Thursday, 29 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day each and every one of us have been reminded to be strong and to be prepared against the attacks and assaults from the evil one and all of its wicked forces. All of us are told to be firm in our faith in God and to be ready to resist those who are going to try to harm us and bring us to our downfall.

St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus in our first reading today spoke of how through God, we are truly blessed, well-protected and taken care of. We have nothing to fear since God Himself is on our side, protecting us and leading us down the right path. And St. Paul also spoke of how we ought to wear our whole armour of God to struggle in the battle against evil.

This is because we are indeed in the middle of the constant struggle against evil for our souls. We are always struggling to resist the attempts by those who wanted to lead us to harm and downfall, tempting us with false promises and coercion, hoping that we will end up abandoning our faith and fall into sin.

In our Gospel today, we heard of the Lord and how He lamented the wickedness of those who have persecuted the faithful servants of God, and those who have refused to believe in Him despite all the things He Himself has performed before them, all the miraculous healings, all the wonders and the amazing revelations and wisdom that He has shown them all.

Throughout history, many prophets and messengers had been sent to the people of God in order to remind them to be faithful to Him. Yet, the people remained in their stubbornness, refusing to listen to those reminders sent to them. This happened because the people were proud, and refused to admit that their ways could be wrong, and refused to humble themselves before God and His servants, or to seek forgiveness for their faults and shortcomings.

Their greed also led them to seek worldly pleasures and the false joys of the world at the expense of their souls. The devil and his fallen angels had an easy time to lead them down the path of ruin, tempting them with many things that distracted them from the truth, pulled them away from the path of redemption and reconciliation with God. And that is why, the Lord lamented this state of affairs, after all He had done for them.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all constantly reminded to be strong in our faith, and to renew our commitment and dedication to God. Amidst all the pressures and temptations from the devil and all of the excesses of the world he presented before all of us, we must strengthen our defences that we do not falter and slide into the path of sin.

Let us all strengthen our relationship with God, through constant prayer and spending good, quality time with Him. Let us all be genuine and zealous in living up our Christian lives and respective calling in life. As we continue to walk down this path that the Lord has shown us, let us all pray for His guidance and protection that we may persevere faithfully through whatever challenges and trials, difficulties and temptations that are in our paths.

May God be with us always, and may He bless us all, in our everyday lives and actions, that we may ever be more and more attuned to Him and His will, and we may draw ever closer to the fullness of His love and grace. Amen.

Thursday, 29 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 31-35

At that time, some Pharisees came to Jesus and gave Him this warning, “Leave this place and go on Your way, for Herod wants to kill You.”

Jesus said to them, “Go and give that fox My answer : ‘I drive out demons, and I heal today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish My course!’ Nevertheless, I must go on My way today, and tomorrow, and for a little longer; for it would not be fitting for a Prophet to be killed outside Jerusalem.”

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you slay the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I tried to bring together your children, as a bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused! From now on, you will be left with your Temple, and you will no longer see Me, until the time when you will say, ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord.'”

Thursday, 29 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 143 : 1, 2, 9-10

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.

My loving God, my Fortress; my Protector and Deliverer, my Shield where I take refuge, Who conquers nations and subjects them to my rule.

I will sing a new song to You, o God, I will make music on the ten-stringed harp, for You Who give victory to kings and deliver David, Your servant.

Thursday, 29 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ephesians 6 : 10-20

Finally, be strong in the Lord with His energy and strength. Put on the whole armour of God to be able to resist the cunning of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the rulers and authorities and their dark powers that govern this world. We are struggling against the spirits and supernatural forces of evil.

Therefore put on the whole armour of God, that in the evil day, you may resist and stand your ground, making use of all your weapons. Take truth as your belt, justice as your breastplate, and zeal as your shoes to propagate the Gospel of peace. Always hold in your hand the shield of faith to repel the flaming arrows of the devil. Finally, use the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God.

Pray at all times as the Spirit inspires you. Keep watch, together with sustained prayer and supplication for all the holy ones. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, I may be given words to proclaim bravely the mystery of the Gospel. Even when in chains I am an ambassador of God; may He give me the strength to speak as I should.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020 : Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, Apostles (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the great Feast of the Apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, two of the Twelve Apostles, namely St. Simon and St. Jude. St. Simon was also known as Simon the Zealot, likely referring to his past as a member of the Zealots, the extremists who fought against the Romans at the time of Jesus. Meanwhile, St. Jude refers to St. Jude Thaddeus, who was sometimes connected with Jude, of the extended family of the Lord.

Both of these Apostles had been with the other Apostles of the Lord, faithfully following the Lord and serving Him throughout His ministry. St. Simon abandoned his previous life as a freedom fighter and member of a extremist group seeking to bring about the freedom of the Israelites through force from their Roman overlords. St. Jude Thaddeus was known in some Church traditions as one of the relatives or brothers of Jesus, probably from St. Joseph’s earlier family, and he was also the probable author of the Epistle of St. Jude.

Both of them would go on to serve the Lord and reach out to the peoples of various nations, answering to the call of the Lord to evangelise to the nations. St. Simon the Apostle went to many places, often together with St. Jude the Apostle, which is why both of them are celebrated together today, for their missionary zeal and commitment to God to the very end. St. Simon visited places like Persia and Armenia, Egypt and Ethiopia, and according to some traditions even went as far as Britain.

Meanwhile, according to tradition, St. Jude the Apostle evangelised throughout Judea and Samaria, and with St. Simon the Apostle, evangelised in Persia, Armenia and other places, and eventually, they were martyred in the region now known as Lebanon, many decades after they began their missions for the Lord. Both of them had committed themselves to the Lord and converted many, establishing firm foundations of the Church in many places, and gave everything to the Lord, even their lives, for His sake.

We can see how as we rejoice in the memory of these two glorious Apostles of the Lord, that the Lord has showed His love so wonderfully towards us by giving us His love and salvation through all those whom He had called and chosen to be the bearers of His Good News. He has established His Church to gather all of those who believe in Him, and called all of us to come to Him, by His servants, the Apostles who have built the foundations of the Church, and their successors, the bishops and priests who passed on this faith to us.

However, we also have to recognise that just as we have been gathered together in the Church, brought into the salvation in God, we have the duty and responsibility to continue the good works of the Apostles and their successors, for just as they had dedicated themselves to God and passed on their faith to all those to whom they had ministered, we too have the same responsibility to be faithful witnesses of our Christian faith and proclaim the Lord’s Good News to all.

How do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is is not by shouting out the word of God or preaching before the masses of people unlike what many of us may think of. That is one form of evangelisation, indeed, but the even more powerful form of evangelisation comes about if we live out our faith with sincerity and do what we truly believe in. If we do not act and do things in the manner that we have professed our faith, then our faith is no better than empty and meaningless.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to follow the Lord in our lives and actions, to live virtuously as faithful and dedicated Christians, to be faithful in even the little things we do, so that all those who see us and come in touch with us, may see our faith in the Lord and come to believe in Him as well. The Apostles and the disciples of the Lord had also practiced their faith and dedicated themselves with love, caring for one another and showing genuine Christian love, and through their martyrdom, showed their undying love for God.

It was by all these dedications that they had called so many others to the faith, many of those who also became courageous and faithful evangelisers themselves. Many of them suffered for remaining faithful as well, and many died as martyrs in the various places, glorifying God by their faith even to the very end. All of us should be inspired by their actions and their faith, their good examples and dedication to the Lord, that we ourselves take up our crosses and commit ourselves to be good Christians at all times.

The Lord has called us all to follow in His footsteps to do what His Apostles had done, and to look upon St. Simon and St. Jude in particular for their hard work and devotion. Are we able to follow them faithfully and dedicate ourselves in the same way as they have done? Let us do whatever we can and commit ourselves to God with a renewed zeal and commitment from now on. May the Lord be with us and may He bless us all and guide us in our journey of faith, now and always. St. Simon and St. Jude Thaddeus, Holy Apostles of the Lord, pray for us all! Amen.