Friday, 11 September 2020 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listen to the readings of the Scripture, each and every one of us are called to deeply examine our conscience and our way of life. We are all called to reconsider our way of living and think whether we have been truly acting as Christians in our every actions and interactions, in everything we say and do.

In our first reading today, we heard St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth, in which he urged them all to serve the Lord and not to serve their own desires and wishes for power and worldly glory. He told them of his own examples and that of the other disciples and missionaries of God, who laboured for the sake of the truth and the Gospels of the Lord, to tell all peoples of God’s salvation, and not for their own glory.

He put it plainly before all of them, how he had to do things that he did not desire, and yet he still faithfully did all that were asked of him, showing how being faithful Christians often require sacrifice and commitment of time, effort and other things from us. And he also said how he became like slave to all of the people, so that through his actions, he might bring more and more to the salvation in God.

This is because if he allowed himself to be swayed by worldly temptations and desires, he would not have been able to do his missions. If St. Paul had thought of himself, his needs and desires first, then he could not have devoted so much time to the people, and he might not have wanted to endure such suffering and pain as he had endured, and as a result, many would not have heard the words of God’s truth from St. Paul’s mouth otherwise.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is also what the Lord Jesus Himself alluded to in our Gospel passage today as He spoke of the parable of the wooden speck in another person’s eye. What the Lord wanted us to understand by this passage and parable is that before we are quick and judge another person, we should first look at ourselves and realise just how each and every one of us are sinners all the same.

If we do not understand first of all this important fact, then how can we help and guide others to the right path if we are ourselves also corrupted by sin? That is why the Lord often rebuked many among the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who have often looked down on those whom they deemed less worthy and less pious than themselves. And those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law liked to criticise others for their shortcoming in faith, yet were blinded towards their own shortcomings.

That is why, when the Lord Jesus spoke of the specks in the eyes of another, using that parable, He wanted to tell all of us not to be judgmental to one another, with the wrong intention of criticism and make ourselves feel good and look better, like what the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law did. He wants us to be humble and to recognise our own imperfections and sins, rather than focusing on the shortcomings of others and thinking that we are better or superior in any way we often compared ourselves with each other.

The more we open ourselves to pride and ego, to hubris and ambition, to desires for glory and satisfaction, for fame and other things we often desire in life, the more we allow Satan and his evil forces to enter into our bodies, into our hearts and minds, and the more distant from God we will end up becoming. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to avoid this, and we also have to overcome our sins and the temptations to sin, and we cannot do this alone, all by ourselves. We need God’s help, His guidance and strength.

And in addition, we also need to learn to divest ourselves and empty ourselves from all sorts of these worldly attachments and obsessions. This is what we are challenged to do, and we have that responsibility to look after and take cafe of those who are around us, those within our communities and the Church.

Let us all be good role models in faith from now on, to be good guides for one another in faith. And let us all pray that God will continue to guide us and strengthen us in faith, and help us to remain humble and committed to Him, resisting the many temptations to sin. Amen.

Friday, 11 September 2020 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 39-42

At that time, Jesus offered this example, “Can a blind person lead another blind person? Surely both will fall into a ditch. A disciple is not above the master; but when fully trained, he will be like the master. So why do you pay attention to the speck in your brother’s eye, while you have a log in your eye, and are not conscious of it?”

“How can you say to your neighbour, ‘Friend, let me take this speck out of your eye,’ when you cannot remove the log in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the log from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your neighbour’s eye.”

Friday, 11 September 2020 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 83 : 3, 4, 5-6, 12

My soul yearns; pines, for the courts of YHVH. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest where she may lay her young, at Your altars, o YHVH of hosts, my King and my God!

Happy are those who live in Your house, continually singing Your praise! Happy, the pilgrims whom You strengthen, to make the ascent to You.

For YHVH God is a sun and a shield; He bestows favour and glory. YHVH withholds no good thing from those who walk in uprightness.

Friday, 11 September 2020 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 9 : 16-19, 22b-27

Because I cannot boast of announcing the Gospel : I am bound to do it. Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel! If I preached voluntarily, I could expect my reward, but I have been trusted with this office, against my will. How can I, then, deserve my reward? In announcing the Gospel, I will do it freely, without making use of the rights given to me by the Gospel.

So, feeling free with everybody, I have become everybody’s slave, in order to gain a greater number. So, I made myself all things to all people, in order to save, by all possible means, some of them. This, I do, for the Gospel, so that I, too, have a share of it.

Have you not learnt anything from the stadium? Many run, but only one gets the prize. Run, therefore, intending to win it, as athletes, who impose upon themselves a rigorous discipline. Yet, for them the wreath is of laurels which wither, while for us, it does not wither.

So, then, I run, knowing where I go. I box, but not aimlessly in the air. I punish my body and control it, lest, after preaching to others, I myself should be rejected.