Wednesday, 27 November 2019 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Daniel 5 : 1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for his nobles; a thousand of them attended; and he drank wine with them. Under the influence of wine, he ordered that the gold and silver vessels his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple in Jerusalem be brought in, so that he and his nobles, his wives and concubines might drink from them.

The gold and silver vessels taken from God’s Temple were brought in; and the king and his nobles, his wives and concubines drank from them. While they drank wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze and iron, of wood and stone. Suddenly a man’s fingers appeared opposite the lamp stand and wrote on the plastered wall of the king’s palace.

Watching the hand as it wrote, the king turned pale. So terrified was he that his knees knocked and his legs gave way. Daniel was brought in and questioned by the king, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father brought from Judah? I have heard that you have the spirit of the gods, that you have insight and extraordinary wisdom. I have heard that you can interpret dreams and solve problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple, wear a gold chain around your neck, and be appointed third in rank in my kingdom.”

Daniel replied, “You may keep your gifts or give them to someone else. Just the same, I will read and interpret the writing for you. You have defied the Lord of heaven. You had the vessels from His Temple brought to you, and, together with your nobles, your wives and concubines, you drank wine from them. You praised the idols made of silver and gold, of bronze, iron and stones, which neither see, nor hear, nor understand; but you never glorified God Who has power over your life and all your fortunes.”

“So He sent the hand that wrote the inscription which read MENE, TEKEL, PHARSIN. And these words mean : MENE, God has numbered the days of your reign and put an end to it; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PHARSIN, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.”

Official Theme Song – Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis to Japan – ‘Protect All Life’

His Holiness, Pope Francis, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome is now currently visiting Japan as part of his trip to Asia. This visit to Japan is a great boost to Japan’s approximately 500,000 Catholics. The Pope will be visiting the Martyrs’ Shrine in Nagasaki as well as the Atomic Bomb memorials in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and meeting the newly enthroned Emperor Naruhito of Japan in the Tokyo Imperial Palace and celebrating the Mass in Tokyo Cathedral and Tokyo Dome.

The Catholic Church in Japan has collaborated to produce this wonderful song titled ‘Protect All Life’ as the main theme song for this Apostolic Visit, the second time the Pope visits Japan after Pope St. John Paul II’s visit in 1981.

This song is a reminder that all life are precious and sacred, especially in the context of the massive loss of life during the Pacific War and the horrors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Let us all keep all life as precious and always strive to love one another, bring peace and harmony to this world.

The above images are the romaji transliteration of the official lyrics of the song ‘Protect All Life’. All English translations are by the official Pope Visit to Japan team. No copyright infringement intended.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard from the Scripture readings a rather apocalyptic warning of what is to come in the future, as towards the end of this current liturgical year we are constantly reminded of the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King which is certain to come at the end of time just as He has promised to us all. That is why today’s readings are focused on signs of times and premonitions to remind us of this fact.

In our first reading today, we heard of the story of how Daniel the prophet interpreted the dream of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, who was perturbed by the strange dream that he had received in his sleep. The king saw a great statue made up of many parts and then suddenly a great rock came to destroy the entire great statue and demolished the whole statue until nothing was left behind.

As Daniel explained it to the king, the great statue represented the great realms and kingdoms of the world, including that of the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors. They would come one after another, as the Persian Empire, Alexander’s Empire and its successors, and the Roman Empire would show us over the thousand years and more after the time when Daniel explained the dream to the king.

But what is constant is the fact that each of those great and powerful realms of the world did not last, but eventually were overthrown and destroyed, replaced and overcame, but the reign of God in truth cannot be overcome. And it is what was represented by the great big rock that came to destroy all of the great statue, that actually represents the kingdom of God in this world that is none other than His very own Church.

Do we all remember that the Church was established by the Lord on the foundation of Rock, the Rock of St. Peter? The Lord Himself bestowed a new name to Simon, His principal and leader of all the Apostles, the name Peter which is the Greek equivalent of the original Aramaic, ‘Kephas’ which is truly symbolic and related to what we have just heard in the story of king Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, of the great Rock of the Church that overcomes all the kingdoms and powers of the world.

This is related to what the Lord Jesus has told His disciples in our Gospel passage today, as we all heard of the warning which the Lord Jesus spoke of, as He spoke of the coming of difficult and challenging times, of the time when the Temple and city of Jerusalem would be destroyed and overturned, a premonition of what was to come just about four decades after when the city of Jerusalem and its Temple were destroyed after the failed insurrection of the Jews.

He also spoke of the coming of difficult times, of persecutions and troubles that the Church and the faithful would have to endure plenty of sufferings and pains, oppositions and obstacles even from those who were close and dear to them. They would have to bear and persevere through those times, facing false guides and leaders who would try to lead them astray to the wrong paths, amidst the pressures of the world to conform to the ways of sins among many others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, yet despite all these trials and challenges that the faithful would have to face and endure, but as we have just discussed earlier, linking to what we have talked about the vision of king Nebuchadnezzar and the prophet Daniel’s explanations, we can see how the Church of God has been built and affirmed by God Himself on firm and strong foundation in Him and in the faith of the Apostles.

Therefore, we should not worry or be afraid, for none of those challenges will ever be great or difficult enough to overcome the Church. The Church has persevered through many trials and persecutions and it will certainly be able to bear through many more in the years to come. We must not lose faith but instead be ever hopeful and put our trust in the Lord at all times. For God will surely always be with us and He will continue to love us all the time.

Let us all put our complete faith and trust in God, devoting ourselves at all times in the service of God and loving Him with all of our hearts from now on. Let us all dedicate ourselves to the greater glory of God by our words, actions and deeds at all times. May God bless us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 21 : 5-11

At that time, while some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down.” And they asked Him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

Jesus said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am He; the time is near at hand!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, do not be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.”

And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen.”

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Daniel 3 : 57, 58, 59, 60, 61

All the works of the Lord, bless Him, praise Him, exalt Him forever.

Angels of the Lord, bless Him, praise and glorify Him forever.

Heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

All the waters above the heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

All the powers of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Daniel 2 : 31-45

Daniel said to king Nebuchadnezzar, “In your vision you saw a statue – very large, very bright; terrible to look at. Its head was of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. As you watched, a rock cut from a mountain, but not by human hands, struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay; smashing them.”

“All at once the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold crumbled into pieces, as fine as chaff on the threshing floor in summer. The wind swept them off and not a trace was left. But the rock that struck the statue became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.”

“That was the dream. Now the interpretation. You, o king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given dominion, strength, power and glory, and into whose hand He has placed humankind, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, making you ruler over them. You are that head of gold.”

“After you, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise. Then a third kingdom, of bronze, will rule the whole world. Last shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; and just as iron breaks and crushes everything else, so will it break and smash all the others.”

“The partly-clay and partly-iron feet and toes mean that it will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of the iron, just as you saw iron mixed with clay. And as the toes were partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. Just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, the people will be a mixture but will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”

“In the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, never to be destroyed or delivered up to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and put an end to them; and it will endure forever. This is the meaning of your vision of a rock cut from a mountain not by human hands; the rock, which struck the statue and broke into pieces the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold. The great God has shown the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation reliable.”