha’s intention might be good, that she wanted to serve the Lord well, but in her hurry and business, she forgot the purpose of her intention.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us reflect on ourselves and our own lives, as we heard these readings from the Scriptures. Many of us Christians in fact have acted in the same way as Martha had done. We are often too preoccupied and too busy with our schedules that we ended up forgetting about God and our obligations to Him. We are distracted by all these worldly concerns that we end up distancing ourselves from Him.

Let us all no longer be hesitant, but clear our minds and put our priorities right. Let us not be distracted by all the sorts of temptations and pressures which are pulling us away from God. Let us remember that the devil and his fallen angels are always active and on the prowl, waiting for us to fall into their clutches, tempting us, pulling at us to abandon the Lord, by the loss of our faith.

May God empower each and everyone of us with faith, that our commitment and devotion to Him will be ever stronger day by day. May the Lord bless us all and remain with us, so that we will draw ever closer to Him, and become as dedicated as Mary, listening intently to the word of God, that we may know what is God’s will for us. Amen.