Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday as we approach the ending of our current liturgical year, we heard from the Scriptures a series of passages talking about the coming of the end times. And one of the key messages today, is about wisdom, that is on whether we understand what it means for us as Christians, about the coming of the Lord our God and Saviour.

For as the Lord Himself had said and promised, He Who once had come into the world, will come again one more time into this world, at the end of time. This time, He will come in glory, unlike that of His first coming, when He was born humbly in a stable. He will come to gather together all of His faithful ones, and by reconciling them perfectly to Him, He will bring them to eternal joy and glory promised to them.

On the other hand, all those whom the Lord does not find worthy of Him, He shall also gather them together, for them to be rejected, judged for their sins, and then thrown into the torment of the eternal suffering in hell, in the lake of fire with Satan and his fellow fallen angels and demons. This is what will happen at the Last Judgement, the time when the righteous will receive glory from God, and the wicked will be humiliated and crushed in hell.

Jesus has forewarned about this a few times throughout His ministry to His disciples, which were then recorded in the Holy Gospels. He told them that the Last Judgment will be when the sheep, or the faithful people of God, will be separated from among the goats, those who have not believed in God. And in that occasion, the ones whom God had chosen, asked the Lord of why they have been chosen, and the same question was asked by those who were rejected, on why they were rejected by God.

And God answered them, saying that those who have been chosen, are righteous because they have listened to God and done His will, by showing love, compassion and concern for the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the imprisoned, all those who have been considered as the lowest, least and last among mankind. Yet, these are the ones whom the Lord said as the ones through whom the righteous had become worthy of the Lord, by the love which they showed to these brethren of theirs.

And vice versa, for those who have been rejected by God, God rejects them because they have voluntarily chosen not to love, or show care and concern for the sake of their brethren in need. As a result, just as those people had not shown love for their neighbours and fellow men, therefore, they have neglected their responsibility and obligation, and for they are without love, God will reject them and cast them into hell as their just punishment.

There are a few lessons which all of us ought to take heed of and internalise today, as we continue to reflect on the passages from the Sacred Scriptures. First of all, it is important that all of us should know what we are expected to do as Christians in our respective lives. All of us are called to love our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, just as much as we love ourselves, and also love the Lord our God in a similar way. These two are the most important part of the Law, and they are its true meaning, for God’s law is about love.

Yet, to love others as much as we love ourselves is easier said than done. Similarly, it is not easy to love God wholeheartedly, as we tend to love ourselves more, and concerned more about ourselves, in what is called selfishness. That is part of our human nature, and sometimes our upbringing in our society, and definitely in how our world today operates. According to the wisdom of the world, we ought to take care of ourselves first and satisfy our needs first before that of others.

But, if we realise, even loving ourselves is not something that we mankind have been good at doing. Let us look at how we live in the world today! There are many people out there who are ruining their own lives on drugs, on excessive alcohol consumption, on smoking and the abuse of many other things that leads to the ruin of one’s own body, if not mind, and also corrupt the whole being. Many lives have been ruined because of this.

And many of us surely know how difficult it is for us to satisfy our wants and desires in life. When we have received something, we will end up desiring more and more. We cannot be satisfied with what we have in this world, as we will be tempted to have more and more of our desires. That is why we also end up causing much sorrow in this world, amongst our brethren. There had been many instances when there were oppression, injustice and selfishness in this world, the suffering of many because certain individuals or groups seek to gain more profit and/or power for themselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the second lesson that we need to take note of today, is what the Lord Jesus had told His people through the parable of the five wise women and five foolish women. The five wise women carried enough oil for their lamps as they were waiting for the coming of the bridegroom who was delayed in his coming. They brought extra oil so that their lamps would not run out of the oil.

As the maids of honour attending to the groom and the bride, it would be very humiliating and inappropriate for them not to have oil for their lamp, and their lamp therefore darkened. That was why the five foolish women panicked when the bridegroom was about to come, and their oil was running out. This parable is a kind reminder to all of us that firstly, we cannot expect to know when the Lord will come, He Who is the Bridegroom of the Church.

God will come at the time of His choosing, according to His will. And no one on earth will know when the precise time, be it year, or month, or day, or even minute and second that this will be happening. As a result, many of us will be caught unaware and unprepared for the coming of the Lord. Thus, the second lesson that I want each one of us to take note is, we must always be ever prepared for the Lord’s coming, whenever it may be, and therefore, we cannot bear to wait any longer.

Yet, many of us like to delay and to take our own sweet time. We think that we have all the time in the world, and there is always time for us to repent or to be righteous. But, we will know of our folly on the day when our time is up, and we are caught unaware and unprepared, like the five foolish women who did not prepare well in advance of what is to come, that is the time of our final judgment and the coming of Our Lord.

Therefore, relating to what I have mentioned as the first lesson today, all of us as Christians are called to do what the Lord had commanded us to do, that is to love, and firstly, we must love ourselves, not by excluding the love which we must give to God and to our fellow brethren, but rather, if we can appreciate the gift of love and the blessings which God had given to us, we will be better able to give our love to God and to our brethren.

Thus, the third and last lesson is for us to go forth! Go and do what we must do as Christians in our world today, being active believers and no longer be passive or ignorant of our responsibilities. Let us stretch out our hands and help those who are in need, beginning with those who are around us, and those who we encounter in our daily interactions. Let us show them the love of God through our actions.

If we do all these, even though there will surely be those who oppose us, who ridicule us, let us remember that those depend on the wisdom of worldly and human power, that is foolishness in the sight of God. Let us instead continue to persevere on, that as Christians, we will always be wholeheartedly devoted to love God in everything we do, and share the same love with our brethren as well.

Let us all draw closer to God, our loving Father, and let us continue to strive at all times, to serve the Lord by serving His people, by loving generously without bias or prejudice, and seek to be righteous and just in all of our dealings and actions in life. May the Lord bless us always, and may He continue to guide us in our actions in life, that through His divine wisdom we will find our way to His eternal glory. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Psalm 129 : 1-2

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine.

 

English translation

From the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my prayer, from the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Pro nostrae servitutis augmento sacrificum Tibi, Domine, laudis offerimus ut, quod immeritis contulisti, propitius exsequaris. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

We offer You, o Lord, the sacrifice of praise for the increase of our service, that You may graciously complete that which, for no merit of ours, You had granted unto us. Through our Lord…

 

Communion

Mark 11 : 24

Amen, dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite, quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

 

English translation

Amen I say to you, whatsoever, you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive, and it shall be done to you.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Quaesumus, omnipotens Deus : ut, quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

We pray to You, o Almighty God, that You will not suffer to be overcome by human dangers those to whom You granted participation in things that are divine. Through our Lord…

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Holy Gospel

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

Matthew 9 : 18-26

In illo tempore : Loquente Jesu ad turbas, ecce, princeps unus accessit et adorabat eum, dicens : Domine, filia mea modo defuncta est : sed veni, impone manum tuam super eam, et vivet.

Et surgens Jesus sequebatur eum et discipuli ejus. Et ecce mulier, quae sanguinis fluxum patiebatur duodecim annis, accessit retro et tetigit fimbriam vestimenti ejus. Dicebat enim intra se : Si tetigero tantum vestimentum ejus, salva ero.

At Jesus conversus et videns eam, dixit : Confide, filia fides tua te salvam fecit. Et salva facta est mulier et illa hora. Et cum venisset Jesus in domum principis, et vidisset tibicines et turbam tumultuantem, dicebat : Recedite : non est enim mortua puella, sed dormit.

Et deridebant eum. Et cum ejecta esset turba, intravit et tenuit manum ejus. Et surrexit puella. Et exiit fama haec in universam terram illam.

 

English translation

At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitudes, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored Him, saying, “Lord, my daughter is even now dead, but if You come to lay Your hands upon her, she shall live.”

And Jesus, rising up, followed him with His disciples. And behold a woman, who was troubled with an issue of blood for twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said within herself, “If I shall only touch His garment, I shall be healed.”

But Jesus turning and seeing her, said, “Be of good heart, daughter, your faith had made you whole.” And the woman was made whole from that hour. And when Jesus came into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels making a tumult, He said, “Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleeps.”

And they laughed Him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, He went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame thereafter went abroad into all that country.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Gradual and Alleluia

Psalm 43 : 8-9 and Psalm 129 : 1-2

Liberasti nos, Domine, ex affligentibus nos : et eos, qui nos oderunt, confudisti.

Response : In Deo laudabimur tota die, et in Nomine Tuo confitebimur in saecula.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam. Alleluja.

 

English translation

You had delivered us, o Lord, from those who afflict us, and had put them to shame, those who hate us.

Response : In God we will glory all the day, and in Your Name we will give praise forever.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : From the depths I have cried to You, o Lord. O Lord, hear my prayer. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Epistle

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

Philippians 3 : 17-21 and Philippians 4 : 1-3

Fratres : Imitatores mei estote, et observate eos, qui ita ambulant, sicut habetis formam nostram. Multi enim ambulant, quos saepe dicebam vobis (nunc autem et flens dico) inimicos Crucis Christi : quorum finis interitus : quorum Deus venter est : et gloria in confusione ipsorum, qui terrena sapiunt.

Nostra autem conversatio in caelis est : unde etiam Salvatorem exspectamus, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui reformabit corpus humilitatis nostrae, configuratum corpori claritatis suae, secundum operationem, qua etiam possit subjicere sibi omnia.

Itaque, fratres mei carissimi et desideratissimi, gaudium meum et corona mea : sic state in Domino, carissimi. Evodiam rogo et Syntychen deprecor idipsum sapere in Domino. Etiam rogo et te, germane compar, adjuva illas, quae mecum laboraverunt in Evangelio cum Clemente et ceteris adjutoribus meis, quorum nomina sunt in libro vitae.

 

English translation

Brethren, may all of you be my followers, and observe those who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have often told you (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the Cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

But our conversation is in heaven; from where we also look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will reform the body of His glory, according to the operation whereby He is also able to subdue all things unto Himself.

Therefore, my brethren, dearly beloved, and most desired, my joy and my crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. I beg of Evodia, and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord, and I entreat you also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the Gospel with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Introit and Collect

Introit

Jeremiah 29 : 11, 12, 14 and Psalm 84 : 2

Dicit Dominus : Ego cogito cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis : invocabitis me, et ego exaudiam vos : et reducam captivitatem vestram de cunctis locis.

Benedixisti, Domine, terram Tuam : avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

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

 

English translation

The Lord said, “I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction. You shall call upon Me, and I will hear you, and I will bring back your captivity from all places.

Lord, You have blessed Your land, You have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

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

Absolve, quaesumus, Domine, Tuorum delicta populorum : ut a peccatorum nexibus, quae pro nostra fragilitate contraximus, Tua benignitate libremur. Per Dominum…

 

English translation

Remit, we beseech You, o Lord, the sins of Your people, that by Your kindness we may be delivered from the trammels of our sins, in which, through our frailty, we have become entangled. Through our Lord…

Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 25 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “This story throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were sensible. The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not take extra oil. But those who were sensible, took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.”

“But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come on and meet him!’ All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.’ The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.'”

“When the bridegroom came, the foolish maidens were out buying oil, but those who were ready went with him into the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.'”

“So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 4 : 13-18

Brothers and sisters, we want you not to be mistaken about those who are already asleep, lest you grieve as do those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose; it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus. God will bring them together, with Jesus, and for His sake.

By the same word of the Lord, we assert this : those of us who are to be alive at the Lord’s coming, will not go ahead of those who are already asleep. When the command by the Archangel’s voice is given, the Lord, Himself, will come down from heaven, while the divine trumpet call is sounding. Then, those who have died in the Lord, will rise first; as for us who are still alive, we will be brought along with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the celestial world. And we will be with the Lord forever.

So then, comfort one another with these words.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

1 Thessalonians 4 : 13-14

Brothers and sisters, we want you not to be mistaken about those who are already asleep, lest you grieve as do those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose; it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus. God will bring them together, with Jesus, and for His sake.

Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 62 : 2abc, 2d-4, 5-6, 7-8

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.

When I remember You on my bed, I think of You all through the night, for You have been my help; I sing in the shadow of Your wings.

Sunday, 12 November 2017 : Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 6 : 12-16

Wisdom is luminous and never tarnished; she willingly lets herself be seen by those who love her, and known by those who look for her. She hastens to meet those who long for her. Seek her in the morning and you will not be disappointed; you will find her sitting at your door.

To meditate on Wisdom is understanding fully grown; whoever is on the watch for her will be free of anxiety. She goes in search of those who are worthy of her, graciously meets them on the way and is present in their every thought.