Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday we have heard from the readings of the Sacred Scriptures of the calling for us all to follow the path of the Lord, to listen to Him and obey His commandments, to follow His examples and to be faithful in our Christian way of life, and be genuine in how we live up to our faith by real actions and interactions with one another, and not just by mere words alone.

This means that we cannot have a faith that is empty and without real application in our lives, as a faith that is without application in good works and deeds, as St. James the Apostle put it, is a dead faith. It does not mean that by our deeds alone that we are earning our salvation, but rather, one who has faith cannot possibly be truly faithful without being committed in action in accordance to that faith.

Neither can one be good and do good, without that seed of faith planted in that person by God growing in him or her. Do all of us remember the parable of the sower? The different places where the seeds spread by the sower fell on determine whether those seeds grow and produce fruits or not. Only in those who has received the faith and acted on it, that the faith bear rich fruits, the fruits of our salvation.

As Christians, we are God’s chosen people, whom He has called and brought into His Church through Baptism. We have been made His own adopted and beloved children, and because of that, we are all expected to follow His will, to obey His Law and commandments. How can we do this if we do not live up our faith and if we do not act in ways that are in accordance to His teachings?

That is exactly the point that the Lord Jesus is trying to point out to His disciples and thus to all of us as described in our Gospel passage today. The Lord spoke to His disciples asking them who between two children were truly faithful, between one of them who said to their father that he would obey but did not obey by action in the end, and another who said that he would not obey but in the end, still did what the father asked for.

This is related to our first reading today, in which the prophet Ezekiel spoke of how the righteous would perish by their sins and disobedience, or how the wicked would be saved by their obedience and faith. This was a reminder from God to His people through Ezekiel, a prophet sent to the people of God at the time of their lowest and most sorrowful, having lost their Promised Land, conquered and humiliated among the nations, that should they change their attitudes and obey the Lord once again, they would be forgiven and be worthy of God’s love and grace again.

Similarly, it is a reminder that no one should be pretentious thinking that they had been chosen and saved, without the need for action, taking it for granted that they have received such a grace from God and therefore can just enjoy its benefits and without the need to do anything. Faith like that is merely superficial and for show, and not a genuine, living faith that God wants from us. And it is even worse still if we use this as an excuse for us to be judgmental on others as well, to look down on others just because we think that we are better or more faithful and pious than them.

That is why, we are reminded again and again, to be loving and to show care and compassion on one another, and to be Christians means that we should follow what St. Paul told the Church and the faithful in Philippi, to be filled with the love of Christ, not to despise or look down on others, not to be judgmental and vicious or harsh on those who are in need of our love and attention. We are called to love as Christ Our Lord Himself has loved.

In that same passage, we heard the famous lines from the Epistle to the Philippians, highlighting the humble obedience and the great love that the Lord Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour had shown, that He willingly humbled Himself and took upon Himself to bear the most painful burden of the Cross, on which lies our sins, the whole multitude of it, the punishment due for those sins. That is the kind of selfless love that each and every one of us have been called to show in our daily lives, as the sign of our living and true Christian faith.

Do we remember the Lord’s words, “All that you have done to the least of these, you have done it unto Me?” And He said before this, how these people were the least among the people, those who were naked, suffering, imprisoned, lonely, all those who were encountering misfortune in life. That is why this Sunday, as it coincides with the World Day of Migrant and Refugees, we remember all the plight of those suffering, especially the migrants and refugees in the world today.

Migrants are all those who have left their place of birth or the place where they used to live in, and moved to another place or country from various reasons. Some had to leave because they looked for better opportunities elsewhere, to have a better life for themselves and for their families, while others had to move because of unfortunate circumstances, separated from their family members, and in which it may overlap with refugees, who are those displaced and forced to leave their countries because of conflict, wars and even persecution and genocides.

Many of these migrants and refugees are suffering as they had suffered previously, throughout their time spent away from their homeland. Majority did not have much to survive on, and many had to sustain their families and children, while having to fend various challenges. Those who chose to settle permanently in their new homeland and countries faced rejection and prejudice, injustice and even attacks, having to endure racist attitudes and inequality at work among other things.

Refugees in particular often had to live in cramped and unsanitary refugee camps, with thousands packed in place that they had no choice but live in, for if they had remained in their original places, they might have suffered even worse or killed. And similarly, many of them are suffering from prejudice and injustice, and they are often rejected and shunned by the rest of the society in general.

Some of us argued that they deserved such treatment because they are different from us, or that there might be some bad people among them, which became especially worrisome in the recent years due to the rise of religious fundamentalism. But this has happened throughout history, and while some of them might indeed be bad, but let us all not forget in our first reading today, that the Lord said, even the righteous will die, perish and be condemned into hell if they sin and refused to turn away from that sin, and how the wicked would be saved if they embraced God’s forgiveness.

How are we acting as Christians then if we do not embrace those who are in need of love and help, compassion and assistance? And how Christ-like are we if we look down upon and condemn those whom we despise as our enemies and dismiss as hardline fundamentalists when Our Lord Himself has forgiven His enemies and prayed for them? This is why it is so difficult for us to be true and genuine Christians, for to be a true and genuine Christians, we need to reach out to these suffering brothers and sisters of ours, and overcome whatever prejudices and fears we have.

And we must not forget that we ourselves are migrants in this world, and in fact even refugees. After all, wasn’t it Adam and Eve, our very first ancestors who had been banished from Eden because of their disobedience and sins? They had to endure hardships and sufferings in this world just as those migrants and refugees suffer now. And many of our forefathers were probably migrants themselves, or even refugees fleeing from war and destruction.

We have to consider ourselves lucky and blessed if we have a good life, but before we become prejudiced against others, or treat some worse than how we treat our loved ones, then let us remember that perhaps, our own forefathers, our grandparents, ancestors and all of them somewhere and sometime had once endured the other end of the prejudice and injustice, inequality and even persecution, even though they were all equally human beings, children of God all the same.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore keep these in mind and discern how we, as Christians can better live up to our Christian faith and calling, to be genuine and faithful as the followers of Christ, He Who loves us all equally and Who has lowered Himself to be in the position of a slave, bearing His Cross and suffering for us out of love, that we may be saved. Can’t we do the same for our fellow brothers and sisters, particularly those who are really in need of our help, those migrants and refugees?

Let us all be more empathetic to their suffering and listen more to their story and understand them better, rather than easily being swayed by false rhetorics and ideas that are unfortunately rampant in our increasingly xenophobic and individualistic world. Remember, that we too, are migrants and refugees in this world as I mentioned earlier, and what we do not want to happen to us, then let us not do on those who need our love and empathy, and not hurtful words, prejudices and worse still, persecution.

May the Lord, our loving God and Father, guide us in our journey of faith so that each and every one of us as Christians may come to walk more faithfully in His path, to be righteous in all of our deeds, avoiding actions of prejudice, showing hatred or being hurtful against others, and instead, to show genuine Christian love, showing the same love of Christ, pure and selfless love for our fellow brothers and sisters.

They may look different, talk in different language, has different cultural practices than ours, but they are our brothers, our sisters, our family, the same God’s beloved children. May God help us to love selflessly and generously, to give without counting the cost, and to show mercy when we are able to. May God guide us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 21 : 28-32

At that time, Jesus went on to say, “What do you think of this? A man had two sins. He went to the first and said to him, ‘Son, go and work today in my vineyard.’ And the son answered, ‘I do not want to.’ But later he thought better of it and went. Then the father went to his other son and said the same thing to him. This son replied, ‘I will go, sir,’ but he did not go.”

“Which of the two did what the father wanted?” They answered, “The first.” And Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you : the publicans and the prostitutes are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven. For John came, to show you the way of goodness, and you did not believe him; but the publicans and the prostitutes did. You were witnesses of this, but you neither repented nor believed him.”

Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Philippians 2 : 1-11

If I may advise you, in the Name of Christ, and if you can hear it, as the voice of love; if we share the same Spirit, and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you, make me very happy : have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit.

On the contrary, let each of you gently consider the others, as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but, rather, that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had : Though He was in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in His appearance found as a Man.

He humbled Himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted Him and gave Him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Philippians 2 : 1-5

If I may advise you, in the Name of Christ, and if you can hear it, as the voice of love; if we share the same Spirit, and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you, make me very happy : have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit.

On the contrary, let each of you gently consider the others, as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but, rather, that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had.

Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 24 : 4bc-5, 6-7, 8-9

O YHVH, make known to me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and instruct me, for You are my God, my Saviour; I hope in You all day long.

Remember Your compassion, o YHVH, Your unfailing love from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, but in Your love remember me.

Good and upright, YHVH teaches sinners His way. He teaches the humble of heart and guides them in what is right.

Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Day of Migrants and Refugees (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ezekiel 18 : 25-28

But you say : YHVH’s way is not just! Why, Israel! Is My position wrong? Is it not rather that yours is wrong? If the righteous man turns from his righteous deeds, and sins, then he dies, because of his sins.

And if the wicked man does what is good and right, after turning from the sins he committed, he will save his life. He will live and not die, because he has opened his eyes; and turned from the sins he had committed.

(Usus Antiquior) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Daniel 9 : 17, 18, 19

Oravi Deum meum ego Daniel, dicens : Exaudi, Domine, preces servi Tui : illumina faciem Tuam super sanctuarium Tuum : et propitius intende populum istum, super quem invocatum est Nomen Tuum, Deus.

 

English translation

I, Daniel, prayed to my God, saying, “Hear, o Lord, the prayers of Your servant, show Your face upon Your sanctuary, and favourably look down upon this people upon whom Your Name is invoked, o God.”

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Majestatem Tuam, Domine, suppliciter deprecamur : ut haec sancta, quae gerimus, et a praeteritis nos dilectis exuant et futuris. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

We implore Your majesty, o Lord, that the holy mysteries which we are celebrating may free us of past and save us from future sins. 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 75 : 12-13

Vovete et reddite Domino, Deo vestro, omnes, qui in circuitu Ejus affertis munera : terribili, et ei qui aufert spiritum principum : terribili apud omnes reges terrae.

 

English translation

Vow all of you, and pay to the Lord your God, all you who round about Him bringing presents, to Him who is terrible, even to Him Who takes away the spirit of princes, to the terrible with all the kings of the earth.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Sanctificationibus Tuis, omnipotens Deus, et vitia nostra curentur, et remedia nobis aeterna proveniant. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

By Your grace, o Almighty God, let our wicked propensities be cured and everlasting remedies be forthcoming. 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) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

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

Matthew 22 : 34-46

In illo tempore : Accesserunt ad Jesum pharisaei : et interrogavit eum unus ex eis legis doctor, tentans eum : Magister, quod est mandatum magnum in lege? Ait illi Jesus : Diliges Dominum, Deum tuum, ex toto corde tuo et in tota anima tua et in tota mente tua. Hoc est maximum et primum mandatum.

Secundum autem simile est huic : Diliges proximum tuum sicut teipsum. In his duobus mandatis universa lex pendet et prophetae. Congregatis autem pharisaeis, interrogavit eos Jesus, dicens : Quid vobis videtur de Christo? Cujus Filius est? Dicunt ei : David.

Ait illis : Quomodo ergo David in spiritu vocat eum Dominum, dicens : Dixit Dominus Domino meo, sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum? Si ergo David vocat eum Dominum, quomodo Filius ejus est? Et nemo poterat ei respondere verbum : neque ausus fuit quisquam ex illa die eum amplius interrogare.

 

English translation

At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus, and one of them, a doctor of the Law, asked Him, tempting Him, “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.”

“And the second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the prophets.” And the Pharisees being gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think of Christ, whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “David.”

He said to them, “How then did David, in spirit, called Him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit on My right hand until I make Your enemies Your footstool?’ If David then called Him Lord, how is He his Son?” And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither did any man, from that day forth, asked Him any more questions.

(Usus Antiquior) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 32 : 12, 6 and Psalm 101 : 2

Beata gens, cujus est Dominus Deus eorum : populus, quem elegit Dominus in hereditatem sibi.

Response : Verbo Domini caeli firmati sunt : et spiritu oris ejus omnis virtus eorum.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Domine, exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad Te perveniat. Alleluja.

 

English translation

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He had chosen for His inheritance.

Response : By the word of the Lord the heavens were established, and all the power of them by the Spirit of His mouth.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : O Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to You. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

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

Ephesians 4 : 1-6

Fratres : Obsecro vos ego vinctus in Domino, ut digne ambuletis vocatione, qua vocati estis, cum omni humilitate et mansuetudine, cum patientia, supportantes invicem in caritate, solliciti servare unitatem spiritus in vinculo pacis. Unum corpus et unus spiritus, sicut vocati estis in una spe vocationis vestrae.

Unus Dominus, una fides, unum baptisma. Unus Deus et Pater omnium, qui est super omnes et per omnia et in omnibus nobis. Qui est benedictus in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Brethren, I, a prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthily of the vocation in which you are called. With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity, careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. One body and one Spirit, as you are called in one hope of your calling.

One Lord, one faith, one baptism. One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in us all, Who is blessed forever and ever. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 September 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 118 : 137, 124, 1

Justus es, Domine, et rectum judicium Tuum : fac cum servo Tuo secundum misericordiam Tuam.

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

You are just, o Lord, and Your judgment is right; deal with Your servant according to Your mercy.

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

Da, quaesumus, Domine, populo Tuo diabolica vitare contagia : et Te solum Deum pura mente sectari. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Grant Your people, we beseech You, o Lord, to shun the defilements of the devil, and with pure hearts to follow You, the only God. 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.