Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 14 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4ab, 5

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right, who speak truth from their heart and control their words.

Those who do no harm to their neighbours and cast no discredit on their companions, who look down on evildoers but highly esteem God’s servants.

Those who do not lend money at interest and refuse a bribe against the innocent. Do this, and you will soon be shaken.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 3 : 1-6, 14-22

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, “Thus says He Who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars : ‘I know your worth : you think you live but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen that which is not already dead. For I have found your works to be imperfect in the sight of My God.”

“‘Remember what you were taught; keep it and change your ways. If you do not repent I will come upon you like a thief at an hour you least expect. Yet, there are some left in Sardis who have not soiled their robes; these will come with Me, dressed in white, since they deserve it. The victor will be dressed in white and I will never erase his name from the book of life; instead, I will acknowledge it before My Father and His Angels.'”

“‘Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Laodicea, “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation : ‘I know your works : you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of My mouth.'”

“‘You think you are rich and have piled up so much that you need nothing, but you do not realise that you are wretched and to be pitied, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold that has been tested by fire, so that you may be rich, and white clothes to wear so that your nakedness may not shame you, and ointment for your eyes that you may see. I reprimand and correct all those I love. Be earnest and change your ways.'”

“‘Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with Me. I will let the victor sit with Me on My throne just as I was victorious and took My place with My Father on His throne. Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the Lord’s mercy and infinite love, which He has shown us, and which He is willing to give us, again and again. And this is despite of the disobedience and the stubborn attitude which we have shown repeatedly, in various occasions. He despises our sins and wickedness, but in the end, at the centre of it all, God’s love is even greater for us, His beloved children, than His anger for our sins.

After all, He did not create us all without a good reason, and that good reason is exactly because He loves every single one, every single part of His many and unfathomably vast arrays of creation. And He created us mankind as the last, greatest and as the pinnacle of His creation and universe. Do not forget, brothers and sisters in Christ, that out of all creation, we alone have been created in God’s own image.

That is why, we were actually destined for great things, that is to enjoy forever the perfect bliss and happiness in all the good things that God had created for us. Unfortunately, we mankind chose to satisfy our inner desires, the pride and greed that entered us through the temptations and lies that Satan had given us. We fell into those temptations and failed to resist. In the end, the outcome is that we become more and more distant from God and become estranged from Him.

Sin is a very dangerous disease that is constantly attacking us, corrupting us and eating us from the inside out. Unlike any forms of earthly diseases, even those seemingly incurable ones, sin alone is capable of affecting our deepest and innermost being, and can end up causing us fate far worse than death. Even the worst diseases can only cause the death of our physical body, but sin can cause us to suffer eternal and true death, eternal suffering in hell.

And many of us did not realise that we are in this state of sin, which makes us unworthy of God. As mentioned earlier, God truly loves each and every one of us, even the greatest sinners and those who have been estranged for a long time from Him. And He is willing to reconcile ourselves to Him, by forgiving us our sins. He offers us this forgiveness and mercy freely, and yet, ultimately, whether we are forgiven or not, also requires us to accept His mercy with sincere desire for change.

Perhaps, what we heard in the Gospel passage today, can inspire us to do what is necessary to be more attuned to God and His will, and to accept His mercy and love present in our midst. In that passage, we heard of the moment when a blind man in Jericho cried out incessantly calling out to the Lord Jesus, wanting Him to heal him from his blindness so that he might be able to see again.

And despite the scolding and ridicule from all the other people who were around him, the blind man did not give up. In fact, he cried out all the louder, asking the Lord Jesus to come to him and heal him from his afflictions. The Lord heard his call, and showed pity and mercy on the blind man. In the end, the blind man could see again and his wishes were fulfilled.

How does this compare to us, brothers and sisters in Christ? We are like the blind man, afflicted with sin, that become like a veil, a distraction and temptation that kept us away from being able to be fully reconciled with God. And the call that the blind man made, is like our efforts and attempts to seek the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. But there are also, at the same time, the voices of those who ridiculed and scolded the blind man, and these are the temptations that often prevent us from being able to accept God’s mercy and forgiveness.

Now, the question is, are we faithful enough and willing enough to put in the effort to love the Lord, even despite the challenges and difficulties that we may encounter in life? Are we able and willing to commit ourselves wholeheartedly and call out to the Lord, just as the blind man had done? Doing so will also require us to humble ourselves and to desire that healing which can only come from God. God alone is capable of forgiving us our sins, and He is willing to do so. But are we willing to accept His offer?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to make a change and a difference in each and every one of our lives. We are called to a conversion of hearts, minds and indeed, our whole being. Let us commit ourselves to God anew, and let us turn to Him with all of our abilities and strengths, from now on, that we may be eventually be worthy of God’s love and grace, and have a part in the eternal inheritance and glory He has promised us who are faithful to Him. May God bless us all. Amen.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 18 : 35-43

At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. As he heard the crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by.

Then he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” The people in front of him scolded him. “Be quiet!” they said, but he cried out all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped, and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man said, “Lord, that I may see!” Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has saved you.”

At once the blind man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving praise to God. And all the people who were there also praised God.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.

Monday, 19 November 2018 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Revelations 1 : 1-4 and Revelations 2 : 1-5a

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. God gave it to Him to let His servants know what is soon to take place. He sent His Angel to make it known to His servant, John, who reports everything he saw, for this is the word of God and the declaration of Jesus Christ.

Happy is the one who reads aloud these prophetic words, and happy those who hear them and treasure everything written here, for the time is near. From John to the seven Churches of Asia : receive grace and peace from Him Who is, Who was and Who is to come, and from the seven Spirits of God which are before His throne.

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Ephesus, “Thus says the One Who holds the seven stars in His right hand and Who walks among the seven golden lampstands : ‘I know your works, your difficulties and your patient suffering. I know you cannot tolerate evildoers but have tested those who call themselves Apostles and have proved them to be liars. You have persevered and have suffered for My Name without losing heart.”

“Nevertheless, I have this complaint against you : you have lost your first love. Remember from where you have fallen and repent.”

Sunday, 18 November 2018 : Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Peter and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Wall, World Day of the Poor (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday we come closer to the end of our current liturgical year, and as a result, that is why the readings have that apocalyptic and premonition sense and tone. While the liturgical year itself is a cycle and will continue on to the next liturgical year, year after year, but at the same time, the end of the liturgical year is also symbolic of the coming of the end of time, as the Lord Himself had revealed.

The Lord revealed how the coming of the end of time will be swift and unpredictable, in the various occasions that He mentioned it throughout the Gospels, including what we have heard in today’s Gospel passage. No one knows the exact time when the Lord will come again, to enact the Last Judgment over all creation, over all of our souls, to determine our chosen fate, which we have chosen ourselves, out of free will. Whether we will join in God’s eternal glory in heaven, or whether we will be forever sundered from Him in the eternal damnation, all will be finalised at the Last Judgment.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord mentioned that there would indeed be signs for the coming of the end times, as there would be increasing troubles and persecutions against those who are faithful to God. The account of the Book of Revelations according to St. John also confirmed this reality. And all agree that the Lord Jesus, the Son of Man, will come again at the end of time, and according to the Book of the prophet Daniel, His coming will also be heralded by St. Michael the Archangel, the Prince of the Heavenly Host.

The coming of that time will be joyful and bring probably indescribable happiness to all those who have kept their faith in God, for they have certainly suffered for many years and periods under the oppression and persecution by those who refused to believe in God. But for all those who have rejected God and refused to believe in Him and in all those who have spoken in His Name, there was only regret and eternal anguish, knowing that their fate had been decided by their own choice.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what is important for each and every one of us to take note is the fact that we have been given the gift of free will by God, to choose whether we want to continue to disobey Him and listen to Satan’s sweet words of lie and distortion, which he had done with us ever since he corrupted Adam and Eve, our first parents, or we have the choice to repent our sins, and turn towards God with all of our hearts and minds.

And we have been given the wisdom to understand the ways of the Lord as well as the ways of the world. We have been given the ability to understand how we ought to act in the face of all that we have witnessed, heard and seen for ourselves. And yet, many of us still choose the wrong path to take, the one that leads into separation from God, and into the eternal damnation and suffering in hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, why is that so? That is because, we mankind are truly weak, vulnerable and at risk, from all the insidious and evil works of the devil and all of the forces in his disposal. He is full of things that he can use to tempt us and to make us fall into sin. And through disobedience and sin, we end up going further and further away from God, and eventually unless we make the effort to move away from this destination, we will end up where we deserve.

All of us have received the truth of God from the Church, from our priests and bishops, all those who have kept the truth of God alive throughout all these times. And yet, why is it that even many of us Christians are unable to keep up the same faith and the same commitment as those who have gone before us and led a life of holiness? That is because of the ever increasing and ever present pressures from the forces of the evil one.

We need to make a decision, right now, and think of what will be our lot, when the time comes for us to be judged based on what we have done, and what we have not done in our lives. We will be judged based on the good and wicked things we have done, and whatever good things we could have done, and yet, failed to do. And it is important that we know of the truth, that unless we do what is right, we will end up falling into eternal suffering.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we need to reexamine our lives, and realign ourselves to God, especially if we have fallen away and been stumbling in our path towards Him because of sin and the many temptations to sin. Let us all turn ourselves, and make the good efforts to make our lives to be in accordance to what the Lord has shown us and commanded us to do.

Let us not wait or tarry any longer, because just as we do not know of the time when the Lord will come again and therefore when the Last Judgment is, we also believe that the timing of death is something that we will never know for ourselves. Death is a certainty for all of us because of sin, and yet the timing of death ia an uncertainty to all of us. No one knows of the exact time when their earthly end will come, and when it comes, we will also go through a particular judgment for each one of us, determining our fate for eternity to come.

May the Lord therefore be our Guide and may He continue to strengthen us, and show us the way, that we will not be easily tempted to turn away from Him. Let us also make the conscious effort to resist the allures and the falsehoods of Satan, and to be righteous and just in all of our actions, to the best of our abilities, from now on. May God bless us always, and may He continue to be with us, now and forevermore. Amen.