Friday, 2 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, which refers to those Angels whom God had set before us, to be our guide and protector, to be at the frontline of our constant struggle and the war that rages on all the time for our souls. For it is at this moment right now and has been going on all these while, that the conflict between the devil and all those seeking our downfall and destruction occurs against our guardians, those faithful Angels God set before us.

In our Gospel today, we heard the Lord Himself affirming this, as He warned His disciples against misleading the little children in their faith or in harming them, as their Angels in heaven, referring to the Guardian Angels, are constantly seeing His heavenly Father, making pleas on their behalf and interceding for them. Thus, those who cause them to fall into sin, lead them down the wrong path or suffer will all face terrible reckoning for their sinful deeds.

God has always provided for us and protected us, and He sent His Angels before His loved ones, just as our first reading today again affirmed this, as in the Book of Exodus, as the Israelites were making the long and arduous journey through the desert towards the land promised to them by the Lord, the Lord sent His Angels to guard and protect them from their enemies, all those who sought to destroy them.

This is a guarantee that showed God’s enduring love and patience for His people, which was unfortunately often disregarded by those same people that God had cared and loved, and many among them fell not because of the attacks by the enemy, but because of their own stubborn disobedience and refusal to believe in God despite everything that He had done for them.

It is actually a clear reminder for us, that just as the Israelites journeyed through for many years, fell again and again into sin, forgiven and cared for by God, so we have also walked through a similar journey that is our life. And just as God rescued the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt and established a Covenant with them, thus, God has also liberated us from the slavery of sin, and led us through the waters of baptism just as the Israelites passed through the Red Sea. And God, through Christ, established a new Covenant with each and every one of us.

That is why, we must keep in mind that our Christian life and journey does not end at baptism, but instead, was just beginning at our baptism. While baptism makes us God’s own beloved people, and promise us salvation and eternal life, but we can still fall if we are not vigilant against the attacks of the evil one and all of his forces. All the more the devil will increase his attacks on us to prevent us from attaining eternal life and Heaven.

We have to trust in the Lord and follow the path that our Guardian Angels had charted before us. They have always been there for us, praying for us constantly, without cease, but we are often distracted by the many ‘noises’ in this world, all that the devil has been using in trying to lead us astray, whenever we give in to the temptation of worldly desires and power, fame and glory, and others.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, in a world ever surrounded by darkness, by fears and uncertainties, with attacks and temptations from the forces of evil, we can be overcome by those fears and swallowed by our pride and the greed within us. But we should not be afraid, brethren! Be faithful and fear no more for the Lord and His might is with us, and His Angels are always by our side, guarding us and protecting us in our journey.

Let us pray now, asking for the help of our Guardian Angels, who are always with us, with the words, “Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.”

Friday, 2 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Matthew 18 : 1-5, 10

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then Jesus called a little child, set the child in the midst of the disciples, and said, “I assure you, that, unless you change, and become like little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble, like this child, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, and whoever receives such a child, in My Name, receives Me.”

“See that you do not despise any of these little ones; for I tell you, their Angels in heaven continually see the face of My heavenly Father.”

Friday, 2 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 90 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11

You, who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who rest in the shadow of the Almighty, say to YHVH, “My Stronghold, my Refuge, my God in Whom I trust!”

He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and give you refuge under His wings.

You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrows that fly by day, nor the pestilence that stalks by night, and the plague that destroys at noonday.

No harm will come upon you; no disaster will draw near your home. For He will command His Angels to guard you in all your ways.

Friday, 2 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Exodus 23 : 20-23

See, I am sending an Angel before you to keep you safe on the way and bring you to the place I have made ready. Be on your guard in his presence and listen to him; do not resist him for he will not pardon your wrongdoing, for My Name is in him.

If you listen to him and do what I say, I will be the enemy to your enemies and the opponent of your opponents. My Angel will go before you and bring you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; all these I will destroy.

Thursday, 1 October 2020 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Therese of Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church, Patroness of all Missionaries and the Missions (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard the promises of God’s salvation which He made to His servant Isaiah, in our first reading passage today, with the comforting words that God will once again cherish and bless His people, which by the time of Isaiah had faced much difficulty and many trials, and how God will bless them all and make them whole again.

And the fulfilment of these prophecies had been made through Christ, the Saviour of the world, of whom Isaiah spoke extensively about. And God has called on all of us to come to Him and to gather in His presence and receive from Him grace and peace forever. But unfortunately, many of us rejected Him, ignored His call and turned a deaf ear to His pleas to seek our reconciliation with Him.

That is why, in our Gospel today, we heard the Lord gathering little children to Himself and told all of His disciples that unless they were to be like those little children in their faith and in their lives, they would have no place in the kingdom of Heaven. And this came right after the disciples were arguing and debating among themselves on who was the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven and amongst Christ’s disciples and followers.

The Lord therefore reminds them all that to be His followers we must be humble, make ourselves small and insignificant, for it was our hubris and ego that had led us to our downfall. It was our desire for power, influence, worldly glory, fame, wealth that led us to a path of disobedience and wickedness, and thus these made us to commit sin against God.

And it is not easy for us to be faithful as the Lord had called us to be, to be like little children in our faith, whose faith are pure and without strings attached to worldly desires and temptations. Often, we have too much in mind to be able to focus our attention on God, unlike those little children, whose attention can be wholly centred on Him, as they have not yet been affected by all sorts of worldly matters and concerns.

This is where perhaps we should look upon the examples set by our famous saint of the day, whose life and philosophy embody exactly this call for us to be ‘childlike’ in our faith. St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as St. Therese of Child Jesus and as the ‘Little Flower of Carmel’, was a Discalced Carmelite nun who has been very popular during her life and especially more so after her passing. She inspired many people by her virtuous life and was renowned for her ‘Little Way’.

St. Therese certainly did not have an easy life or vocation as a religious, as she was often sickly in her youth, although she was indeed brought up in a loving and devout family. Family tragedy struck early as her mother passed away when she was still a very young child. And St. Therese was also bullied and often suffered in school. She endured all these patiently and with faith.

When one of her elder sister joined the Carmelite nuns, St. Therese was devastated but this in itself led her to desire to join the Carmelites as well. She was often told that she was still too young and her poor health also made it difficult. St. Therese also began to experience spiritual visions which would be more frequent later in her life. It was then on the Christmas Eve of the Year of Our Lord 1886 that she experienced a complete conversion of her soul.

From that point onwards, St. Therese began a new journey of faith, overcoming her sensitivities and self desires, a victory over the desires of the flesh and body, and dedicating herself ever more to God. As she eventually entered the Carmelite monastery after several more years of trials and struggles, and throughout her later time as a postulant and novice religious sister, being devoted and dedicated to the Lord.

And the hallmark of her faith and idea is known as the ‘Little Way’ in which St. Therese put forward the view that in order for us to follow God, what we really ought to do is to be faithful to Him in all things, even in the simplest and smallest of actions. We are called to be faithful through simple and little actions in life. This is what we all need to do, in order to be faithful as Christians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from what we have just heard about St. Therese of Lisieux today, and from the reflections of the Scriptures, all of us are reminded to be faithful to God at all times, and to do this through our lives, each and every day of them. Often we have ignored these as we are too busy pursuing worldly ambitions and desires, and by temptations we faced, we have been lured away by desire to walk down the wrong path in life.

This is why we are called to be like little children in our faith, to be genuine in our faith and dedication in God, be more humble and reject all the temptations of ego, pride, ambition, greed and desire among others. This is not something easily done as we are often surrounded by all these every moment of our lives, and unless we make a concerted effort to resist those temptations we will falter and fall into sin.

And in addition to that, we often remain passive and inactive in our Christian life because we thought that we cannot do anything significant in the matter of our faith. And this is where we are wrong, as even little actions and commitments are part of that journey of faith, and all of our little actions and contributions combined together, will become a great effort indeed. That is why we really have to embrace God’s call to be witnesses of our faith and as missionaries to spread the Good News of God by our dedication and actions in life.

Let us all therefore strive to be faithful to God at all times, in every little actions we do in our lives, that by following the examples of St. Therese of Child Jesus, the Little Flower of Carmel, we may indeed become truly committed to God and no longer ensnared by the temptations in life. May God help and guide us in this journey, and bless us in our every good endeavours for His greater glory, now and always. St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us all! Amen.