Thursday, 19 September 2019 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Luke 7 : 36-50

At that time, one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to share his meal, so He went to the Pharisee’s home, and as usual reclined at the table to eat. And it happened that, a woman of this town, who was known as a sinner, heard that He was in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and stood behind Him, at His feet, weeping. She wet His feet with tears; she dried them with her hair; she kissed His feet and poured the perfume on them.

The Pharisee who had invited Jesus was watching, and thought, “If this Man were a Prophet, He would know what sort of person is touching Him; is this woman not a sinner?” Then Jesus spoke to the Pharisee and said, “Simon, I have something to ask you.” He answered, “Speak, Master.”

And Jesus said, “Two people were in debt to the same creditor. One owed him five hundred silver coins, and the other fifty. As they were unable to pay him back, he graciously cancelled the debts of both. Now, which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, who was forgiven more.” And Jesus said, “You are right.” And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? You gave Me no water for My feet when I entered your house; but she dried them with her hair. You did not welcome Me with a kiss; but she has not stopped kissing My feet since she came in. You provided no oil for My head; but she has poured perfume on My feet. This is why, I tell you, her sins, her many sins, are forgiven, because of her great love. But the one who is forgiven little, has little love.”

Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others reclining with Him at the table began to wonder, “Now this Man claims to forgive sins!” But Jesus again spoke to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace!”

Thursday, 19 September 2019 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 110 : 7-8, 9, 10

The works of His hands are faithful and just, trustworthy are all His precepts, ordained to last forever, bearers of truth and uprightness.

He has sent His people deliverance and made with them a Covenant forever. His Holy Name is to be revered!

The fear of YHVH is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are those who live by His precepts. To Him belongs everlasting praise.

Thursday, 19 September 2019 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

1 Timothy 4 : 12-16

Let no one reproach you on account of your youth. Be a model to the believers, in the way you speak and act, in your love, your faith and purity of life. Devote yourself to reading, preaching and teaching, until I come.

Do not neglect the spiritual gift conferred on you with prophetic words, when the elders laid their hands upon you. Think about it, and practice it, so that your progress may be seen by all. Take heed of yourself, and attend to your teaching. Be steadfast in doing this, and you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019 : 24th 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 Scripture reminding us all of the need for us to turn wholeheartedly towards God in all things and attune ourselves to Him, knowing Him well and being in closer relationship with Him, walking in the path which He has shown us and obeying His will. It is by doing all these that we grow more attuned to Him and be more able to follow Him.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord Jesus Who showed His frustrations against the people who kept on being stubborn and put all of kinds of attitudes in refusing to believe in the truth that God has brought into the world. It was mentioned how when St. John the Baptist came into the world and worked among the people, many of them also doubted him and questioned him, finding him eccentric in his ascetic lifestyle.

On the other hand, when the Lord Himself came and seemingly acted in a different way, they also judged Him by His actions, focusing on His so-called unconventional approach of seeking people like the tax collectors, prostitutes, and calling His disciples from among those and from people who were simple, uncouth and uneducated, poor fishermen and illiterate people as His followers.

All of these ultimately point out the wrong focus and emphasis of the people who were looking at merely all the externals and appearances, and failed to understand the true intention of the Lord, the meaning and purpose of His actions and thoughts. They also judged Him and that of St. John the Baptist by the standards of the world, and not by the standard of the Lord. They thought in the manner as how the world would have done it and that was why they criticised the Lord and His servants as such.

But deep within, they did not know what they were doing, and unfortunately, in their misunderstanding and lack of real and genuine faith, they continued to do what they thought were right even though they were in fact mistaken in their ways. Yet, when the Lord and His servants pointed out their shortcomings and misunderstandings, they became angry and defensive as they refused to admit that they were wrong.

Why is that so? That is because their ego and pride took the better of them and made them to be stubborn and angry, emotional and to refuse to listen to reason. That is why they closed the doors of their hearts and minds to God, and no matter what the Lord told them, they refused to budge and change their mind and heart. The Lord has always been patient to them and kept on trying, but as long as they were unwilling to listen, His words will have no effect.

Now, let us all think about our own actions in life. Have we been like those same people whom the Lord had rebuked for their inability to believe in Him? Have we been too caught up in our numerous preoccupations and worldly concerns and things that we end up overlooking and forgetting about God and His truth and love for us? Have we been so ignorant of His presence in our midst just because we refuse to open our hearts and minds to Him?

Let us all reflect on this, brothers and sisters in Christ, and let us all seek to understand more deeply how God has done so much for us, out of His great love for each and every one of us. Let us all not be distracted any longer by the numerous temptations in life but instead seek to bring ourselves ever closer to God and align ourselves with His will from now on. Let us all follow God and entrust ourselves to Him wholeheartedly as we should have. May the Lord continue to guide us in our journey of faith, now and always. Amen.