Wednesday, 9 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs, and St. John Leonardi, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Luke 11 : 1-4

At that time, Jesus was praying in a certain place; and when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught His disciples.”

And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say this : Father, may Your Name be held holy, may Your kingdom come; give us, each day, the kind of bread we need, and forgive us our sins; for we also forgive all who do us wrong; and do not bring us to the test.”

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs, and St. John Leonardi, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Psalm 85 : 3-4, 5-6, 9-10

Have mercy on me, o YHVH, for I cry to You all day. Bring joy to the soul of Your servant; for You, o YHVH, I lift up my soul.

You are good and forgiving, o YHVH, caring for those who call on You. Listen, o YHVH, to my prayer, hear the voice of my pleading.

All the nations You have made will come; they will worship before You, o YHVH, and bring glory to Your Name. For You are great, and wonderful are Your deeds; You alone, are God.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs, and St. John Leonardi, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Priests)

Jonah 4 : 1-11

But Jonah was greatly displeased at this, and he was indignant. He prayed to YHVH and said, “O YHVH, is this not what I said when I was yet in my own country? This is why I fled to Tarshish. I knew that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and full of love, and You relent from imposing terrible punishment. I beseech You now, YHVH, to take my life, for now it is better for me to die than to live.”

But YHVH replied, “What right have you to be angry?” Jonah then left the city. He went to a place east of it, built himself a shelter and sat under its shade to wait and see what would happen to Nineveh. Then YHVH God provided a castor-oil plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade over his head and to ease his discomfort. Jonah was very happy about the plant.

But the next day, at dawn, God sent a worm which attacked the plant and made it wither. When the sun rose, God sent a scorching east wind; the sun blazed down upon Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. His death wish returned and he said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Then God asked Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the castor-oil plant?” Jonah answered, “I am right to be angry enough to wish to die.” YHVH said, “You are concerned about a plant which cost you no labour to make it grow. Overnight it sprang up, and overnight it perished. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish right from left and they have many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned for such a great city?”

Tuesday, 8 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God from the Scripture passages speaking to us about the matter of getting what is right in our lives, namely the right focus and the right direction in life following what the Lord our God has shown us as He guides us through this journey of life. It is often that we will be reminded of making the right choices of action and to find our way to the Lord.

Today, in our first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Jonah, we heard the mission of Jonah who was sent by God to the great city of Nineveh. Nineveh was known as the capital city of a great empire, the Assyrian Empire which for many years was the superpower in the region. Nineveh was therefore a very great city and the centrepoint of not just power, but also wealth, influence and also wickedness and corruption.

The Assyrians were known to be sinful and filled with power hungry people as they rampaged across many nations and conquered them, including that of the northern kingdom state of Israel, which they conquered and the ten tribes of the Israelites were exiled by the actions of the Assyrians. Naturally, the presentation of Nineveh in the Book of Jonah was meant to symbolise the depiction of the ultimate, great evil in the eyes of many of the faithful.

But what came to be a surprise was how the people of Nineveh reacted to what the prophet Jonah told them when he said that Nineveh would be destroyed for their sins and wickedness. They could have just dismissed what the prophet Jonah had said and went on with their lives, or they could even persecute and kill the prophet Jonah for bringing into their midst such an ill omen. Yet, they listened and believed.

Ironically this happened when the Israelites themselves refused to believe in God and in His prophets, and instead, persecuted and killed those prophets and messengers sent to them by God. It was a pagan nation and city who actually in the end believed in God’s words, sincerely and truly repentant of their sinful ways and humbling themselves before God, and that was how Nineveh was spared from destruction.

Linking this to what we have also heard in our Gospel passage today, on the encounter between the Lord Jesus and the sisters Mary and Martha, we can see that each and every one of us have been granted free will by God, with the wisdom, understanding and intelligence to make conscious choices in our respective lives on how we are going to live them so that we can find our way towards the Lord and His salvation.

Martha was very busy preparing everything, all the chores and necessary things to make the Lord’s stay comfortable and good. She certainly had a good intention in doing so, but she ended up being too preoccupied by what she had been doing and became distracted instead, forgetting that she should have remembered what the most important focus for her should have been, that is Christ Himself, as what her sister Mary did.

Mary chose the wise course of action and so did the king and the people of Nineveh. Martha had good intentions but the course of actions she chose was not right, and then for the Israelites I mentioned earlier on in contrast to the people of Nineveh, their hearts and minds were not even filled with the right intention as they had no love for God. Now, the choice is ours, brothers and sisters in Christ. Do we want to continue to walk down this path of sin and wickedness? Or do we rather walk the path shown by Christ?

On this day therefore, we are called to reflect and discern our path in life from now on. Can we choose wisely by considering the outcomes of our conscious choices in life? Can we turn away from the path of sin and disobedience against God, and follow from now on the path of redemption and reconciliation in God? Can we dedicate ourselves with a new spirit and courage to love God from now on with all of our strength?

May God continue to guide our paths and may He help us to remain focused on Him despite the many temptations and challenges we may have to face in the future. May God bless us all and our every actions and endeavours for His greater glory. Amen.