Friday, 11 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Friday, 11 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Psalm 9 : 2-3, 6 and 16, 8-9

The wicked are in power; the weak suffer harassment; the poor become victims of evil schemes. Exploiters boast in their power and greed; the covetous blasphemes and defies God.

All of them saying in their heart, “Nothing will trouble me. I am secure, powerful and happy.” YHVH is King forever and the pagans have vanished from His land.

They lie in ambush near the villages, murdering the innocent and the unfortunate, spying upon their next victim. The evil one lurks in secret, like a lion in its covert, waiting to seize his prey and drag him off in a net.

Friday, 11 October 2019 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. John XXIII, Pope (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Popes)

Joel 1 : 13-15 and Joel 2 : 1-2

Gird yourselves, o priests, and weep; mourn, o ministers of the altar. Come, spend the night in sackcloth, o ministers of my God! For the house of your God is deprived of grain and drink offering.

Proclaim a fast, call an assembly. Summon the elders, and all who live in the land, into the house of your God, and cry out to YHVH, “What a dreadful day – the day of YHVH, that draws near, and comes as ruin, from the Almighty!”

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sound the alarm on My holy mountain! Let all dwellers in the land tremble, for the day of YHVH is coming. Yes, the day is fast approaching – a day of gloom and darkness, a day of clouds and blackness. A vast and mighty army comes, like dawn spreading over the mountain : such as has never occurred before, nor will happen again in the future.

Thursday, 10 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 words of God through the Scriptures speaking to us about the love which God has lavished on us all because He is indeed our loving Father and Creator, despite our constant disobedience and refusal to follow His ways, our waywardness and sins that have separated us from the fullness of His love and grace.

In the book of the prophet Malachi, part of which we have heard in our first reading today, we heard of the insolent and rude comments made by the people who were angry at God and were frustrated because they have observed His laws and commandments, and yet they still suffered all sorts of injustices, pain and sufferings in the world. And this is in the context of how the Israelites living at the time of the prophet Malachi, a few hundred years before the birth of Christ, had to endure being conquered and ruled over by many powerful nations.

And throughout those years of subjugation, they certainly cannot avoid looking back at the time of the glorious kingdom of Israel in the past, especially during the days of kings David and Solomon, from a time when the Israelites still had great dignity and being respected by the other nations. Instead, they had to endure exile and destruction under the Babylonians, ruled by the Medians and the Persians, and then under the reign of the Greek kings of Alexander the Great and his successors.

But God reassured them through Malachi that He was always with them and He would guide them through those difficult and challenging moments. God would not abandon His people to the darkness and as He Himself proclaimed through Malachi, that He would write the name of those who have been faithful to Him and they would receive the fullness of His grace and promised glorious inheritance in the end.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus Himself spoke of God’s love for us like that of the love a father has for his children. He was comparing it to how even wicked and sinful people know how to take care of those whom they love and the Lord would therefore take care of His beloved ones in a far greater way and with much greater love and compassion for sure. God has always loved us all, all these while and it will never change.

Rather, it is our own stubbornness and refusal to see and admit this truth that had caused us to be separated from Him and to be blind to God’s ever generous love. We hardened our hearts and closed off our minds to God Who is always constantly trying to reach out to us and embrace us with love. We become distracted by the many temptations present in this world and as our attention became divided, we turned away from God.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to reconnect ourselves with God and understand more just how much He cares for us, and just how much He has blessed us with all these while? God still loves us even when we have walked away from Him, betrayed and abandoned Him, always hoping that we will come back to Him and seek to be forgiven from our sins. But in order to do this, we have to first be humble and let go of the ego and pride in our hearts.

Yes, the ego and pride within us are the greatest obstacles that prevent us from being able to love God unconditionally and wholeheartedly and leading us to various temptations that distract us from the true and genuine love in the relationship we ought to have with God. Today we are called to rediscover and rejuvenate that love we have for God, and be more faithful with each and every passing moments of our lives.

May the Lord continue to be our guide through life, and may He continue to bless us and love us despite the sins and wickedness we have committed. May He guide us to discover salvation and true joy that can be found in Him alone. Amen.