Monday, 2 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are reminded to be faithful to God and to put all of our hope in Him, trusting in Him completely as the one and only source of our salvation, the very reason for our existence and the true Light through Whom we shall be freed from the darkness of our lives and by Whom we shall enter into the glorious kingdom of His heavenly glory.

In our first reading today, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Thessalonica reassured them all that God would always be with them, and trusting in God would bring them eventual happiness and glory, as the Lord will reward all those who remain true and faithful to Him, and even in suffering and death, God will always be with His beloved ones. The promise of resurrection and eternal life in God is mentioned in the same passage to reassure all the people of God.

And that is important because at that time, in the earliest days of the Church, even as more and more people came to believe in God, there were increasingly more and more tensions within the community as those who refused to believe in God persecuted and rejected those who have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. As a result, some among the faithful were wavering in their faith in the face of opposition and persecution.

Then, as we also heard in the Gospel passage today, all of us are reminded that just as Christians have been persecuted for their faith all throughout time and ages, we must not forget that first and foremost, the Lord Himself, Our Lord and Master have been rejected first, persecuted first and made to suffer, ultimately leading to His sacrifice and most painful death on the Cross, by which He saved us all and brought the fulfilment of all of God’s promises.

In that occasion, as the Lord Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth in Galilee, He preached the word of God, as prophesied through His prophet Isaiah about the coming of God’s salvation through His Messiah, and how, at that very moment, the salvation of God was revealed for Jesus Himself was finally already in our midst. He is the fulfilment of God’s many promises to us, and which He had shown and proven to us through what He has performed while He walked on this earth.

However, as the passage continued on, many among His own townspeople rejected Him and refused to believe in Him. They must have thought that just because they knew Him and His family, the family of a humble and likely poor carpenter, then the Lord Jesus could not have been the One for Whom they have been waiting for. They judged Him and became prejudiced against Him, preferring to believe in themselves rather than God.

And the Lord showed them all how they were doing exactly what their own ancestors had done when those people struck at the prophets of God, rejecting them and refusing to believe in them, even though they brought with them the truth and wisdom of God. And the Lord Himself received the greatest rejection of all, in the end, when on the moment of His Passion, they condemned Him to die, death on the Cross.

Yet, the Lord continues to love us all regardless, despite all of our sins, our stubbornness and persistent refusal to believe in Him. He is ever faithful to the Covenant which He had made with us and sealed by His own Most Precious Blood on the Cross at Calvary. The Lord wants us all to be saved, and He wants us all to put our trust in Him, because after all, He has loved us so much that He willingly endured all the sufferings for our sake, for our salvation.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to dedicate ourselves and commit ourselves to God fully from now on? Are we willing and wanting to love Him all the more for the way He has loved us and cared for us all these while and for securing for us the path to eternal life and glory with Him? Let us all discern this carefully in our hearts and let us all truly turn to Him wholeheartedly from now onwards. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Monday, 2 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 4 : 16-30

At that time, when Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, as He usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

Jesus then unrolled the scroll and found the place where it is written : “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. He has anointed Me, to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives; and new sight to the blind; to free the oppressed; and to announce the Lord’s year of mercy.”

Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. Then He said to them, “Today, these prophetic words come true, even as you listen.” All agreed with Him, and were lost in wonder, while He spoke of the grace of God. Nevertheless they asked, “Who is this but Joseph’s Son?”

So He said, “Doubtless you will quote Me the saying : Doctor, heal yourself! Do here, in Your town, what they say You did in Capernaum.” Jesus added, “No prophet is honoured in his own country.” Truly, I say to you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens withheld rain for three years and six months and a great famine came over the whole land.”

“Yet, Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow of Zarephath, in the country of Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha, the prophet; and no one was healed except Naaman, the Syrian.”

On hearing these words, the whole assembly became indignant. They rose up and brought Him out of the town, to the edge of the hill on which Nazareth is built, intending to throw Him down the cliff. But He passed through their midst and went His way.

Monday, 2 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 95 : 1 and 3, 4-5, 11-12a, 12b-13

Sing to YHVH a new song, sing to YHVH, all the earth! Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

How great is YHVH and worthy of praise! Above all gods, He is to be feared. For all other gods are worthless idols, but YHVH is the One Who made the heavens.

Let the heavens be glad, the earth rejoice; let the sea and all that fills it resound; let the fields exult and everything in them.

Let the forest, all the trees, sing for joy. Let them sing before YHVH Who comes to judge the earth. He will rule the world with justice, and the peoples, with fairness.

Monday, 2 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 4 : 13-18

Brothers and sisters, we want you not to be mistaken about those who are already asleep, lest you grieve as do those who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose; it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus. God will bring them together, with Jesus, and for His sake.

By the same word of the Lord, we assert this : those of us who are to be alive at the Lord’s coming, will not go ahead of those who are already asleep. When the command by the Archangel’s voice is given, the Lord, Himself, will come down from heaven, while the divine trumpet call is sounding.

Then, those who have died in the Lord, will rise first; as for us who are still alive, we will be brought along with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the celestial world. And we will be with the Lord forever. So then, comfort one another with these words.