Thursday, 15 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 15 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 145 : 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

The Lord is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

The Lord sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Thursday, 15 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Philemon 7-20

I had great satisfaction and comfort on hearing of your charity, because the hearts of the saints have been cheered by you, brother. Because of this, although in Christ I have the freedom to command what you should do, yet I prefer to request you in love. The one talking is Paul, the old man, now prisoner for Christ. And my request is on behalf of Onesimus, whose father I have become while I was in prison.

This Onesimus has not been helpful to you, but now he will be helpful both to you and to me. In returning him to you, I am sending you my own heart. I would have liked to keep him at my side, to serve me on your behalf while I am in prison for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your agreement, nor impose a good deed upon you without your free consent.

Perhaps Onesimus has been parted from you for a while so that you may have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but better than a slave. For he is very dear brother to me, and he will be even dearer to you. And so, because of our friendship, receive him as if he were I myself.

And if he has caused any harm, or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this and sign it with my own hand : I will pay it…. without further mention of your debt to me, which is you yourself. So, my brother, please do me this favour for the Lord’s sake. Give me this comfort in Christ.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 : 32nd 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 the Lord in the Scriptures telling us about the love and mercy which God has shown to each and every one of us, because of His great love and boundless mercy. This was shown first in our Gospel passage, when the Lord encountered ten lepers during His journey, all of whom begged for His mercy and love, to heal them from their leprosy.

In order to understand and appreciate fully the significance of this encounter, first of all, we must realise that leprosy was something that all of the Israelites dreaded, for someone who suffered or contracted leprosy was someone who would immediately become a pariah and outcast from the community of the people. According to the laws of Moses, as written in the Book of Leviticus, those who suffered from leprosy must stay outside the community until the time when they were completely healed.

It was likely that this leprosy is a contagious version of the leprosy that we know today, or might be even a different disease altogether. And it might have been quite dangerous that the law prescribed such a radical means to prevent the disease from spreading to the rest of the population. For if the disease were to spread, it would cause great havoc and suffering among the rest of population, and this would be undesirable to the people and their leaders.

However, the intention of the laws given to Moses was misunderstood by the people as they did not see it as a means to eventually reconcile the afflicted person back to the society, but instead, they saw it as a punishment and condemnation for the person. And this attitude remained in the hearts and minds of the people, who looked upon themselves with pride and haughtiness, thinking that they were just and righteous, while others who were afflicted, these were considered as unworthy and wicked.

But brothers and sisters in Christ, first and foremost we must always remember that each and every one of us are sinners, and sin is an even more deadly and contagious disease than leprosy. For leprosy only can afflict the flesh and the body, and it cannot attack the mind, the heart and the soul. On the other hand, sin attacks at the very root of our being, corrupting the soul and our whole being.

And because of this, that is why all of us have also been exiled, by our own disobedience and refusal to listen to the Lord, from the bliss and happiness destined for us in the garden of Eden. We mankind were not created to suffer and to die, which are all caused by our sins. Rather, God intended for each one of us to enjoy forever the fullness of His love and care, and to rejoice with Him in heavenly glory.

We chose, on our own accord, to disobey God and landed ourselves in this predicament. However, God still loves each and every one of us, that despite of our disobedience, stubbornness and refusal to listen to Him, He still gives us chances after chances, opportunities one after another, meant to provide us with the best chance to seek redemption and forgiveness, and become worthy once again to share in the eternal happiness and glory with Him.

Unfortunately, many of us chose to adopt the attitude of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who saw themselves as righteous and as more pious and worthy than the other people, and looked down severely on all those who were considered to be dirty, wicked and unworthy, such as tax collectors, prostitutes and also those with diseases especially the lepers.

Instead, we should be like the lepers, recognising that each and every one of us are sinners, and therefore are unworthy of God caused by our sins. This is a reality that we must accept and appreciate in our lives, and this will allow us to open our hearts and minds to make the effort to seek the Lord, and for us to reach out to Him asking for His forgiveness and grace. That is how we will receive forgiveness and justification in God.

And let us also also be thankful of what the Lord has done for us. He is willing to forgive us, to heal us from the woundedness of our sins, from the imperfections and corruptions that have blemished us. He has loved us so much that He was willing to endure the burden of the cross, in order to save us and to reconcile us to Himself. Let us therefore be like the Samaritan leper, who recognised that he has been healed by the Lord Jesus, and thank the Lord for all that He has done for us.

May the Lord bless us all, and may He continue to love us and guide us in the right path. May He empower us to act justly and righteously, turning away from our sins and all the wickedness we have committed in life thus far. May the Lord be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 11-19

At that time, on the way to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet Him. Keeping their distance, they called to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus said to them, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests.” Then, as they went on their way, they found they were cured. One of them, as soon as he saw that he was cleansed, turned back, praising God in a loud voice; and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave Him thanks. This man was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus asked him, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the other nine? Did none of them decide to return and give praise to God, but this foreigner?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 22 : 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

He guides me through the right paths for His Name’s sake. Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are beside me : Your rod and Your staff comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of my foes. You anoint my head with oil; my cup is overflowing.

Goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Titus 3 : 1-7

Remind the believers, to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, and to be ready for every good work. Tell them to insult no one; they must not be quarrelsome, but gentle and understanding with everyone. We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient and misled. We were slaves of our desires, seeking pleasures of every kind. We lived in malice and envy, hateful, and hating each other.

But God, Our Saviour, revealed His eminent goodness and love for humankind, and saved us, not because of good deeds we may have done, but for the sake of His own mercy, to the water of rebirth and renewal, by the Holy Spirit poured over us through Christ Jesus, Our Saviour, so that, having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs, in hope of eternal life.