Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday our attention is brought to the need for us all to be faithful, to be prepared and to be committed to God, at all times throughout our lives so that we may truly be ready and be worthy of Him. Through the passages we have heard, we received the assurance from God that all those who have been faithful to Him shall not be disappointed, because He has loved them all very well and blessed them.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Wisdom, we heard of an assurance for the people of God, relating to them the memory of their ancestors, the Israelites during their time of slavery in Egypt. By linking the experience to the well-known story of how God saved His entire people and liberated them from slavery, God wanted His people to know and to remember that even in their darkest moments, God always remembers those whom He loves.

The reference to the Passover in that passage is a reference to how the Passover is passed on year after year, from generation to generation, as a reminder of the moment of salvation for God’s people, when God intervened personally to save His people, holding them by hand out of the land of Egypt, foiling the plots their slavemasters and enemies had on them, and saved them by the gift of His love.

And then in the second reading today, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author who wrote to the audience who were likely the Jewish converts to Christianity, spoke of even more examples of how God rewarded His faithful servants and how He remained true to the promises which He has made to His beloved ones. The examples of Abraham and Sarah were given in that passage, detailing how Abraham followed God faithfully and constantly, despite of the journey and challenges he had to face.

God made a great Covenant with Abraham because of his faith, promising that his descendants will be great and numerous, countless like the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the seashore. And God remained true to that Covenant, being with Abraham and his descendants, with the people who have come from among his descendants, right to this very day, caring for all of us and protecting us, providing for us and loving us dearly.

Sarah was also mentioned, as having a son that she and Abraham had waited for a long, long time. She remained faithful to God in the end, although during the many years of waiting, according to the Book of Genesis, she faltered a few times, in her attempt to get a son through her slave Hagar, in how she doubted initially when the Lord came to Abraham and her telling them that she would have a son within the year, even in her very old age.

We see in that occasion, of how God is so generous and ever-loving, ever-patient, in caring for His beloved people, even giving chances to those who have faltered, as Sarah had done, and as later on, the Israelites themselves had done. In the rest of the Books of Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, we can see how the Israelites often rebelled and disobeyed against God, and how God punished them many times. But in the end, He continued to care for them and loved them.

Now, having heard so much about how God loved His people, and if we read on through the rest of the Scriptures, we can see even more examples of such love and faithfulness from God to His people, to the Covenant He has made with them. And God gave us the perfect proof of His love by giving us the ultimate gift in Christ, His own Beloved and Begotten Son, to be Our Saviour and Our Liberator.

And through Christ, God has once again brought His people to freedom, and this time, not just the people of Israel, but the whole race of man, for through Christ, Who is the Divine Word Incarnate, God made Himself incarnate in the flesh of Man, fully Man and fully Divine, all of us have come to share in the humanity of Christ and therefore become God’s adopted children, and as the children of Abraham by faith, for Christ is also born of the race of Abraham.

God fulfilled the promises He made to His servants, establishing the descendants of Abraham, that is all of us who have been faithful to Him, and granting us the promise of eternal glory and inheritance He has kept and prepared for us. He has blessed His people and made us great once again, rescuing us from the fated destruction and promised us that at the end of time He will come to gather all of us to Himself.

And that is what we are reminded of through the Gospel passage today, when the Lord Jesus Himself used a parable to remind all of His disciples and followers to be ever faithful and to be ever vigilant in faith so that they would not be taken by surprise if the Lord comes once again, in fulfilment of the promise which He has made, and which He had adequately forewarned to all of us, that is the timing of the Last Judgment and the end times.

As we have heard and discussed earlier, God is ever patient, ever forgiving and ever loving, giving us many opportunities, again and again, one after another, just because He truly loves us all that much. But we must not take His love ever for granted, as the time will come for us to have to reckon for our decisions and commitments in life, whether we follow God or refuse to walk in His path.

The Lord has always been faithful to His words, He is ever true and ever just, and therefore, if He has promised of His second coming in glory, to judge all of us according to our deeds and to our faith, then it will eventually happen, at a time not of our choosing but at a time we will not expect at all. God alone knows when the exact time of this moment of reckoning will happen, and what each and every one of us should do is that we must be prepared for Him.

In the parable that the Lord used to teach His disciples, He spoke of two types of servants and stewards, one are those who are faithful to the commands of the master, obeying his will and doing whatever they can to fulfil the works of the master, being diligent and hardworking, ever prepared and ever ready, while the other stewards are those who delayed and were being complacent and lazy in their work, thinking that their master would not come back so soon.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us are those stewards whom the master has entrusted with his household, that is this world, entrusted by God, Our Lord and Master, to be our responsibility. The Lord has also given us all the free will to choose between obedience and disobedience, between faith and impiety, between the path He has shown and the path of temptations and sin showed to us by Satan.

Are we then able to commit ourselves to a wise choice, thinking carefully and discerning well on what we are to embrace in our lives from now on? Should we choose the Lord Who has been faithful to us all these while, ever loving and ever forgiving, ever compassionate and generous in everything? Or should we choose the way of this world, all the false offerings and temptations of the devil?

Beware, brethren, for the lure of the devil is very powerful indeed, and unless we have genuine and true faith and love for God, we will be easily trapped by the devil’s lures, and end up falling into disobedience and sin, and therefore into damnation and eternal suffering. Are we able to commit ourselves to the path that Christ our Lord has shown us? This requires us to be persistent and resilient, to persevere through the temptations and challenges we may face through this journey in our lives.

Today, all of us are called to be dutiful and good stewards, to be always exemplary in our lives and be ever prepared and ready for the Lord. And this means that we should be faithful just as Abraham, Sarah and all other faithful servants of God have been faithful. And we should not be afraid of failures or being distracted in our journey of faith, as no one in this world is perfect, and because of that, it is perfectly normal for us to falter or to encounter obstacles from time to time.

However, the most important thing here is for us to pick ourselves up and remain strong despite the challenges we encounter, despite the failures we have encountered and all the downfalls we have experienced. Remember that God always loves us, and He has always given us chances after chances, and He is always willing to help us up through those challenges. If He has not given up on us, then all the more we should not give up on ourselves. We must persist and remain strong in our journey, so as to draw ever closer to God and to be worthy of Him when He comes again.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all pray asking God for the courage and the strength to go through these respective journeys of our lives, that we may bear the crosses and trials of our lives with faith, with courage and with determination and passion, burning love for God. May God continue to guide us throughout this journey and may He empower us all to live ever more faithfully in His presence from now on. God bless us all. Amen.

Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 32-48

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms. Get yourselves purses that do not wear out, and an inexhaustible treasure in the heavens, where no thief comes and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

“Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

“Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Peter said, “Lord, did You tell this parable only for us, or for everyone?” And the Lord replied, “Imagine, then, the wise and faithful steward, whom the master sets over his other servants, to give them wheat at the proper time. Fortunate is this servant if his master, on coming home, finds him doing his work. Truly, I say to you, the master will put him in charge of all his property.”

“But it may be that the steward thinks, ‘My lord delays in coming,’ and he begins to abuse the male servants and the servant girls, eating and drinking and getting drunk. Then the master will come on a day he does not expect, and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him off, and send him to the same fate as the unfaithful.”

“The servant who knew his master’s will, but did not prepare and do what his master wanted, will be soundly beaten; but the one who does unconsciously what deserves punishment, shall receive fewer blows. Much will be required of the one who has been given much, and more will be asked of the one who has been entrusted with more.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 12 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him. Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

“Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 11 : 1-2, 8-19

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. Because of their faith our ancestors were approved. It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance; for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived as a stranger in that promised land. There he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, beneficiaries of the same promise. Indeed, he looked forward to that city of solid foundation of which God is the Architect and Builder.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age; since she believed that He Who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Death found all these people strong in their faith. They had not received what was promised, but they had looked ahead and had rejoiced in it from afar, saying that they were foreigners and travellers on earth. Those who speak in this way prove that they are looking for their own country. For if they had longed for the land they had left, it would have been easy for them to return, but no, they aspired to a better city, that is, a supernatural one; so God, Who prepared the city for them is not ashamed of being called their God.

By faith Abraham went to offer Isaac when God tested him. And so he who had received the promise of God offered his only son although God had told him : Isaac’s descendants will bear your name. Abraham reasoned that God is capable even of raising the dead, and he received back his son, which has a figurative meaning.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Hebrews 11 : 1-2, 8-12

Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see. Because of their faith our ancestors were approved. It was by faith that Abraham, called by God, set out for a country that would be given to him as an inheritance; for he parted without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived as a stranger in that promised land. There he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, beneficiaries of the same promise. Indeed, he looked forward to that city of solid foundation of which God is the Architect and Builder.

By faith Sarah herself received power to become a mother, in spite of her advanced age; since she believed that He Who had made the promise would be faithful. Therefore, from an almost impotent man were born descendants as numerous as the stars of heavens, as many as the grains of sand on the seashore.

Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 1 and 12, 18-19, 20 and 22

Rejoice in YHVH, you who are just; praise is fitting for the upright. Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH – the people He has chosen for His inheritance.

But YHVH’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope, we wait for YHVH, for He is our help and our shield. O YHVH, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 18 : 6-9

That night had been foretold to our ancestors, and knowing in what promise they trusted, they could rejoice in all surety. Your people waited for both the salvation of the just and the downfall of their enemies, for the very punishment of our enemies brought glory to the people you have called – that is, to us.

The holy race secretly offered the Passover sacrifice and really agreed on this worthy pact : that they would share alike both blessings and dangers. And forthwith they began to sing the hymns of their fathers.

(Usus Antiquior) Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Psalm 18 : 9, 10, 11, 12

Justitiae Domini rectae, laetificantes corda, et judicia ejus dulciora super mel et favum : nam et servus Tuus custodiat ea.

 

English translation

The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts, and His judgments sweeter than honey and the honeycomb, for Your servant keeps them.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine, haec digne frequentare mysteria : quia, quoties hujus hostiae commemoratio celebratur, opus nostrae redemptionis exercetur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, worthily to frequent these mysteries, for as often as the commemoration of this victim is celebrated, the work of our redemption is performed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

 

Communion

John 6 : 57

Qui manducat Meam Carnem et bibit Meum Sanguinem, in Me manet et Ego in eo, dicit Dominus.

 

English translation

He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, abides in Me, and I in Him, says the Lord.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Tui nobis, quaesumus, Domine, communio sacramenti, et purificationem conferat, et tribuat unitatem. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Let the communion of Your sacrament, we beseech You, o Lord, both cleanse us from sin and make us of one mind and one heart in Your service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Ninth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 11 August 2019 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 19 : 4-47

In illo tempore : Cum appropinquaret Jesus Jerusalem, videns civitatem, flevit super illam, dicens : Quia si cognovisses et tu, et quidem in hac die tua, quae ad pacem tibi, nunc autem abscondita sunt ab oculis tuis.

Quia venient dies in te : et circumdabunt te : et coangustabunt te undique : et ad terram prosternent te, et filios tuos, qui in te sunt, et non relinquent in te lapidem super lapidem : eo quod non cognoveris tempus visitationis tuae.

Et ingressus in templum, coepit ejicere vendentes in illo et ementes, dicens illis : Scriptum est : Quia domus mea domus orationis est. Vos autem fecistis illam speluncam latronum. Et erat docens cotidie in templo.

 

English translation

At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, seeing the city, He wept over it saying, “If you had also known, and that in this your day, the things that are to your peace but now they are hidden from your eyes.”

“For the days shall come upon you, and your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and encompass you round, and straighten you on every side, and beat you flat to the ground, and your children who are in you, and they shall not leave in you a stone upon a stone, because you have not known the time of your visitation.”

And entering into the Temple, He began to cast out those who had sold therein, and those who bought from them, saying to them, “It is written, My house is the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And He was teaching daily in the Temple.