Tuesday, 18 October 2022 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today the Church celebrates and rejoices in the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, one of the Four Evangelists or the writers of the Four Holy Gospels. St. Luke was a follower of the Lord who was a renowned Greek physician, that according to tradition, had come from the region of Antioch and Syria. Some others considered St. Luke to be a Hellenic Jew, who traditionally was one of the seventy-two disciples and the ones whom the Lord had chosen among all of His followers, to be sent out on mission in various places, as missionaries and evangelising disciples, carrying out the will of God.

St. Luke was one of the companions of St. Paul the Apostle during his missionary journeys, and helped the latter to record the works and the missionary efforts that were done among both the Jewish and Gentile populations alike. This was all recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, which was also authored by St. Luke together with the Gospel that bore his name. The Acts of the Apostles were a collection of the stories and accounts of the works mainly of St. Paul and his companions in the missionary journey, in spreading the Good News of God to the far corners of the world, and in proclaiming the truth of God to more people of various origins and nations.

It was told that St. Luke accompanied St. Paul during the last years of his ministry, even to the city of Rome where the latter spent the final parts of his ministry before his martyrdom. St. Luke recorded it all in the Acts of the Apostles, which allowed the Church and the faithful to have a close glimpse and firsthand account of what happened during the days of the early Church and the labours of the Apostles. Some people also even attributed the authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews to St. Luke as well, considering his prodigious writings and skills, and in his zeal in spreading the truth of God to both Jews and Gentiles alike.

Thanks to St. Luke, in his dedication to God and to the ministry into which he has been entrusted with, in his efforts at evangelisation and in his company and assistance to the Apostles like St. Paul and others, and in his writings and efforts in the writing of the Holy Gospel he authored, and also the others like the Acts of the Apostles and possible other works, he has done so many great things for the Church and the faithful people of God. He encouraged many others to come to know the Lord by his detailed exposition and explanation of the story of the Lord Jesus and His works, as well as the ministry of His followers.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate and rejoice today in the glorious memory of this great saint and servant of God, St. Luke the Evangelist, have we asked ourselves what we can contribute to the Church and to our fellow faithful disciples of the Lord? Have we done whatever we can, within our calling and mission, to do the will of God and to carry out whatever works that the Lord wants us to do? Each and every one of us have been given various talents, gifts, opportunities and other things to help us in our respective vocations and missions, just as St. Luke had been given his talents and abilities, and opportunities.

The question is, have we embraced and made good use of those same talents, abilities, opportunities and all the other things which God had presented to us? Have we made the effort to be good and devoted Christians, so that in all the things we say and do, in our every actions and interactions with one another, we will always be exemplary and be inspirational to others, in showing our true faith and commitment to God. We have to embrace God and His calling, following our mission and calling as Christians, to do the will of God and to proclaim His truth and Good News to all the people of all the nations, in whatever opportunities presented to us.

Before we think that we are inadequate or unworthy of such an accomplishment, we have to realise that God did not call the great and the mighty to do His will and works. On the contrary, He called and empowered the ordinary ones to become the instruments of His will in this world. God gave the ordinary people the strength and the chance to become His great servants. The Church is ultimately not a shrine for the elites and the self-righteous, but rather the hospital for sinners, who have been called to leave behind their old lives of sin and wickedness. All the saints and great servants of God like St. Luke, St. Paul and the others have all been called and transformed from their ordinary existence to be extraordinary servants of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore strive to follow in the footsteps of the saints particularly that of St. Luke the Evangelist, and do whatever we can, at every opportunities presented to us, to be the role models for one another and to help each other in our respective journeys of faith in life. May God be with us always and may He continue to empower us all in our efforts and endeavours of faith. May the Lord bless us always in all things, now and forevermore. Amen.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest. Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know.”

“Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 17-18

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o YHVH, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom, and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign, and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endured, from generation to generation.

Righteous is YHVH in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Timothy 4 : 10-17b

You must know, that Demas has deserted me, for the love of this world : he returned to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke remains with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is a useful helper in my work. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.

Bring with you the cloak I left at Troas, in Carpos’ house, and also the scrolls, especially the parchments. Alexander, the metalworker, has caused me great harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. Distrust him, for he has been very much opposed to our preaching.

At my first hearing in court, no one supported me; all deserted me. May the Lord not hold it against them. But the Lord was at my side, giving me strength, to proclaim the word fully, and to let all the pagans hear it.

Monday, 17 October 2022 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, all of us are reminded of the immense love and mercy of God through which each and every one of us have received the assurance of eternal life and salvation, all of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. All of us must remember how the Lord cares for us and how He treats us as truly precious people, as His own children, so that we will remember that we should remain focused on Him and not on worldly things and all else which can easily distract us in our way and journey towards His salvation and eternal life.

In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, we heard of the words of St. Paul reminding all the people of God there of everything that the Lord had done for them, in their great fortune in having been rescued and redeemed by their Lord, Master, Saviour and Redeemer. All of them have deserved death and destruction, damnation and hell, and yet, God had mercy on them and because He is so full of love, and to all of us this reminder serves the same purpose, because God’s love, compassion and mercy are extended to all of us, regardless of our background and how great a sinner we have been in our respective lives.

St. Paul himself highlighted just how fallen and wretched our human nature and existence were, and yet, because of God’s love and mercy, all of us have received a new lease of life, a new hope and liberation from our downwards path towards destruction. St. Paul encouraged all of us just as he did to the faithful in Ephesus, reminding us of just how great and rich God’s mercy and compassion truly are. But at the same time, we must also not take His love and mercy for granted, or else, we will end up spurning these advances of love and mercy by the Lord, as what had happened to many of our predecessors, who were so caught up in their pride, ego and greed that they ignored the Lord and His love and mercy.

Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, that was precisely the reason why so many had faltered in their journey towards the Lord. They all failed to appreciate and embrace the Lord’s approach of love and compassion towards them. They took His love and generosity for granted and ignored and abandoned Him at their own convenience. In the end, they were all condemned not because God did not love them, but because they had little to no faith in Him, and they rejected Him by their own conscious effort and accord. They refused to embrace God’s love and mercy, and preferring to remain in the state of sin, although God has so generously given them His loving compassion and has always offered them His forgiveness.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard about the words of the Lord speaking to His disciples using the example of a rich man who asked Him to judge and support him for his part of the inheritance against his own brethren. The Lord then also mentioned a parable about a rich man who was consumed with worry and preoccupied with his greed and desires, thinking of how he could accumulate more of whatever wealth that he had been gathering up to that point. The Lord concluded that parable and story with the warning of how even that rich man would meet his end, because if God so wills it, his life could end there and then, and nothing of what he had accumulated would accompany him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, what does the Lord want us to learn from these passages today? Through His Church and the Scriptures today, the Lord wants us to know that we should be vigilant with ourselves and with the many temptations ever present all around us, lest we may be tempted to abandon Him and His love for the sake of worldly glory, material wealth, fame, possessions, human praise, status and many other things in this world which often distracted us and dragged us away from the path of God and into the path towards damnation and destruction. We have often indulged in these worldly desires and ended up forgetting about God, about His love and mercy.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of the great early Church fathers whose life and works, whose actions and faith can become sources of inspiration for all of us in how each one of us can become ever better and more committed Christians in life. St. Ignatius of Antioch was one of the early Church fathers and bishops as the successors of the Apostles in the ministry of the Church, and he was the successor of St. Peter in the See of Antioch that the Apostle founded, who was dedicated to his flock and the expansion of the Church, for the care and salvation of souls among others.

St. Ignatius of Antioch was and is still greatly revered for his piety and faith in God, for his immense contribution and commitment to the Lord and His Church, as he wrote extensively to the Church, and corresponded actively with Pope St. Clement, the Bishop of Rome and St. Peter’s successor as the Vicar of Christ, and with the other Church fathers, on top of his work and passionate dedication to his local Christian flock. He faced hardships and challenges just as many of the early Christians and the Apostles themselves had faced, and died as a martyr in defending his faith and love for God.

Let us all therefore follow the good examples set by our holy predecessors, by St. Ignatius of Antioch and the innumerable other saints and martyrs, who have shown us what it truly means for us to become Christians, in becoming the holy people of God, called and chosen from this darkened and wretched world. We have been called to a greater and holier existence, to be like our loving and good Father, our Lord and Saviour Himself. Therefore, each and every one of us should strive to purify our lives and to align ourselves to His path and teachings, and reject all the corruptions and other things which sin had brought unto us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in life, that we may ever persevere through the challenges and trials of life, especially when our faith in Him are tested and when we face hardships in life. We should remain firm in our faith and commitment to God, remembering His faithfulness to the Covenant that He had made with us, the love which He had generously given us and the compassion by which He willingly forgives us our sins. Let us all therefore commit ourselves to the Lord anew and endeavour and strive to lead a new life from now on, without sin any more. May God bless us and remain with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.