Saturday, 3 September 2022 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Corinthians 4 : 6b-15

Learn by this example, not to believe yourselves superior by siding with one against the other. How, then, are you more than the others? What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you proud, as if you did not receive it?

So, then, you are already rich and satisfied, and feel like kings, without us! I wish you really were kings, so that we might enjoy the kingship with you! It seems to me, that God has placed us, the Apostles, in the last place, as if condemned to death, and as spectacles for the whole world, for the Angels as well as for mortals.

We are fools for Christ, while you show forth the wisdom of Christ. We are weak, you are strong. You are honoured, while we are despised. Until now we hunger and thirst, we are poorly clothed and badly treated, while moving from place to place. We labour, working with our hands. People insult us and we bless them, they persecute us and we endure everything; they speak evil against us, and ours are works of peace. We have become like the scum of the earth, like the garbage of humankind until now.

I do not write this to shame you, but to warn you, as very dear children. Because, even though you may have ten thousand guardians in the Christian life, you have only one Father; and it was I who gave you life in Christ through the Gospel.

Friday, 2 September 2022 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Lord in the Scriptures, we are reminded first of all to be wise and thoughtful servants and followers of God, and to treat one another with respect and kindness, not to judge one another with malicious intention and desire, but instead to show true love and concern for one another. We have to heed the Lord’s words and remember to turn towards Him with renewed faith and way of life, committing ourselves to lead each other on the right path instead of trying to bring each other down and in being judgmental in our attitudes and actions.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, we heard of the words of the Apostle reminding the faithful people of God there to be faithful and put their faith in God and not be judgmental towards one another. This came at a time when there were significant divisions and conflicts among the faithful in Corinth, as was elsewhere due to the differences in opinions among the faithful who were divided between the various missionaries and leaders of the faithful as we have heard in the past few days of readings, between those who followed St. Paul himself, and Apollos, another famous preacher and others who sided with the other Apostles among others.

St. Paul reminded the faithful people of God not to be divided or hostile against each other because of their differences, and instead of judging one another, being hostile and angry against each other, they should work towards resolving their differences, reminding them that after all in the end, all of them are God’s people, the members and parts of His same one Church. There should not be prejudice or distinction henceforth amongst the people of God just because they preferred certain ways of teaching or ideas, unless those ideas were indeed against the truth of God, which in the case of St. Paul, Apollos or the other Apostles were not such, as each one of them were faithful to the Lord and delivered His truth in their own different ways.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard the Lord speaking to the people who compared Him and His disciples with the disciples of St. John the Baptist and the Pharisees, in terms of how they fasted and followed the laws as according to the common laws observed among the people at that time, the Law of Moses. The people wondered why Jesus and His disciples did not fast the way that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, as well as the disciples of St. John had done. Worse still was that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law themselves often criticised and even were hostile against the Lord and His ways, His teachings and truths simply because they did not conform to the ways that were endorsed or supported by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

Contextually, we also have to understand that the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were the religious and intellectual elites of their time, and they liked to look down on those who disagreed with them, and also those whom they deemed to be inferior, sinful and wicked, worthless or hopeless, treating those people like the tax collectors and prostitutes, the poor and the sick, those who were afflicted with diseases and disabilities, possessed by evil spirits and demons as those who were beyond hope and salvation, and were unworthy of God’s love and grace. They kept the gates of God’s salvation shut for those who came to seek the Lord, and made it difficult for many to approach the Lord by their overly strict and stringent laws and customs.

It is this same attitude that St. Paul and also the Lord Himself had warned us against, the prideful attitude of man who indulged in their sense of superiority and their selfish nature, in seeking personal glory and satisfaction over that of the truth and love of God. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law had not faithfully done what the Lord had entrusted them to do, and as such, the Lord pointed out that His way is the true way, and those who follow Him, His truth and way, have to commit themselves to the new path that He Himself will show, the path of God’s righteousness and grace, and renew themselves through listening to God’s words, always ever constantly reminding all of us, all of His people to follow Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, now that we have heard these words of the Sacred Scriptures, and kind reminders for us to follow the path that God has set and placed before us, let us all therefore commit ourselves thoroughly at all times, dedicating ourselves, our time and effort to draw ever closer to God, doing whatever we can to be inspiration to one another in the way we live our lives, in our every actions, words and deeds, all of which should be based and focused on the Lord, to show that we are truly God’s people in everything, so that we may help to show God’s truth by the testimony of our faith and lives, in each and every moments we have in this world.

May the Lord continue to be with us always, and may He empower each and every one of us that we may strive to live worthily at every opportunities possible, leading more and more people towards the Lord, and may through our good examples, we can help many others to find out more about the Lord, about His love and path, that more of them may eventually come closer to God, and share with us the joy of our faith in God as well. May God bless us in our every good efforts and endeavours, our every good works, now and always, forevermore. Amen.