Thursday, 23 August 2018 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Matthew 22 : 1-14

At that time, Jesus continued speaking to the people in parables : “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven : A king gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the banquet, but the guests refused to come.”

“Again, He sent other servants, instructing them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now, everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they paid no attention and went away, some to their farms, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.”

“The king was furious. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.'”

“The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests. The king came in to see the wedding guests, and he noticed a man not wearing a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding clothes?'”

“But the man remained silent. So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Thursday, 23 August 2018 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Psalm 50 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Thursday, 23 August 2018 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Rose of Lima, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins)

Ezekiel 36 : 23-28

I will make known the holiness of My great Name, profaned among the nations because of you; and they will know that I am YHVH, when I show them My holiness among you. For I will gather you from all the nations and bring you back to your own land. Then I shall pour pure water over you and you shall be made clean – cleansed from the defilement of all your idols.

I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I shall remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I shall put My Spirit within you and move you to follow My decrees and keep My laws. You will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be My people and I will be your God.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the Feast of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together as the whole Universal Church. This date is exactly one week after the important Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and we can see that the two events commemorated by the Church are truly related to each other.

In the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we commemorate Mary’s glorious Assumption into heaven, by the will and power of her Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord, with the Father and the Holy Spirit. In the Assumption, we remember Mary, who was conceived without the taints of sin, original sin or any other forms of sin, to be a worthy vessel to bear the New Covenant and God Himself in her womb.

And if Mary bore the Lord Jesus within her, she is the Ark of the New Covenant and the Ark of God. And because God is so holy and powerful, nothing impure or sinful could have been in the vessel He has chosen specially for this purpose. That was why Mary was conceived without sin and remained so, according to the teachings of the Church, throughout her life.

Now, Mary has therefore been assumed to heaven, to enjoy the glory prepared for her by her own Son, the King of kings and Lord of all lords. And as the mother of the King, she indeed is a Queen, following the custom and precedents of the ancient kingdom of Israel and Judah. For example, David, the famous King of Israel, had his mother sit at his side as the Queen Mother of the kingdom.

The position of the Queen Mother was tied to the kingship of the son of the Queen Mother, such that even if the Queen Mother was just a commoner and not born of royal bloodline, but she is nonetheless regarded as a Queen and a royal in all of its rights, privileges and powers. Mary therefore enjoy the same position and privilege for her Son, Jesus Christ, is the one True King of all.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s feast of the Queenship of Mary commemorates this glory which Mary, as the mother of our God and King has attained, crowned by her own Son, to be honoured above all other creation. She is the first and finest of all those who were created, and her shining example and glory become inspiration for each and every one of us mankind.

First of all, the glory which Mary received is a premonition and revelation of what we all shall receive in the end, if we choose to remain true to our faith and be faithful to Our God. We are children of the King, having been adopted by the virtue of our baptism, becoming God’s own sons and daughters. Therefore, we too shall merit the crown of glory promised by the Lord to all who are faithful to Him.

And then, having Mary as Queen, the ever beloved and blessed Queen Mother of heaven, she is always ever by the side of her Son, beside His Throne in heaven. She is therefore the greatest and most blessed among all the saints and holy men and women of God. No one else has the same honour and glory, and the same privileged position which Mary has, as her Son’s closest confidant.

We must remember what happened during the time when the Lord Jesus performed His very first miracle in Cana, during a wedding ceremony when the couple ran out of wine. Knowing that the couple were in a great trouble, Mary came up to her Son and asked Him to step in and help them. And even though He initially evaded her request by stating that it was not yet His time, He did listen to her plea, made for the sake of the wedding couple, and performed the miraculous deeds nonetheless.

This is what each and every one of us should keep in mind, as we turn towards God through His mother, Mary. Mary indeed is the way that God has blessed us with, to be our help and intercessor before Him. Through Mary, Queen of Angels, Queen of All Saints, and Queen of Heaven, we have received bountiful graces from God, Who listens to His mother, and therefore, turns towards us with love and compassion.

Let us all therefore renew our commitment to live in greater faith, to dedicate ourselves ever more wholeheartedly to the Lord, by imitating Mary, His beloved mother, that in all the things we say and do, we will follow the obedience and the great faith which Mary has shown to us. Let us all ask her to intercede for us all sinners, now and always, and at the hour of our death. Amen.