Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures we are all called to remember the salvation that God has revealed to us and which He has also fulfilled through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus has brought the salvation to our midst by coming into this world and as we all know, He took upon Himself all of our sins and iniquities, bearing our heavy burdens on His Cross, and therefore, suffered and died for our sake on the across for the salvation of the whole world.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Isaiah, we heard the words of the Lord spoken through Isaiah, detailing on a prophecy of the coming Messiah or Saviour from God. This prophecy of the Messiah, detailing about a Servant of God Who would be made to suffer for the sake of all the people must have sounded strange to the people, considering that at that time and afterwards, the people hoped and thought that the Messiah would be a great and mighty conquering King from the line and house of David who would unite the descendants of the Israelites.

Common understanding at that time was that the Messiah that God would send to His people would restore the greatness of the old united Kingdom of David and Solomon, when Israel was preeminent, mighty and powerful among the nations. At the time of the ministry and work of Isaiah, it was during the downfall of the northern kingdom of Israel while the southern kingdom of Judah also faced great troubles with the Assyrians almost conquering and besieging the city of Jerusalem itself, under King Sennacherib, and only God’s intervention stopped it from happening.

Thus, it was not surprising that as the people of God encountered calamities and humiliations one after another, and forced into exile in many parts of the world, so they hoped that the Lord would deliver them and return their inheritance and glory to them, through the Messiah that He has promised to them through His prophets. Isaiah in particular spoke a lot regarding the prophesied Messiah, and some of what he had revealed in his prophecy spoke of a suffering Messiah, Who would be crushed, broken and suffering for the sake of all of God’s people.

And Jesus was the One Who fulfilled all these prophecies, as He came into this world bringing God’s healing and salvation, healing the sick and casting out demons, making the blind to see once again, the deaf and mute to be able to hear and speak once again, and even raised the dead back to life. The Lord Jesus Himself proclaimed that His coming fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, and He would then predict His own end, how He would be rejected and condemned to die, made to bear the Cross and die on it in Calvary.

In our second reading today, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in explaining the role of Jesus, the Messiah or Saviour of the world to the Jewish converts to the Christian faith and also to other Jews, focused on the role that the Lord took on as the High Priest offering the sacrifice to God, on behalf of all the people of God. This is something that the Jewish people could well relate to, as they regularly took part in the sacrifices offered at the Temple for their sins to be forgiven by God, offered by the priests on behalf of the people.

However, what was unique in this one particular sacrifice, was that the High Priest Who offered it, was Himself the Offering and Sacrifice, as He offered His own Precious Body and Blood, the Lamb of God, sacrificed and slain on the Altar of the Cross, on the Altar of Calvary, that day two millennia ago, which we celebrate yearly on Good Friday. It was the moment of the revelation of God’s supreme act of love and ultimate selfless act in reaching out to us sinners, in order to offer us His most generous mercy and compassionate love.

But in doing so, Christ had to suffer a lot, enduring the burden of rejection, humiliation and the most painful sufferings that were caused by our many, innumerable sins. Yet, He bore them all patiently and faithfully, fully obedient to the will of His heavenly Father, enduring and drinking from the cup of suffering that He mentioned both in today’s Gospel passage and during the time of His great agony in the Gardens of Gethsemane just before He was about to begin the moments of His Passion and suffering.

He did all of these out of His enduring and infinite love for each and every one of us, out of the desire to be reconciled with us and not to allow us to be lost from Him, He Who is also our Good Shepherd, Who knew each and every one of us, and had done whatever He could, just as He shared the story of the Good Shepherd to His disciples, to reach out to us, His lost sheep, and to find us and gather us back into His presence, to be part of His flock in the Church of God. He showed us His love through real action and not just through words.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard how two of the Lord’s disciples came to Him and asked Him for special favours to be given to them. These two were the sons of Zebedee, the brothers St. James the Apostle also known as St. James the Greater, as well as St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. Both of them were among the closest disciples of the Lord, and together with St. Peter the Apostle, who was the leader of the disciples, were often brought by the Lord to various events only exclusive to them, such as the Transfiguration, the moment when He raised the daughter of Jairus back to life, as well as the aforementioned Agony in the Gardens of Gethsemane itself.

As such, as it was probably common and expected at that time, as it is still today, they were tempted to seek for special favours and position as the closest confidants of the Lord, to gain power, prestige and influence, among other things. This is showing us in fact, as I mentioned earlier, the prevalent attitude and understanding of the people at that time, who viewed the Messiah as the One Who would conquer the enemies of the people of God, reunite the Israelites and all the descendants of Jacob, and restore the Kingdom of Israel as it was during David and Solomon’s time.

Therefore, when St. James and St. John together came to the Lord, it was made with this context in mind, in seeking the special favours for them, that when Christ restored Israel and rule as the new King of Israel, they would become His most trusted advisors and important persona in the new realm. However, this was a misunderstanding and failure to appreciate the true nature of Christ’s mission in this world. That was why the Lord told them and the other disciples gathered that in truth, to be His followers, they had to share in His sufferings, and that they indeed would suffer, as they all later on would suffer a martyr’s death, with the sole exception of St. John the Apostle himself, who nonetheless suffered for many years in prison and exile.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, where do all these then lead us? In truth, all of these things which we have just discussed and reflected on, are reminders for all of us to remember the love which God has constantly showed to us, and every time we look upon the Cross, with His Body laid suffering and dying on it, the Crucifix, we are reminded of this act of supreme love and ultimate selflessness, in Him giving us His life, so that by all of us sharing in His death on the Cross, we may receive new life and the Resurrection through Him.

And as Christians, we must always be ready to face suffering and persecution, rejection and challenges in life just as Our Lord Himself has suffered. This is because the world, its norms and ways that had rejected the Lord and His salvation, will also reject all of us who believe in the Lord and His truth, and suffering may come our way if we remain faithful to Him. Yet, we must never be disheartened or discouraged by these. Instead, we have to be ever more steady in following the Lord, wholeheartedly and with real and genuine love for Him.

What we heard today from the Scriptures, especially from the Gospel in particular is a reminder for us that being Christians is not about ourselves or our own search for personal glory or ambition, or personal satisfaction and happiness. Rather, it is to seek the Lord and to follow Him, picking up our crosses with Him, just as He has called us, and dedicate our entire lives in loving service to Him. This is the attitude that all of us must cultivate as Christians, to be genuine in faith and action, and to give our best to the Lord.

Let us all therefore strive to follow the Lord ever more faithfully, and to be more worthy in how we live our lives from now on. Let us all embrace God’s love and most generous mercy and compassion, resisting the temptations to sin and allowing God to lead us down the right path, so that by our own exemplary lives, we may inspire many others to follow us, just as we ourselves have been inspired by the many Apostles, saints and martyrs, our holy predecessors who have led most worthy lives before us. May God bless us always, in our every efforts and good works, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 35-45

At that time, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to Him, “Master, we want You to grant us what we are going to ask of You.” And He said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit, one at Your right hand and one at Your left, when You come in Your glory.”

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink, or be baptised in the way I am baptised?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink, you will drink; and you will be baptised in the way that I am baptised; but to sit at My right or at My left is not Mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”

On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John. Jesus then called them to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations behave like tyrants, and those in authority oppress the people. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all.”

“Think of the Son of Man, Who has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Mark 10 : 42-45

At that time, Jesus then called His disciples to Him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations behave like tyrants, and those in authority oppress the people. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all.”

“Think of the Son of Man, Who has not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life to redeem many.”

Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 4 : 14-16

We have a great High Priest, Jesus, the Son of God, Who has entered heaven. Let us, then, hold fast to the faith we profess. Our High Priest is not indifferent to our weaknesses, for He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sinning.

Let us, then, with confidence approach the throne of grace; we will obtain mercy and, through His favour, help in due time.

Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 4-5, 18-19, 20 and 22

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

But the Lord’s eyes are upon those who fear Him, upon those who trust in His loving-kindness to deliver them from death and preserve them from famine.

In hope we wait for the Lord for He is our help and our shield. O Lord, let Your love rest upon us, even as our hope rests in You.

Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Twenty-Ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 53 : 10-11

Yet it was the will of YHVH to crush Him with grief. When He makes Himself an offering for sin, He will have a long life and see His descendants. Through Him the will of YHVH is done. For the anguish He suffered, He will see the light and obtain perfect knowledge. My just Servant will justify the multitude; He will bear and take away their guilt.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Job 1

Vir erat in terra Hus, nomine Job : simplex et rectus ac timens Deum : quem Satan petiit ut tentaret : et data est ei potestas a Domino in facultates et in carnem ejus : perdiditque omnem substantiam ipsius et filios : carnem quoque ejus gravi ulcere vulneravit.

English translation

There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, simple and upright, and fearing God, whom Satan besought that he might tempt him, and power was given him from the Lord over his possessions and his flesh, and he destroyed all his substance and his children, and wounded his flesh also with a grievous ulcer.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Suscipe, Domine, propitius hostias : quibus et Te placari voluisti, et nobis salutem potenti pietate restitui. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Graciously receive, o Lord, the sacrifices with which You have willed that You should be appeased and our salvation, by Your mighty love, restored. 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.

Communion

Psalm 118 : 81, 84, 86

In salutari Tuo anima mea, et in verbum Tuum speravi : quando facies de persequentibus me judicium? Iniqui persecuti sunt me, adjuva me, Domine, Deus meus.

English translation

My soul is in Your salvation, and in Your word have I hoped, when will You execute judgment on those who persecute me? The wicked have persecuted me, help me, o Lord my God.

Post-Communion Prayer

Immortalitatis alimoniam consecuti, quaesumus, Domine : ut, quod ore percepimus, pura mente sectemur. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Having obtained the nourishment of immortality, we beseech You, o Lord, that what has passed our lips we may embrace with a pure mind. 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.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 18 : 23-35

In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis parabolam hanc : Assimilatum est regnum caelorum homini regi, qui voluit rationem ponere cum servis Suis. Et cum coepisset rationem ponere, oblatus est ei unus, qui debebat ei decem milia talenta. Cum autem non haberet, unde redderet, jussit eum dominus ejus venumdari et uxorem ejus et filios et omnia, quae habebat, et reddi.

Procidens autem servus ille, orabat eum, dicens : Patientiam habe in me, et omnia reddam tibi. Misertus autem dominus servi illius, dimisit eum et debitum dimisit ei. Egressus autem servus ille, invenit unum de conservis suis, qui debebat ei centum denarios : et tenens suffocabat eum, dicens : Redde, quod debes.

Et procidens conservus ejus, rogabat eum, dicens : Patientiam habe in me, et omnia reddam tibi. Ille autem noluit : sed abiit, et misit eum in carcerem, donec redderet debitum.

Videntes autem conservi ejus, quae fiebant, contristati sunt valde : et venerunt et narraverunt domino suo omnia, quae facta fuerant. Tunc vocavit illum dominus suus : et ait illi : Serve nequam, omne debitum dimisi tibi, quoniam rogasti me : nonne ergo oportuit et te misereri conservi tui, sicut et ego tui misertus sum?

Et iratus dominus ejus, tradidit eum tortoribus, quoadusque redderet universum debitum. Sic et Pater meus caelestis faciet vobis, si non remiseritis unusquisque fratri suo de cordibus vestris.

English translation

At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable, “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents, and as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.”

“But that servant falling down, besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And the lord of that servant, being moved with pity, let him go, and forgave him the debt. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred pence, and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying, ‘Pay what you owed me.'”

“And his fellow servant falling down besought him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not listen, but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt.”

“Now his fellow servants, seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him, and said to him, ‘You wicked servant, I forgave you all the debt, because you besought me, should you then have had compassion also on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on you?'”

“And his lord being angry, delivered him to the tortures until he paid all the debt. So also shall My heavenly Father do to you, if you do not forgive every one of his brother from your hearts.”

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 89 : 1-2 and Psalm 113 : 1

Domine, refugium factus es nobis, a generatione et progenie.

Response : Priusquam montes fierent aut formaretur terra et orbis : a saeculo et usque in saeculum Tu es, Deus.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : In exitu Israel de Aegypto, domus Jacob de populo barbaro. Alleluja.

English translation

Lord, You have been our refuge, from generation to generation.

Response : Before the mountains were made, or the earth and the world was formed, from eternity and to eternity You are God.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians

Ephesians 6 : 10-17

Fratres : Confortamini in Domino et in potentia virtutis Ejus. Induite vos armaturam Dei, ut possitis stare adversus insidias diaboli. Quoniam non est nobis colluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem : sed adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus.

Propterea accipite armaturam Dei, ut possitis resistere in die malo et in omnibus perfecti stare. State ergo succincti lumbos vestros in veritate, et induti loricam justitiae, et calceati pedes in praeparatione. Evangelii pacis : in omnibus sumentes scutum fidei, in quo possitis omnia tela nequissimi ignea exstinguere : et galeam salutis assumite : et gladium spiritus, quod est verbum Dei.

English translation

Brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of His power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, in all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 17 October 2021 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Esther 13 : 9, 10-11 and Psalm 118 : 1

In voluntate Tua, Domine, universa sunt posita, et non est, qui possit resistere voluntati Tuae : Tu enim fecisti omnia, caelum et terram et universa, quae caeli ambitu continentur : Dominus universorum Tu es.

Beati immaculati in via : qui ambulant in lege Domini.

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

English translation

All things are in Your will, o Lord, and there is none that can resist Your will, for You have made all things, heaven and earth, and all things that are under the cope of heaven, You are Lord of all.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the Law of the Lord.

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

Familiam Tuam, quaesumus, Domine, continua pietate custodi : ut a cunctis adversitatibus, Te protegente, sit libera, et in bonis actibus Tuo Nomini sit devota. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation

Keep Your household, we beseech You, o Lord, with continual loving kindness, that by Your protection it may be free from all adversities and devoted to Your Name in well-doing. 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.