Thursday, 22 August 2019 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 1 : 26-38

In the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth. He was sent to a young virgin, who was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the family of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The Angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” Mary was troubled at these words, wondering what this greeting could mean. But the Angel said, “Do not fear, Mary, for God has looked kindly on you. You shall conceive and bear a Son, and you shall call Him Jesus. He will be great, and shall rightly be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the kingdom of David, His ancestor; He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and His reign shall have no end.”

Then Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the Holy Child to be born of you shall be called Son of God. Even your relative Elizabeth is expecting a son in her old age, although she was unable to have a child; and she is now in her sixth month. With God nothing is impossible.”

Then Mary said, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said.” And the Angel left her.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of YHVH, praise the Name of YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH now and forever!

From eastern lands to the western islands, may the Name of YHVH be praised! YHVH is exalted over the nations; His glory above the heavens.

Who is like YHVH our God, Who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Isaiah 9 : 1-6

The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light. A light has dawned on those who live in the land of the shadow of death. You have enlarged the nation; You have increased their joy. They rejoice before You, as people rejoice at harvest time as they rejoice in dividing the spoil.

For the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors, You have broken it as on the day of Midian. Every warrior’s boot that tramped in war, every cloak rolled in blood, will be thrown out for burning, will serve as fuel for the fire.

For a Child is born to us, a Son is given us; the royal ornament is laid upon His shoulder, and His Name is proclaimed : “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

To the increase of His powerful rule in peace, there will be no end. Vast will be His dominion, He will reign on David’s throne and over all his kingdom, to establish and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time onward and forever. The zealous love of YHVH Sabaoth will do this.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019 : 20th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Pius X, Pope (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture showing us the parable which the Lord Jesus used in teaching His disciples, on the workers in a vineyard, whom the landowner called in various times throughout the day. Some of the workers worked right from the beginning of the day while others started their work later and some still worked just at the very last hour.

This parable in fact shows us how the Lord works with us and through us, and how in our lives each and every one of us have been called by God to serve Him and to be with Him doing His will and walking in the path that He has shown us. And that is why in the parable, each and every workers mentioned in fact represent all of us mankind, the people of God whom He had called to follow Him, just as the vineyard owner, representing God, called all the workers to his field.

That vineyard is representing the world we are living in today, the world that God has created and is His dominion. When the owner of the vineyard called on the workers to work in his field, that is representative of how God called us all as Christians to be His stewards and representatives in this world, doing our good works and committing ourselves to the care of this wonderful creation He has given and blessed us with.

That is because as Christians, all of us have been called by God and entrusted with many things, especially to bear witness of the truth of God in this world, among His people, the people of many nations and races. We are called to be witnesses of our faith in God through our everyday actions and deeds, through our words and interactions with one another, especially with those who have not yet known God.

God has called us all at different points of time in our lives, and He never ceases to call on us even if we have not responded well to His call. That is why just as the vineyard owner went again and again into the town calling on more people to work in his vineyard, thus the Lord also called on us mankind to follow Him, again and again without cease, wanting us to follow Him and to walk in the path He has prepared for us.

And with regards to the ending of that work, when the vineyard owner gave each workers the same amount of pay, a silver coin, regardless of the time when each worker started their job or how long they have done the job, this is in fact showing us all that God has called us all to share in the same inheritance and glory which He has promised us and treated us all equally without distinction or being biased. All of us are equally beloved by Him.

That is why the workers who grumbled because they expected to receive more payment for their longer working hours were mistaken, because they did not work for genuine reasons but rather with the expectation to receive more than others. They were looking for the earthly rewards and not for the true reward of God, that is immeasurable. This is why the Lord Jesus mentioned about this matter as part of His parable, to remind us all His disciples that we do not seek for earthly glory, happiness and treasures in God, but rather the true happiness of life, that is our salvation and graceful existence with God.

Today we celebrate the feast of a holy, dedicated and courageous servant of God whose life and examples can be great inspiration for us all as Christians in how we should live out our lives with faith and how we ought to commit ourselves and dedicate ourselves to God’s service for each and every moments of our lives. Pope St. Pius X lived and reigned as Pope and leader of the Church just over a century ago but his passion in loving the Lord and in serving the Church and the faithful was truly inspirational.

He was born into a poor peasant family background, as Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, in a large and poor family in northern Italy. Young Giuseppe felt the calling of God during his formation and education years, and eventually became a priest with the support of his family. As a priest, the future Pope worked hard in the parishes and in the community of the faithful, patiently ministering to the needs of the poor and the underprivileged in the midst of the community. He ministered to the sick and the dying and all the faithful, caring for them spiritually and physically.

Eventually he was made the Bishop of Mantua in northern Italy and then as a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, signifying the great contributions which this holy man of God had done over the many years of his courageous and dedicated service for the greater glory of God and for the benefit of the faithful. Then, in the year of Our Lord 1903, he was elected the Supreme Pontiff, Pope and leader of the Church, and during the eleven years of his pontificate, Pope St. Pius X vigorously laboured to serve the people of God.

He was remembered as the Pope of the Eucharist for his determination to push the practice of frequent Holy Communion for the faithful and for the age of the First Communion to be earlier, so that the faithful may become more attuned to the Lord and grow to be more faithful through the more regular reception of the Holy Eucharist. He also worked hard in opposing the heresy and sin of modernism among the faithful, persevering against the forces trying to subvert and lead the people of God into sin through the temptation of worldliness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to live our lives with faith as what Pope St. Pius X had shown us? Are we able to love God and to do His will with all of our hearts as we should? There will be challenges and difficulties along the way, but rest assured that the Lord will reward us in the end for our faith, not with the glory and happiness of this world, but with true happiness and joy of His saving grace that surpasses all earthly joy and pleasures. May the Lord continue to guide us in our path, and may He strengthen us to live ever more courageously in faith as Pope St. Pius X and many other saints had done. Amen.