Friday, 8 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 15 : 14-21

As for me, brothers and sisters, I am convinced, that you have goodwill, knowledge, and the capacity to advise each other; nevertheless, I have written boldly in some parts of this letter, to remind you of what you already know. I do this, according to the grace God has given to me, when I was sent to the pagan nations. I dedicated myself to the service of the Good News of God, as a minister of Christ Jesus, in order to present the non-Jews to God, as an agreeable offering, consecrated by the Holy Spirit. This service of God is, for me, a cause of pride, in Christ Jesus.

Of course, I would not dare to speak of other things, but what Christ, Himself, has done, through me, my words and my works, with miracles and signs, by the power of the Holy Spirit – so, that, non-Jews may obey the faith. In this way, I have extended the Good News to all parts, from Jerusalem to Illyricum.

I have been very careful, however, and I am proud of this, not to preach in places where Christ is already known, and not to build upon foundations laid by others. Let it be as Scripture says : Those not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.

Thursday, 7 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scriptures we are called to reflect on how God has loved each and every one of us so much that every single one of us are precious before Him and He does not want us to be lost to the darkness. Sin has caused us to be separated from Him and has created the chasm and separation between us and God’s fullness of grace and love.

Fortunately, God’s love for us is even more powerful and greater than all of that. That is proven because even though we have committed many acts of sin throughout our lives, He never ceased to reach out to us and calling us to be repentant and to turn away from those sins. He wants us to be cleansed from those sins and therefore become worthy of the fullness of God’s grace and inheritance. He is always on the lookout for us, being concerned for our souls.

This is what we have heard in our Gospel passage today, when the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples about the matter of God seeking His people as being compared to that of a shepherd who is looking for his one lost sheep, or likened to a person looking for a lost coin. In those cases, the shepherd and the person looking for the lost coin would have done all they could to find the one thing they loved and desired the most.

And this ought to be compared with and seen in the light of how God loves us all very dearly and how each and every one of us are precious to Him. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were making vicious and wicked comments on the Lord and His actions when He reached out to those whom the community in general considered as sinners and as people who were unworthy of God. These were the tax collectors and prostitutes, as well as people who were crippled and inflicted with diseases.

The Pharisees were in particular critical of all those people, seeing them as sinners unworthy of God’s help and grace. But in the process they have overlooked the very fact that they themselves were sinners who were equally unworthy and whom the Lord in fact also sought. The Lord came into this world to reconcile all of His people with Him, and even that included all those who had persecuted, hated and ridiculed Him.

That was what St. Paul spoke about in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Rome, in our first reading today, as he reminded all the faithful of how God has extended His loving mercy, compassion and forgiveness to us, in seeking us the lost sheep of His. He came into this world and willingly took up His Cross, and bearing in our stead and for our sake, the mighty and the many burdens of our sins, He died for us that we may live.

The Lord loves us that much that He was willing to endure all of the sufferings of our sake. It was His love, the love of the true and Good Shepherd that allowed Him to go through all of that. Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, what then has been our response to God’s love? Have we embraced His love, mercy and forgiveness with the same kind of love and faith? Or have we instead spurned His love and rejected Him?

If we harden our hearts like that of the Pharisees, being so full of themselves and filled with pride and selfish thoughts, then there is going to be hardly any space in our hearts to allow God to enter into our hearts and transform us. Instead, we should humble ourselves and not judge each other by our sins, for ultimately we are all sinners before God. And rather than judging and being condescending to others or comparing our sins and worthiness, we should instead focus on helping one another to live virtuously and righteously in accordance with God’s will.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all spend some time to discern how we will proceed in life from now on, knowing what we need to do in order to be truly righteous and to seek God in all things we do, reaching out to Him Who has always been ready to welcome us back and to be reconciled with us. Let us all do our best therefore to follow God and be obedient to His will from now on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 7 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.”

“What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the Angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

Thursday, 7 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

YHVH is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? YHVH is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of YHVH, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His Sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of YHVH in the land of the living. Trust in YHVH, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in YHVH!

Thursday, 7 November 2019 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 14 : 7-12

In fact, none of us lives for himself, nor dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Either in life or in death, we belong to the Lord; It was for this purpose that Christ both died and came to life again, to be Lord, both of the living and of the dead.

Then you, why do you criticise your brother or sister? And you, why do you despise them? For we will all appear at the tribunal of God. It is written : I swear by Myself – Word of the Lord – every knee will bend before Me, and every tongue shall give glory to God. So each of us will account for himself before God.