(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (Double I Classis) – Wednesday, 29 September 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio libri Apocalypsis Beati Joannis Apostoli – Lesson from the Book of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle

Apocalypse 1 : 1-5

In diebus illis : Significavit Deus, quae oportet fieri cito, mittens per Angelum Suum servo Suo Joanni, qui testimonium perhibuit verbo Dei, et testimonium Jesu Christi, quaecumque vidit. Beatus, qui legit et audit verba prophetiae hujus : et servat ea, quae in ea scripta sunt : tempus enim prope est.

Joannes septem ecclesiis, quae sunt in Asia. Gratia vobis et pax ab eo, qui est et qui erat et qui venturus est : et a septem spiritibus, qui in conspectu throni Ejus sunt : et a Jesu Christo, qui est testis fidelis, primogenitus mortuorum et princeps regum terrae, qui dilexit nos et lavit nos a peccatis nostris in sanguine Suo.

English translation

In those days, God signified the things which must shortly come to pass, sending by His angel to His servant John, who had given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things whatsoever he had seen. Blessed is he who read and heard the words of this prophecy, and kept those things which are written in it, for the time is at hand.

John to the seven churches which are in Asia, “Grace be unto you and peace from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, the first Begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth Who had loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.

(Usus Antiquior) Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel (Double I Classis) – Wednesday, 29 September 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Psalm 102 : 20, 1

Benedicite Dominum, omnes Angeli Ejus : potentes virtute, qui facitis verbum Ejus, ad audiendam vocem sermonum Ejus.

Benedic, anima mea, Domino : et omnia, quae intra me sunt, Nomini Sancto Ejus.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Bless the Lord, all you His angels, you who are mighty in strength, and execute His word, hearkening to the voice of His orders.

Bless the Lord, o my soul, and let all that is within me bless His Holy Name.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Deus, qui, miro ordine, Angelorum ministeria hominumque dispensas : concede propitius; ut, a quibus Tibi ministrantibus in caelo semper assistitur, ab his in terra vita nostra muniatur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

O God, Who had in wonderful order disposed the ministries of angels and men, mercifully grant that our lives be fortified by those who continually stand in Your presence and minister before You in heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr, and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to words of the Scriptures, we are all called to reflect on the revelation that many people from many nations, from various places would come to glorify the Lord and to praise Him. They would come to listen to Him and to welcome Him, follow Him and worship Him. All these were the revelations of what was to come through Christ and His gathering of the people from all the nations to be His disciples and to be saved through Him.

Everything was to come true as the Lord Himself had come and dwelled in our midst, gathering everyone who have faith in Him so that we may come to know of His truth and salvation. Yet, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, there were still those who refused to believe in Him and refused to welcome Him to their place. This happened due to various reasons, and in this particular case, it was because the Samaritans who stayed in that village got to know that the Lord was on His way to Jerusalem, in the land of Judea.

Back then, at the time of the ministry of the Lord, there had been longstanding animosity between the Samaritans and the Jews especially those who were in Judea and Jerusalem. The background of this animosity and conflict was not truly well-understood, but it revolved around the misunderstandings between the two groups of people, as the Jews considered the Samaritans as heathens and pagans who took over the land of the former northern kingdom of Israel in Samaria and its vicinity, in the land between Judea and Galilee. Many of the Samaritans were descendants of the remnants of the Israelites left behind in that land intermingled with others who were brought to that land to settle in.

Then, for the Samaritans, they claimed themselves to be the natives of the land, as they claimed that they had been there earlier than the Jewish people had been, and even claimed Jacob, the father of the Israelites to be their own forefather. They claimed that their worship of God at Mount Gerizim and the mountains of Ephraim was superior than the Jewish claim for worship only at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Their mixed heritage and the long distortions of history eventually led to the strive and conflict between the two peoples. This is the background with which the rejection of the Lord took place.

All these showed us the kind of attitudes that we mankind and people of God can show in the midst of us resorting to our pride and ego, and in indulging our stubborn desire for glory and power, for influence and other things and temptations that often became great stumbling blocks in our path towards God and His salvation. If only that we can trust in Him more and allow Him to lead and guide us down the right path that we may not end up in the wrong direction in life. But the question is, are we willing to listen to Him and humble ourselves before Him and others?

Today, all of us are called to reflect on our attitude in life and in how we have lived our faith thus far. Have we been truly faithful to the Lord in all the things we do and at all times throughout our lives? Or have we allowed ourselves to be lulled and swayed by our desires and greed, by our ego, pride and ambition? Today, let us all look upon the good examples set by our holy predecessors, holy martyrs who devoted themselves to the Lord faithfully and lived virtuous lives and in the end, died as martyrs in defending their faith and the integrity of their beliefs.

St. Wenceslaus of Bohemia was the renowned Duke of Bohemia whose patronage and life is still being remembered to this day, as the patron of the Czechs and many others who looked up to his virtuous examples as a Christian and as a great ruler over his people. St. Wenceslaus took over the reign over Bohemia at a time of great change and at the crossroads of the history of his people, as Christianity had just taken its roots in Bohemia back then, and many of the people including the influential ones and the nobles were still pagans.

St. Wenceslaus ruled wisely and responsibly as a just and caring ruler, managing the many challenges that he had to face, and worked hard to benefit his people and to care for them while also advancing the cause of the Lord and the Church, establishing a firm foundation of the Church and its missions throughout his dominion. However, he had a lot of opposition which festered and sought to reverse all the gains of the Christian faith, and these eventually coalesced around the brother of St. Wenceslaus, namely Boleslaus the Cruel, who orchestrated the murder of the faithful duke and servant of God.

Then, today we also commemorate the memory of the glorious Holy Martyrs of Japan in Nagasaki, St. Lawrence Ruiz and his fellow companions in martyrdom during the great and intense persecution of Christians in Japan in the early years of the Tokugawa Shogunate. St. Lawrence Ruiz, also better known as St. Lorenzo Ruiz is the first saint of the Philippines, having actually been born in the Spanish ruled Philippine islands, and led a pretty ordinary life there until one day he was falsely accused with murder. In order to protect his life and innocence, he boarded a ship bound for Japan, in which he was arrested together with the missionaries that he had taken refuge with.

St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions in martyrdom were tortured and made to suffer a lot, persuaded, coerced and forced to abandon their faith in God under grim threat of more sufferings and death. However, this did not dampen his spirit and those others who were with him. Eventually he was martyred in the most painful way, and to the very end, he remained faithful, declaring before all his persecutioners that ‘I am a Catholic and I wholeheartedly accepted death for God. Had I have a thousand lives, all these I shall gladly offer to Him.’

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the great examples showed by these faithful holy predecessors of ours should be inspiration to each and every one of us. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to the Lord just in the manner that those faithful martyrs had done? Can we be virtuous in life, caring and be responsible for one another just as St. Wenceslaus had done? And can we commit ourselves wholly to the Lord even in the face of great suffering and adversity in the manner of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and his companions in martyrdom?

Let us all therefore turn towards the Lord wholeheartedly, and strive to do our best to serve Him with ever greater vigour and devotion from now on. May the Lord be with us always and may He strengthen each and every one of us, and bless us in our every great works and endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr, and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Luke 9 : 51-56

At that time, as the time drew near when Jesus would be taken up to heaven, He made up His mind to go to Jerusalem. He sent ahead of Him some messengers, who entered a Samaritan village to prepare a lodging for Him. But the people would not receive Him, because He was on His way to Jerusalem.

Seeing this, James and John, His disciples, said, “Lord, do You want us to call down fire from heaven to reduce them to ashes?” Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr, and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Psalm 86 : 1-3, 4-5, 6-7

He Himself has built in in His holy mountain; YHVH prefers the gates of Zion to all of Jacob’s towns. Great things have been foretold of you, o City of God.

Between friends, we speak of Egypt and Babylon; and also Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia : “Here so-and-so was born.” But of Zion, it shall be said, “More and more are being born in her.” For the Most High Himself has founded her.

And YHVH notes in the people’s register : “All these were also born in Zion.” And all will dance and sing joyfully for You.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Wenceslaus, Martyr, and St. Lawrence Ruiz and Companions, Martyrs (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Zechariah 8 : 20-23

YHVH, the God of hosts speaks, “Peoples will come from other nations, people from great cities. The inhabitants of one town will talk with those of another, and, say : ‘Come, let us go and implore the favour of YHVH, and I, too, will seek YHVH.’ Many great peoples and powerful nations will come, seeking YHVH, God of hosts, in Jerusalem and pray to Him.”

YHVH, the God of hosts assures you. “In those days, ten men of different languages spoken in various lands, will take hold of a Jew by the hem of his garment and say : We, too, want to go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”

Monday, 27 September 2021 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all called to follow the Lord and to obey His will, to put our trust in Him and not to be vain in our desire to recognised and honoured, and rather, we should seek the greater glory of God in all things. We should seek to be humble and strive to resist the temptations to satisfy our own ego and personal ambitions so that we may truly be faithful disciples and followers of the Lord.

In our first reading today taken from the Book of the prophet Zechariah, we have heard the words of the Lord to His people telling them and reassuring them that they were His people and He would be with them, blessing them and protecting them, as He would dwell once again in their midst in Jerusalem, the place where the Temple and House of God was. At that time, during the years following the return from the Babylonian exile, many of the Israelites were still scattered all around and Jerusalem was not yet fully rebuilt.

The Israelites had earlier on been humiliated and crushed, as their nations of both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were destroyed by the Assyrians and the Babylonians respectively. Most of the people of Israel were conquered and brought into exile in far-off land away from their ancestral lands, and their cities destroyed, while the Holy Temple of God in Jerusalem was also utterly destroyed and ruined.

However, God never abandoned and forgot about His people, and they were always foremost in His mind. This was also the case despite their wayward behaviour and actions, and God still wanted to forgive them for their sins and desired to see them turn away from those sins and wickedness that they have committed earlier on. As He brought them back to the land of their ancestors through the emancipation of King Cyrus of Persia, He wanted to remind them once again that they were His people and that He would always be with them.

As He said through the prophet Zechariah, He would gather the scattered people from all over the world and from all the nations, to gather them back once again into His presence. God would gather His people and bless them again in His presence, all reunited as one flock, and this is what He has promised to them. He even sent them His own Son to be born into the world as their Saviour. He gave them all His promised inheritance through Christ, Who opened for us all the path to eternal life and true glory with Him.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called through Christ to embrace God and to do His will wholeheartedly in our lives, as we heed His words in our Gospel passage today, that all those who welcomes the Lord faithfully and sincerely, and opens themselves to the Lord shall be great in His kingdom and shall be the first to be saved. All of us are called to partake in the efforts and great works to glorify the Lord through all that we do and through our contributions.

Today, all of us ought to reflect on the good examples of St. Vincent de Paul, whose feast we are celebrating today. We are all called to emulate the great life of this great saint, whose dedication to the Lord and actions were truly exemplary in helping so many people to find their way to the Lord, either by his direct actions or through the efforts whom he had gathered and inspired to follow in his footsteps. St. Vincent de Paul was very widely remembered for his role in founding the Congregation of the Mission also known after their founder as the Vincentians, as well as the inspiration in the establishment of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul after his passing, all inspired by his generosity and humility.

St. Vincent de Paul himself had a very eventful early life during his youth, as he was ordained a priest in his early years after being educated in a seminary, only to be taken captive by Barbary pirates and enslaved. He suffered in slavery for two years passing from master to master, before finally coming to the possession of one Guillaume Gautier, a former priest who had been enslaved himself and apostatised in order to be freed from slavery. Through the acts of one of Gautier’s wives, who was intrigued by St. Vincent’s Christian faith, eventually that led to St. Vincent de Paul returning to Christendom together with his former master.

St. Vincent de Paul thereafter continued his ministry and later on founded congregations and societies of Apostolic life inspired by his previous experiences including that of his capture and enslavement. He ministered to the poor, the captives and slaves, the weak and those who were oppressed and marginalised. Through the aforementioned Congregation of the Mission, the Vincentians, St. Vincent de Paul inspired many people to reach out to the least among their brethren and made many people to become aware of the plight of their fellow brethren.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how about us? Are we able to follow in the footsteps of this faithful servant of God, Whom the Lord had led and guided to become great inspiration for so many including that of ourselves? Shall we not learn to love the Lord and commit ourselves to Him just as He has been so kind and generous to us? Let us all be generous and charitable in giving just as St. Vincent de Paul had done, in giving his time, effort and attention to those who need them. We should love one another just in the same way that the Lord Himself has loved us.

Let us all reflect carefully on everything that we have discussed thus far today. May the Lord help us in discerning our path, that we may find our way amidst this world, amidst all the challenges and temptations that we may be facing daily in life. May God be with us always and may He strengthen us to be ever faithful to Him, at all times. Amen.