Thursday, 17 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 19 : 41-44

At that time, when Jesus had come in sight of the city of Jerusalem, He wept over it, and said, “If only today you knew the ways of peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Yet days will come upon you, when your enemies will surround you with barricades, and shut you in, and press on you from every side.”

“And they will dash you to the ground and your children with you, and not leave stone upon stone within you, for you did not recognise the time and the visitation of your God.”

Thursday, 17 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 149 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

Alleluia! Sing to the Lord a new song, sing His praise in the assembly of His saints. Let Israel rejoice in his Maker, let the people of Zion glory in their King!

Let them dance in praise of His Name and make music for Him with harp and timbrel. For the Lord delights in His people; He crowns the lowly with victory.

The saints will exult in triumph; even at night on their couches. Let the praise of God be on their lips, this is the glory of all His saints. Alleluia!

Thursday, 17 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 5 : 1-10

Then I saw in the right hand of Him Who was seated on the throne a scroll written on both sides, sealed with seven seals. A mighty Angel exclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open this and break the seals?”

But no one in heaven or on earth or in the netherworld was found able to open the book and read it. I wept much when I saw that no one was found worthy to open the book and read it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Shoot of David, has conquered; He will open the book of the seven seals.”

And I saw next to the throne with its four living creatures and the twenty-four elders a Lamb standing, although It had been slain. I saw Him with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out to all the earth. The Lamb moved forward and took the book from the right hand of Him Who was seated on the throne.

When He took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders bowed before the Lamb. They all held in their hands harps and golden cups full of incense which are the prayers of the holy ones. This is the new song they sang : “You are worthy to take the book and open its seals, for You were slain and by Your Blood You purchased for God people of every race, language and nation; and You made them a kingdom and priests for our God and they shall reign over the land.”

Wednesday, 16 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints or Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded that all of us are called to be faithful and dedicated to the Lord at all times, knowing what it is that will be our eventual lot if we remain faithful and obedient to Him. We are reminded through the Scriptures today that we serve the One and only true God, the Creator of the whole entire Universe and its Master, as we are looking forward to the end of this current liturgical year and the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, King of the Universe this coming Sunday. Each and every one of us should remember our calling, mission and obligations as those who have committed themselves to the Lord.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Revelations of St. John the Apostle, we heard of the details of the visions received by St. John himself when he was exiled at the island of Patmos, many decades after the Lord’s Resurrection, when many other among the Apostles and disciples of the Lord had passed on from this world, either through martyrdom or otherwise. St. John told us all about the Lord seated on His glorious Throne in Heaven, surrounded by the innumerable Angels and saints, all the servants of God surrounding and constantly praising God and His Holy Name. He saw all the glory and majesty of God, and how the Angels and the Holy Elders adored and worshipped Him. St. John highlighted the glory and power of God to all the faithful, to all of us so that we know Who it is that we worship, the One Lord and true God, Master of all the whole Universe.

We saw the greatness and the majesty of God before Whom all the mighty Angels and spirits, all those mighty saints prostrate themselves upon, all those who have seen the fullness of God’s glory and power. We are therefore reminded that this is the One Whom we serve and worship, and how important it is that we as Christians, we carry out our calling, missions and duties as entrusted to us by the Lord Himself. The Lord has called on us all to do His will, to follow His Law, His commandments and His ways, and each and every one of us have been entrusted with various abilities, talents, opportunities and other things as the Lord deemed fit, as we ourselves heard in our Gospel passage today in the parable of the talents.

Through that parable, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and followers and all the people about what it means to become His followers and as members of the Christian faithful. In that parable, we heard about a master who entrusted his servants with his wealth as he was going on a journey, a silver pound or talent for each of the three servants. Two of the three servants invested in the money and did work with that silver pound, and gained ten and five pounds of silver respectively. The last servant did nothing with the silver talent, hid it and did not gain anything from the silver pound he had been entrusted with. The master was very happy with the two servants who gave him his silver pound back with extra returns, entrusting them with dominion and care over his cities, while rebuking and being angry with the one who failed to do as he had commanded him to do.

Obviously, we can tell that the master in the parable represents the Lord Himself, our Lord and God, our Master Who commands us what we are to do with our lives. The servants represent all of us, God’s people, His servants and followers. The pound of silver represents the abilities, talents, gifts, blessings, opportunities and all that God had presented to us all, for us to use so that we may impact the lives of others for the better, and do what He wants us to do, in loving one another with sincere and genuine love, care and attention. And that love which we show others can indeed multiply the way the silver pound gained multiple returns. Why is that so? That is because love is infectious and can spread quickly and easily, as the one we have shown genuine and warm love to, will likely also show the same love to others.

However, the same thing applies for hatred and evil as well. If we show hatred instead of love to others, then this cycle of hatred and hurt will continue to spiral out of control, as the hatred will carry on from person to person, as each one of us are bound to try to get back at the other person, and make others hurt for what they had done to hurt us. If we have done something like this, brothers and sisters in Christ, then let us reflect and ponder, that is it not better for us to actually show love instead of hatred, to seek peace and harmony instead of mutual destruction and hurt? Is it not better for us then to follow God’s will and to carry out what He has always wanted us to do, in loving our fellow brothers and sisters, and not causing hurt, pain or suffering to others just so that we can satisfy our selfish desires, greed or ego?

Today, we celebrate the feast of two holy women, whose lives and works, inspirations and actions may be able to inspire us all to live our lives more worthily of the Lord, and to do as He has commanded us to do, and to make good use of whatever it is that He has given us and blessed us with. St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude the Great are great examples of those who have faithfully obeyed the Lord and did His will in their respective lives, making good use of whatever gifts, blessings, abilities and opportunities that they had been granted with. St. Margaret of Scotland was the Queen of Scotland during the Middle Ages, remembered for her great piety, faith and love for God, and also love and care for the less fortunate in her kingdom. Meanwhile, St. Gertrude the Great was a German benedictine nun and mystic who was also renowned for her dedication to God.

St. Margaret of Scotland was a very devout Christian and a noble Queen, who supported her husband in his reigning over his kingdom. She devoted herself to the care of the people of Scotland, for both their material and spiritual well-being, launching a program of reform for the Church in Scotland to conform the practices and beliefs, the ways of worship of the Church in Scotland with the wider Universal Church, which by then had somewhat diverged due to the relative distance and isolation of Scotland to the rest of Christendom. She helped to launch a reform to right the wrongs and the worldly excesses within the Church, and ensure the discipline of the clergy and the other members of the Church, in following the Lord in the right manner, and she also spent a lot of time in prayers and works of charity, becoming truly beloved by her people, and also a beacon of the Christian faith throughout her realm and even beyond.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude the Great was renowned for her great piety and devotion to God, her mystical experiences and visions which she received periodically, and which she recorded and wrote about in her many works and writings. Her extensive writings serve to inspire many people throughout her time and afterwards. She was also one of the earliest devotees to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which she did from her experiences in her numerous visions, seeing the love of God manifested to her from His loving heart, from which stemmed her love and devotion for the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Through her many pious works and writings, her exemplary lifestyle and examples, St. Gertrude the Great, like St. Margaret of Scotland, had inspired countless people to be more faithful to the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore be inspired by the examples showed by St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude the Great. Let us all follow the Lord faithfully, making good use of the gifts, blessings, talents, abilities and the opportunities that He had provided us with, just as those two holy women of God had done. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our faith, and that we may always draw ever closer to Him, and be ever more committed to walk down the path that He has shown us. May God bless us all and our every good works and endeavours, now and always. Amen.