Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the end and conclusion of the story of Job, the suffering servant of God. Modern Biblical scholars contended that Job did not necessarily represent a historical figure, but rather, a figurative representation of us as God’s people and followers, who live in this world, and are therefore, exposed to all sorts of temptations and from the attacks by the evil one, Satan.

Satan tried to tempt Job and to strike at him, making bets with the Lord, that if he struck at Job, surely Job would fall into temptation and in his anger, he would abandon his faith in God and curse Him. But Job remained faithful and true to his faith, and he did not allow all the sufferings he encountered to be obstacles and hindrances in the way of his faith. He remained firmly faithful and believed that all of what he had to endure, was part of God’s will and plan.

And in the end, God executed His plan and saved His people from the darkness of their sufferings and despair, as He showed clearly in the example of Job, as mentioned in our first reading passage today. We heard how Job was healed from all of his afflictions, and even had his possessions and blessings returned to him, not just what he once had, but in fact double of what he had before.

Through this, God wanted His people to know, that in Him alone there is hope and true salvation, liberation and freedom from all of our troubles, from all the challenges, difficulties and all sorts of obstacles that we may encounter in one way or another in our respective lives. Indeed, the path will be a challenging and difficult one, just as Job’s multitudes of sufferings and pains showed us, but in the end, if we remain faithful to God, our rewards will be great and everlasting.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord also spoke to us the same message of hope, with the bold proclamation of the defeat of Satan as foretold by the Lord Jesus Himself before His disciples. It was a premonition of what would happen, at the time of Jesus, when the Lord finally put His plan to save His people into its fulfilment and perfect completion, by the crucifixion in which, He gathered all of His people and took up all of their sins and faults, and died for their sake, in an act of perfect love and self-sacrifice that became the source of our salvation.

By the loving sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we have been made free and saved from our fated destruction at the hand of death and sin. And that marks the ultimate defeat of Satan and all of his diabolical plans to bring about our downfall through sin. Through His loving sacrifice, He destroyed forever the dominion of sin over us mankind, and opened for us the path to eternal life and salvation in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to have faith in God just as Job and all the faithful servants of God, those who went before us have done. Indeed, there will be plenty of obstacles and challenges facing us, just as faced by those who have shown their courage and commitment, piety and dedication, but as long as we anchor ourselves strongly in our faith, and in our willingness and desire to love God, God will protect us and guide us on our journey.

Today, we celebrate together the feast day of St. Bruno of Cologne, a holy and devout priest, servant of God, who founded the religious order of the Carthusians. St. Bruno was a great teacher of the faith, inspiring many with his deep love for God and great piety, in all of his actions, words and dealings. His great and deep humility also touched many people who had the opportunity to know him.

St. Bruno dedicated himself to a life of service to God, in poverty and simplicity, in how he declined appointment to the office of bishop and in his commitment to serve the greater cause of the Lord. St. Bruno entrusted himself completely to the love of God, and gave himself fully to Him in love, inspiring many others who followed in his footsteps and thus marking the foundation and growth of the early Carthusians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to trust the Lord and to give ourselves so completely as Job, St. Bruno and the many other holy men and women of God had done? We are all challenged in this manner, reminding us that as Christians, we ought to give our best to the Lord, in all of our whole being. May the Lord help us, and with the intercession of St. Bruno, guide us in our journey of faith towards Him. Amen.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 10 : 17-24

At that time, the seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on Your Name.” Then Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice, rather, than your names are written in heaven.”

At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will. I have been given all things by My Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 118 : 66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

Give me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust in Your commands.

It is good for me to have been afflicted, for I have deeply learnt Your statutes.

I know, o YHVH, that Your laws are just; and there is justice in my affliction.

Your ordinances last to this day, for all things are made to serve You.

Give me knowledge; I am Your servant, who desires to understand Your statutes.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Job 42 : 1-3, 5-6, 12-16

This was the answer Job gave to YHVH : “I know that You are all powerful; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. I spoke of things I did not understand, too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I retract all I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent.”

YHVH blessed Job’s latter days much more than his earlier ones. He came to own fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-donkeys. He was also blessed with seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Dove, the second Cinnamon, and the third Bottle of Perfume. Nowhere in the land was there found any woman who could compare in beauty with Job’s daughters. Their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.

Friday, 5 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the Sacred Scriptures speaking to us first of all of the rebuke and reminder which God spoke to Job, continuing on in our discourse on the Book of Job, when Job who suffered from the attacks by Satan as well as from the false accusations against him made by his own friends, went through a long series of conversations with God.

God rebuked Job because he was falling into the temptation to despair and to lose hope, amidst all of the difficulties he had to suffer at that time, and when his own closest friends and confidants accused him wrongly of having sinned before God as the cause of his afflictions. The Lord made it clear to Job that His will shall be done, and He has plans for each and every one of His servants, including Job.

And all that has to be done, is to trust in the Lord and to have faith in His providence, to listen to His will and to follow His footsteps. For in the end, it is God Who should be the focus and the centre of our lives. Yet, many of us tend to be preoccupied with many distractions and temptations of worldly goods and riches. That is why we end up being angry of God at times because we do not get what we want, all the desires and wishes we have.

When we are so stubborn and when we close our hearts and minds to the Lord, that is why we heard in the Gospel passage today, how the Lord was so angry and frustrated at the cities of the lake of Galilee, where He performed many of His miracles and deeds, taught among the people in the synagogues and marketplaces, healing many of their sick and their dying, and guiding them to understand the truth of God.

But the people still refused to believe in Him and even doubted Him, they did not truly have faith in Him and in His teachings. And the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law among them in particular opposed the Lord and made His life difficult, as they continued to accuse Him and hound Him throughout all the works He had done among the people, refusing to acknowledge Him and His teachings as the truth of God.

That is what the Lord then also told His disciples, the reality that there were just so many in this world who were still unable to accept His truth, and refused to allow Him to speak to them and to reveal to them the truth, because of precisely the obstacle of our pride, greed and human desires. And many of us in the Church, among us Christians are to blame from this attitude.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are called to abandon all these un-Christian attitudes and instead, learn to focus on the Lord, and to give our very best in our faith and trust in Him. Indeed, there will be moments and times when we will be tempted to walk on our own path and not to follow the Lord, but let us all remember this, as we recall what the Lord told Job, that He alone is the Master and Lord of all things.

For all the greatness and glory, wealth and power, fame and influence, material goods and all sorts of pleasures that we may attain and even accumulate in abundance in this world, all of these are merely temporary and impermanent. There is nothing that will last forever, and none of our worldly possessions will avail us on the day when the Lord calls on us to give an account of our lives before Him.

Rather than worrying excessively and endlessly about the things that we can neither control nor master, let us instead spend our time and effort to do what God wants us to do with our lives. And this requires us to be attuned more deeply to the Lord, and to be able to find out what it is that He really wants us to do with our respective lives, and most likely, it is to show the love which He has shown us, both to Him and to our fellow men, which is our calling as Christians.

May the Lord help us all to discover our true purpose and vocation in life, and may He continue to inspire us and guide us in our journey, that despite all the challenges we encounter and face in our daily living, we will always strive to be true to our faith in God, and to follow Him every day of our lives. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.