Wednesday, 5 September 2018 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Kolkata, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Luke 4 : 38-44

At that time, leaving the synagogue, Jesus went to the house of Simon. His mother-in-law was suffering from high fever, and they asked Him to do something for her. Bending over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately, she got up and waited on them.

At sunset, people suffering from many kinds of sickness were brought to Jesus. Laying His hands on each one, He healed them. Demons were driven out, howling as they departed from their victims, “You are the Son of God!” He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, for they knew He was the Messiah.

Jesus left at daybreak and looked for a solitary place. People went out in search of Him, and finding Him, they tried to dissuade Him from leaving. But He said, “I have to go to other towns, to announce the good news of the kingdom of God. That is what I was sent to do.” And Jesus continued to preach in the synagogues of Galilee.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Kolkata, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

Psalm 32 : 12-13, 14-15, 20-21

Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. YHVH looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.

From where He sits, He watches all those who dwell on the earth – He Who fashions every heart, observes all their deeds.

In hope, we wait for YHVH, for He is our help and our shield. Our hearts rejoice in Him, for we trust in His holy Name.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Teresa of Kolkata, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Religious)

1 Corinthians 3 : 1-9

I could not, friends, speak to you as spiritual persons but as fleshly people, for you are still infants in Christ. I gave you milk, and not solid food, for you were not ready for it, and, up to now, you cannot receive it, for you are still of the flesh. As long as there is jealousy and strife, what can I say, but that you are at the level of the flesh, and behave like ordinary people.

While one says : “I follow Paul,” and the other : “I follow Apollos,” what are you, but people still at a human level? For what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are ministers; and through them, you believed, as it was given by the Lord, to each of them. I planted, Apollos watered the plant, but God made it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God, Who makes the plant grow.

The one who plants and the one who waters work to the same end, and the Lord will pay each, according to their work. We are fellow-workers with God, but you are God’s field and building.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s Scripture readings presented to us a deep mystery of our faith and an issue which often comes into our minds, whenever we try to understand the Lord and His works in the midst of our lives. In our attempt to perceive God and His presence, we are often frustrated because we cannot seem to feel or to understand His works amongst us.

In the first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, he explained in great detail how the Spirit of God is in work in all, and it is through the Spirit of God, that is the Holy Spirit, that we have received the revelation of God’s truth, and even then, only the Spirit Himself has the fullness of revelation and truth, such that even for us Christians, we are still not yet endowed with the fullness of truth.

And St. Paul mentioned in the same Epistle passage that a spiritual experience is required for the faithful to be able to understand and to appreciate what God has done in our midst. A spiritual experience and conversion is required, and not just on the intellectual or psychological level. Those who do not have the spiritual experience and understanding, will not be able to understand the great depth of God’s mysteries and truth, unless they receive this experience, that is faith.

We see in our world today, plenty of skepticism and even opposition against God, as many of us mankind are focused on what exists on the material world and on the tangible plane, and ignoring what exists on the spiritual plane and existence. That is why we have many people who tried to use evidences and misusing scientific knowledge and discoveries in order to disprove the existence of God. But the Lord, Our God cannot be proven in existence just merely on the physical, psychological and intellectual areas alone, for in order to understand Him, and know Him, we must delve deeper into the depth of our spirit.

For our spirits were given to us by God, placed in us as part of the gift of life we have received from Him. While our physical flesh and existence are mortal and temporary, but our spiritual existence and self is eternal. While our physical self can be destroyed and erased from existence by earthly forces and by death, nothing can destroy our existence in the spirit and in our soul.

That is why, now, we should look upon what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, of the moment when the Lord Jesus cast out a demon inside a possessed person while He taught in the synagogue in Capernaum. This happened right after He was chased out of His own village of Nazareth, as mentioned in yesterday’s Gospel reading, when He proclaimed to the people of Nazareth that all the prophecies of the prophets were fulfilled in Him, as the Messiah of God.

By comparing the two occasions, we can see a great irony in how, the people of God, even those who knew Him the most, the people of His own hometown in Nazareth, could not recognise Him and even rejected Him, refusing to listen to Him or to obey Him, but an evil spirit, a demon, possessing a person, immediately recognised Him for Who He is, and spoke openly before the people of the true identity of Jesus Christ, not just the Messiah, but also the Son of God.

Why is this so? That is because the man recognises someone based on what his eyes can see, and what his ears can hear, and what his senses can perceive, but the spirit recognises by what the spirit itself understands, for all things were created by God, and were all good and perfect in the beginning. All the Angels and even fallen angels and demons were created by God, together with all of creation. But the fallen angels and demons fell from grace, and through their disobedience against God, were cast out of heaven.

Yet, they still have to recognise God for Who He is, and regardless of their rebellion and prideful disobedience, they cannot go against the power of the Lord, Who is still their true Lord and Master. Even Satan himself, the great enemy, has to bend his knee at the Holy Name of Our Lord, and at every mention of Our Lord’s Name, Jesus Christ, even Satan has to submit to God’s will and power. That is why the evil spirit recognised and acknowledged the Lord’s power at that time in Capernaum.

Why was it then that the people failed to recognise God in their midst? That is because their hearts and minds were too full of pride and other distractions which prevented them from truly being able to recognise God’s presence among them. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were distracted by their pride and their desire to maintain their teaching authority, that they refused to allow the Lord’s truth to enter their hearts, seeing Jesus as a Rival instead of as the Teacher.

The others were too distracted by the many temptations in life, by misinformations of the Pharisees, or by their inability to internalise what they have seen in order to recognise the presence of God in their midst. They did not yet have faith in them, and that was why, they failed to recognise Him even though they have seen all the miracles that God had performed in their midst. They have closed their hearts and minds to Him, and they did not allow Him to have place in their hearts.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what shall we do with our lives then? Are we going to follow the examples of the people in Capernaum and all those others who have not been able to realise the presence of God in their midst? Are we going to be so distracted with the many distractions in this life, that we end up not being able to recognise God being present in our midst? Let us all reexamine our lives and think of what we should have done from now on, that we will become true disciples and followers of Our God.

Let us all deepen our spiritual relationship with the Lord, and spend more time to develop a genuine and true faith in Him, by the means of prayers and devotions, through which we may communicate with God, allowing Him to reveal to us the truth and the knowledge about His love and His will for us. Let us all draw ever closer to the Lord, and may all of us come to know the Lord more closely day after day.

May the Lord continue to watch over us, protect us, and guide us. May He allow us all to see the fullness of His loving works in our midst, and that we may grow ever deeper in holiness and love for Him and for our fellow men. May God bless us all and all of our works and endeavours, now and forevermore. Amen.