Thursday, 8 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.”

“What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the Angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

Thursday, 8 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Sing to the Lord, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Thursday, 8 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Philippians 3 : 3-8a

We are the true circumcised people since we serve according to the Spirit of God, and our confidence is in Christ Jesus rather than in our merits. I myself do not lack those human qualities in which people have confidence. If some of them seem to be accredited with such qualities, how much more am I!

I was circumcised when eight days old. I was born of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin : I am a Hebrew, born of Hebrews. With regard to the Law, I am a Pharisee, and such was my zeal for the Law that I persecuted the Church. As for being righteous according to the Law, I was blameless.

But once I found Christ, all those things that I might have considered as profit, I reckoned as loss. Still more, everything seems to me as nothing compared with the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God in the Scripture reminding us to be aware of what being a Christian is for each and every one of us. That is because to be a true Christian is not just sufficient, for us to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, and going through catechism, attending the regular Sunday Masses as obliged to us by the Church.

What is needed for us is to truly embody our faith in all of our actions. We must believe in the way that even when challenges and difficulties come our way, we will not easily give up our faith, but will persevere on despite the difficulties and challenges. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Philippi mentioned this in the light of the situation at the time, when Christians lived in a relatively hostile environment.

At that time, Christians were looked upon with suspicion by the community, both by the Greeks and the Romans who might find their belief in one God to be anything from a curiosity to something that was an affront and sacrilege towards the official Greco-Roman pantheon of gods and also in opposition to the official worship of the Roman Emperors, and then also from the Jewish diaspora that existed in many cities throughout the Mediterranean.

Some of the Jews followed the teachings and the actions of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, and also the Sadducees, who were all mostly opposed the teachings of Christ and the works of His Apostles. The Jews in some other places had rioted when St. Paul came into their midst and evangelise among both the Jews and the Gentiles alike. They disagreed with the teachings of the Apostles and how they reached out to the Gentiles.

That was why the Lord Jesus Himself had revealed in our Gospel passage today, when He said to His disciples and followers, that no one could really be His true followers and disciples, unless they were willing to carry their cross with Him, and follow Him in His journey. What He really meant was that, to be a Christian, we must be ready to face opposition and suffering just as He Himself has suffered.

However, there are many of us who did not realise this truth, and we live our faith looking for satisfaction and happiness through our faith. There are many of us coming to believe in God just because we seek something to make us happy and joyful, or to feel spiritually high and fulfilled. But this false expectation and understanding of our faith is not what we ought to have, brothers and sisters in Christ.

On this day, we are called to reflect on this reality of our faith and what the Lord is calling us to. We cannot remain complacent and idle in living our faith. We are called to be active and living Christians, to be exemplary in how we live our lives in accordance with the faith that we believe in. And at times, we must realise that not everyone will agree with us, or will accept our faith easily.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, there will be times when life will be difficult for us, and when everything will seem to be up against us. But we must not give up hope and faith, for we must realise that the Lord is carrying His cross with us, just as we are carrying our own respective crosses in life. We will always have the Lord on our side, even when everything else in this world fail us. This is what we must hold firm, our faith in the loving God, our Father Who will always love us till the very end.

And if we remain faithful, the Lord will bless us and reward us with nothing less than eternity of glory and life with Him. Let us all turn our hearts and minds towards Him and devote ourselves anew with a new love and commitment to God. May the Lord always be with us and may He give us the courage to continue living faithfully in our daily lives despite the challenges and difficulties we may face. May God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 14 : 25-33

At that time, when large crowds were walking along with Jesus, He turned and said to them, “If you come to Me, unwilling to sacrifice your love for your father and mother, your spouse and children, your brothers and sisters, and indeed yourself, you cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not follow Me, carrying his own cross, cannot be My disciple.”

“Do you build a house without first sitting down to count the cost, to see whether you have enough to complete it? Otherwise, if you, have laid the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone will make fun of you : ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'”

“And when a king wages war against another king, does he go to fight without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand can stand against the twenty thousand of his opponent? And if not, while the other is still a long way off, he sends messengers for peace talks. In the same way, none of you may become My disciple, if he does not give up everything he has.”

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of the Lord, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Trust in the Lord, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in the Lord!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Philippians 2 : 12-18

Therefore, my dearest friends, as you always obeyed me while I was with you, even more, now, that I am far from you, continue working out your salvation “with fear and trembling.” It is God Who makes you, not only wish but also, carry out what pleases Him.

Do everything without grumbling, so, that, without fault or blame, you will be children of God, without reproach, among a crooked and perverse generation. You are a light among them, like stars in the universe, holding to the word of life. I shall feel proud of you, on the day of Christ, on seeing that my effort and labour have not been in vain.

And if I am being poured out, as a libation over the sacrifice, and the offering of your faith, I rejoice and continue to share your joy; and, you, likewise should rejoice and share my joy.