Friday, 13 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial or St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to YHVH, “O YHVH, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I praise YHVH Who counsels me; even at night, my inmost self instructs me. I keep YHVH always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence, the fullness of joy, at Your right hand, happiness forever.

Friday, 13 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial or St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Timothy 1 : 1-2, 12-14

From Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus, by a command of God, our Saviour, and of Christ Jesus, our Hope, to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father, and Christ Jesus, Our Lord, give you grace, mercy and peace.

I give thanks to Christ Jesus, Our Lord, Who is my strength, Who has considered me trustworthy, and appointed me to His service, although I had been a blasphemer, a persecutor and a fanatical enemy. However, He took mercy on me, because I did not know what I was doing when I opposed the faith; and the grace of Our Lord was more than abundant, together with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day the Church celebrates yet another important feast in honour of Mary, the mother of God. On this day we focus our attention to the Most Holy Name of Mary, a name that is the terror of demons and all evil spirits just as her Son’s Name is even feared more by the same enemies of the Lord. At the mere mention of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, even Satan in all of his power and might cringe and have to submit in total fear.

And why is it that Satan fears the Name of Mary so much? It is understandable for him to fear the Holy Name of Jesus for He is God and the Master of all universe and creation, and even Satan and all the fallen angels have to submit to Him and obey Him and worship Him, no matter how reluctant they are. God’s authority over all things is absolute and therefore Satan fears the mere utterance of the Name of the Lord. But what about the Name of His blessed mother?

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all think about it for a moment. In our world, if someone who is not known and yet related to another person of great power and majesty, and that person’s relationship to the latter is known and revealed, is it not that all will also fear and give the same respect to the former just as they fear and respect the latter? There have been cases in the history of our world when kings and rulers have come from humble origins, and when they rose to kingship and rulership, even their relatives, especially their parents and mothers were brought up to a great position and esteem too.

It is therefore the same with the case of Mary and our Lord Jesus. If we have known and believed that truly, the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Master of all the universe and Omnipotent Almighty God, then by virtue of Mary being the mother of Our Lord, she is therefore also accorded the great honour of being His mother. In the historical past and even up to today, the mother of a king is accorded with great honour.

Therefore, first of all, whenever Mary’s name is mentioned in fact, it is almost equivalent to invoking the Name of her Son as well. That is why no wonder that Satan and his wicked allies and forces fear her Name so much, as the mention of her Name is also a mention of the Name of her Son, Jesus. And if Satan fears the latter, it is just right that he also fears the former. That is why we celebrate this feast of the Holy Name of Mary, our mother and our protector.

And Satan did not just fear Mary because of her being the Mother of God, but also because he has also had no power over her at all, as she was not just immaculate and conceived without the taint of original sin, but throughout her whole life she has remained faithful to God and placed her focus on Him alone, and Satan has no means by which to ever be able to corrupt her or to bring her under his power.

As such, Satan fears her precisely because in her, Satan had seen his ultimate defeat and inability to harm the sons of man, because not just that the salvation of this world came through her womb, in the form of Our Lord and Saviour, but also because Our Lord has entrusted all of the sons and daughters of mankind under her care and love. From the cross, Christ has entrusted His mother to us, and vice versa, all of us to her.

That is why Mary has appeared many times before us in her many apparitions, in Guadalupe, in Fatima, in Lourdes, in La Sallete among many others, as she constantly reminded us all to repent from our sins and to turn towards her Son with faith. She has done a lot in trying to help us all to be closer to God and to be closer to the path of salvation through her Son. For all that she has done, in being our help and also in being our role model in faith as the one whom many of us are looking up as example, the mere utterance of her Name therefore terrifies all the demonic forces in this world and beyond.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be thankful that God has given us such a wonderful means towards our salvation by giving us none other than His own beloved mother to help us in our journey of faith and in our struggles of life, by her constant intercession and reminders for each and every one of us. Let us all as Christians be inspired by her role model and example in how she has obediently lived her life with fullness of faith.

May the Lord through His mother Mary continue to help us to draw ever closer to Himself, by our ever growing love and devotion towards Him, being inspired by the love and faith which Mary herself had throughout her whole life. Let us all seek to be ever more committed and faithful from now on in all things, and glorify God by all of our words, deeds and actions in life. Amen.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 6 : 27-38

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “But I say to you who hear Me : Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks, and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back.”

“Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favours to those who are good to you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of grace is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return.

But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For He is kind toward the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

“Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 39-47

Mary then set out for a town in the hill country of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb.

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and, giving a loud cry, said, “You are most blessed among women; and blessed is the Fruit of your womb! How is it, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you, who believed that the Lord’s word would come true!”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!”

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Psalm 150 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the vault of heaven. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him for His own greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with lyre and harp. Praise Him with dance and tambourines; praise Him with pipe and strings.

Praise Him with clashing cymbals; praise Him with clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord. Alleluia!

Alternative Psalm (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Luke 1 : 46-47, 48-49, 50-51, 52-53, 54-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit exults in God, my Saviour!

He has looked upon His servant, in her lowliness, and people, forever, will call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, Holy is His Name!

From age to age, His mercy extends to those who live in His presence. He has acted with power and done wonders, and scattered the proud with their plans.

He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifted up those who are downtrodden. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty.

He held out His hand to Israel, His servant, for He remembered His mercy, even as He promised to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Thursday, 12 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Most Holy Name of Mary)

Colossians 3 : 12-17

Clothe yourselves, then, as is fitting for God’s chosen people, holy and beloved of Him. Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience to bear with one another and forgive whenever there is any occasion to do so. As the Lord has forgiven you, forgive one another.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful. Let the Word of God dwell in you in all its richness. Teach and admonish one another with words of wisdom. With thankful hearts sing to God psalms, hymns and spontaneous praise.

And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Galatians 4 : 4-7

But when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son. He came born of woman and subject to the Law, in order to redeem the subjects of the Law, that we might receive adoption as children of God.

And because you are children, God has sent into your hearts the Spirit of His Son which cries out : Abba! That is, Father! You yourself are no longer a slave but a son or daughter, and yours is the inheritance by God’s grace.

Alternative reading (Mass of the Most Holy Name of Mary)

Ephesians 1 : 3-6

Blessed be God, the Father of Christ Jesus our Lord, Who, in Christ, has blessed us from heaven, with every spiritual blessing. God chose us, in Christ, before the creation of the world, to be holy, and without sin in His presence.

From eternity He destined us, in love, to be His adopted sons and daughters, through Christ Jesus, thus fulfilling His free and generous will. This goal suited Him : that His loving-kindness, which He granted us His beloved might finally receive all glory and praise.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019 : 23rd 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 Sacred Scriptures reminding us of the need for us to overcome our attachments to the world and to put our complete trust in God for He Who is ever faithful and good, loving and forgiving towards us will always have our best interest in His heart, and He will always be faithful to the Covenant which He has established with each and every one of us.

All of us need to have that faith and trust in God, and we need to put our complete faith in Him and in His providence. God will always be by our side no matter what, even in our most difficult moments and in the midst of great challenges. And we talk about this because it is exactly what we are likely to be experiencing in our own respective lives as Christians. To be Christians, as Christ’s followers mean that we will have to endure rejection and oppression, ridicule and suffering as Our Lord Himself had suffered.

But this is where we truly need to make our stand and decide, to be with Christ or to be away from Him. To follow His path will mean that we need to make sacrifices and to let go of certain things, worldly possessions and attachments, our desires and our natural greed and pride, our ego and our ambitions, as mentioned in our first reading passage today from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians, in seeking for the things that are above earthly things.

We naturally seek things of this world to bring about fulfilment and satisfaction in our life. We seek for satisfaction and the fulfilment of our bodily desires and these things are the temptations that often distract us from the path towards God. We tend to be so busy and preoccupied in trying to seek all those worldliness that we forgot about God and walked away from the path He has shown us.

But today, in the Gospel passage which we have just heard, we heard a part of the Beatitudes in which the Lord reminded and reaffirmed His disciples and all those who have the desire to follow Him. He reminded them all that despite all the challenges that they might have to face as His disciples and followers, but all those would not be in vain, for in the end God will be with them and will reward them wonderfully for their faith.

The Lord wants us to seek the true happiness and joy, satisfaction and eternal glory that can be found in Him and through Him alone. He wants us to avoid being distracted and tempted by the many temporary satisfactions and false pleasures of this world. And we must be aware that Satan and his allies are always ever busy trying to ruin us all by tempting us and turning us all against God by manipulating our desires and emotions.

This is where we need to be strong in our faith and to deepen our love and relationship with God. Otherwise, it will be easy for the devil to strike at us and snatch us away from God and His path towards salvation. God wants us all to trust in Him and to follow His path even when we are faced with difficulties and challenges in life. God will never abandon us in our moments of greatest need.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore grow ever stronger in our faith towards God, and let us all turn towards Him with ever greater love, and seek to love Him with more zeal and faith, each and every passing days. May the Lord continue to be by our side and may He help us to be strong in our faith and in our dedication from now on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.