Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture speaking to us about the protection and love which God, Our Lord and Master has given us all of these while, not letting us to go into the harm’s path, as mentioned in our first reading today, in the Book of Exodus in which God reassured His people that He sent His Angels to guide them, to protect them from their enemies and to lead them to freedom.

And it is befitting that today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, as each and every one of us have been provided with an Angel by God to be our guide and our protector, to be the one resisting the temptation of the evil one and his wicked allies in a constant spiritual warfare and struggle. The Guardian Angels are our protectors that is always by our side, even if we cannot see or feel them.

They are always by our side when the devil and the fallen angels strike at us, pulling at us and tempting us to fall into sin. They are the voices of reason and wisdom in our hearts and in our minds, keeping us strong despite the strong temptations and challenges that we have to constantly face at all times. The devil is always busy at work trying to make us fall, and certainly he will do everything within his capability to destroy us.

But we should not be afraid, for the Lord through His Angels has always taken care of us and as the Lord mentioned in our Gospel passage today, those Angels are always constantly in contact with God, and God Who knows everything will know all that is happening to us, and He sends us His help through many means including that of the Angels who are constantly out and about fighting against the forces of evil all around us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we are called to reflect on our own lives and how we have lived them thus far. Have we been following the suggestions and the advices given to us by the Guardian Angel each one of us have on our side or have we instead given in to the temptations of the devil and his fellow fallen angels, those who have always tempted us and tried to bring us down with them?

Today, we are all called to be more attuned to the presence of our Guardian Angels who is always out and about taking care of each and every one of us. God has given them to be by our side, to care for us and to love us, so that all of us, God’s beloved ones can truly be safe and protected from the evil ones. Have we realised just how much they have done for our sake, in protecting us all these while?

Let us all strive therefore to be as what the Lord has said to His disciples in our Gospel passage today, to have the faith like the faith of little children. Let us all do our best to be faithful, and it means that we should be sincere in our faith and commitment to God as those children truly loved the Lord wholeheartedly. When we have been exposed to the many corrupt temptations of this world, then our love for God has been affected and our attention on Him has been diverted.

That is why we have not been able to dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly, because we prefer to listen to the sweet lies and the tempting words of Satan rather than to listen to God and His truth. We shut our hearts and minds against Him, and even though our Guardian Angels have been reminding us, we prefer to listen to the devil instead. Perhaps we should really reflect on what we should be doing from now on.

Let us all pray and ask our Guardian Angels to protect us and to take care of us, that they will protect us from the attacks by the evil one, who is always out there trying to snatch us from the hands of the Lord. Let us all be closer to our Guardian Angels and be thankful always for their constant protection and the love which they had shown us all these while.

O Holy Guardian Angels, God’s wonderful protectors, protect us from the attacks by the enemy, by those who seek our destruction. O Holy Guardian Angels, continue to love us as you have done all these while and intercede for our sake, and ask the Lord to bless us and guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.

No harm will come upon you; no disaster will draw near your home. For He will command His Angels to guard you in all your ways.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 23 : 20-23

See, I am sending an Angel before you to keep you safe on the way and bring you to the place I have made ready. Be on your guard in his presence and listen to him; do not resist him for he will not pardon your wrongdoing, for My Name is in him.

If you listen to him and do what I say, I will be the enemy to your enemies and the opponent of your opponents. My Angel will go before you and bring you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; all these I will destroy.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of all Missionaries and the Missions (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we mark the beginning of the Extraordinary Mission Month as promulgated by Pope Francis earlier last year and it is fitting that this month of October begins with the feast of the Patroness of all Missionaries and Missions, namely St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus, a great visionary and saint, and through her many excellent writings, a great Doctor of the Church and inspiration to all of us.

St. Therese of Lisieux was a Discalced Carmelite nun who was renowned for her ‘Little Way’ or the ‘Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux’, which is why she was also known as the ‘Little Flower of Jesus’. St. Therese of Lisieux faced a lot of difficulties during the early years of her life and in embracing her calling into religious life as even though she was raised in a pious and virtuous family, her parents being just recently canonised as saints as well, St. Louis Martin and St. Marie-Azelie Guerin, but she had a frail condition and health.

Nonetheless, this did not stop St. Therese of Lisieux from listening to God’s call and embracing her calling, which in a way inspired her own family to also embrace their calling, as eventually the siblings of St. Therese of Lisieux also embraced and committed themselves to religious life like St. Therese had been. She received many visions throughout her life, from the Lord and His blessed Mother Mary, both before and after she joined the religious life.

That was how she began to journal her experiences and wrote extensively about those spiritual experiences and her thoughts, which made her own incredible piety and devotion to God even more amazing. She spent a lot of time praying for priests and many of the people whose faith were weak and lukewarm, hoping that through her prayers those people would be fortified further in their own faith and devotion to God.

And despite the tough circumstances and conditions she had to bear as a member of the strict Carmelite order, and the bullying and challenges she actually experienced during her years in the service of God, St. Therese continued to devote herself to God ever more strongly through prayer and through her love for her community, and by her examples and inspiring faith, eventually many would be strengthened in their own faith and others became converts through her many works and writings.

Truly, this is the essence of what missionary work is all about, and the Lord in our Gospel passage today wants to remind us of both our obligation as Christians as well as how we should approach this responsibility we now have in being witnesses of our faith and as missionaries of the Gospels of Christ. We must not be afraid to embrace God with all of our strength and love Him with all of our abilities as St. Therese of Lisieux had done.

And we should not think that it is impossible for us to devote ourselves just because we think that we are unworthy or incapable of doing what our holy predecessors had done. To be a good missionary does not need us to do great and wonderful deeds, or to perform miracles and doing seemingly superhuman feats. We tend to think too much, worry too much and have too many things in our minds and in the end, our fears, worries and uncertainties will become our undoing.

In today’s Gospel and also through the life and philosophy of St. Therese of Lisieux, we are all called to change our mindset and perspective of life, in how we should devote ourselves to the Lord. We are called to reflect on what it means for us to welcome the Lord like that of little children and how to love Him like those children had loved Him. A children’s love and faith are pure, and they are pure because they have not yet been corrupted by worldly desires and thoughts.

Therefore, our love for God must also be pure and unconditional just as how He Himself has loved us first. God has not reserved or held back His love towards us at all, and He gave us everything through Christ, His Son, Who suffered grievously and died on the Cross for the sake of our salvation. And as St. Therese of Lisieux famously put in her ‘Little Way’ as I mentioned earlier, that is for us to be faithful to God, it does not need us to be great or to do superhuman feats.

Rather, what we need to do, according to St. Therese of Lisieux, is to become small and humble, recognising our faults and shortcomings that we may empty ourselves of ego, pride and desires so that we may truly be able to love God and give ourselves to Him wholeheartedly, and doing this in a manner that we take a small, little step one at a time, and not a giant leap. Ultimately, all those small little steps will add up together and become a great progress for us in our journey of faith.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called today to be missionaries of our faith, to become the witnesses of Christ, in every little and small things we do in our lives, in everything that we say and we do, in all of our interactions with our fellow brethren, that we should commit ourselves to the path of righteousness and do only what pleases God from now on. Let us all be inspirations for one another and encourage one another to live more faithfully from now on.

May the Lord continue to bless us all and guide us in our journey of faith, and may He empower us all to live more courageously in His presence. May God be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.