Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Philippians 1 : 20c-24, 27a

Christ will be exalted through my person, whether I live or die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I am to go on living, I shall be able to enjoy fruitful labour. Which shall I choose?

So I feel torn between the two. I desire greatly to leave this life and to be with Christ, which will be better by far, but it is necessary for you that I remain in this life. Try, then, to adjust your lives according to the Gospel of Christ.

Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 144 : 2-3, 8-9, 17-18

I will praise You, day after day; and exalt Your Name forever. Great is YHVH, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Compassionate and gracious is YHVH, slow to anger and abounding in love. YHVH is good to everyone; His mercy embraces all His creation.

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.

Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Isaiah 55 : 6-9

Seek YHVH while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked abandon his way, let him forsake his thoughts, let him turn to YHVH for He will have mercy, for our God is generous in forgiving.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, My ways are not your ways, says YHVH. For as the heavens are above the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : Green

Offertory

Psalm 39 : 14, 15

Domine, in auxilium meum respice : confundantur et reverantur, qui quaerunt animam meam, ut auferant eam : Domine, in auxilium meum respice.

 

English translation

Look down, o Lord, to help me, let them be confounded and ashamed, those who seek after my soul to take it away, look down, o Lord, to help me.

 

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Munda nos, quaesumus, Domine, sacrificii praesentis effectu : et perfice miseratus in nobis; ut ejus mereamur esse participes. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Cleanse us, we beseech You, o Lord, by the effect of the present sacrifice, and in Your mercy bring to pass in us that we may deserve to be partakers of it. 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 70 : 16-17, 18

Domine, memorabor justitiae Tuae solius : Deus, docuisti me a juventute mea : ut usque in senectam et senium, Deus, ne derelinquas me.

 

English translation

O Lord, I will be mindful of Your justice alone. You have taught me, o God, from my youth, and unto old age and gray hairs, o God, do not forsake me.

 

Post-Communion Prayer

Purifica, quaesumus, Domine, mentes nostras benignus, et renova caelestibus sacramentis : ut consequenter et corporum praesens pariter et futurum capiamus auxilium. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

In Your loving kindness, purify our souls, we beseech You, o Lord, and renew them with the heavenly sacrament, that we may receive bodily assistance thereby, both for this life and for the life to come. 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) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Green

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke

Luke 14 : 1-11

In illo tempore : Cum intraret Jesus in domum cujusdam principis pharisaeorum sabbato manducare panem, et ipsi observabant eum. Et ecce, homo quidam hydropicus erat ante illum. Et respondens Jesus dixit ad legisperitos et pharisaeos, dicens : Si licet sabbato curare? At illi tacuerunt. Ipse vero apprehensum sanavit eum ac dimisit.

Et respondens ad illos, dixit : Cujus vestrum asinus aut bos in puteum cadet, et non continuo extrahet illum die sabbati? Et non poterant ad haec respondere illi. Dicebat autem et ad invitatos parabolam, intendens, quomodo primos accubitus eligerent, dicens ad illos : Cum invitatus fueris ad nuptias, non discumbas in primo loco, ne forte honoratior te sit invitatus ab illo, et veniens is, qui Te et illum vocavit, dicat tibi : Da huic locum : et tunc incipias cum rubore novissimum locum tenere.

Sed cum vocatus fueris, vade, recumbe in novissimo loco : ut, cum venerit, qui te invitavit, dicat tibi : Amice, ascende superius. Tunc erit tibi gloria coram simul discumbentibus : quia omnis, qui se exaltat, humiliabitur : et qui se humiliat, exaltabitur.

 

English translation

At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees on the sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy, and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?” But they held their peace, but He took him, healed him and sent him away.

And answering them, He said, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him these things. And He spoke a parable also to those who were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them, “When you are invited to a wedding, do not sit down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honourable than you be invited by him, and he who invited you and him, come and say to you, ‘Give this man place,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.”

“But when you are invited, go, sit down in the lowest place, that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher,’ then you shall have glory before those who sit at table with you, because everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.”

(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Gradual and Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 101 : 16-17 and Psalm 97 : 1

Timebunt gentes Nomen Tuum, Domine, et omnes reges terrae gloriam Tuam.

Response : Quoniam aedificavit Dominus Sion, et videbitur in majestate Sua.

Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Cantate Domino canticum novum : quia mirabilia fecit Dominus. Alleluja.

 

English translation

The Gentiles shall fear Your Name, o Lord, and all the kings of the earth Your glory.

Response : For the Lord had built up Zion, and He shall be seen in His majesty.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : Sing all of you to the Lord a new canticle, because the Lord had done wonderful things. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 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 3 : 13-21

Fratres : Obsecro vos, ne deficiatis in tribulationibus meis pro vobis : quae est gloria vestra. Hujus rei gratia flecto genua mea ad Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ex quo omnis paternitas in caelis et in terra nominatur, ut det vobis secundum divitias gloriae Suae, virtute corroborari per Spiritum Ejus in interiorem hominem.

Christum habitare per fidem in cordibus vestris : in caritate radicati et fundati, ut possitis comprehendere cum omnibus sanctis, quae sit latitudo et longitudo et sublimitas et profundum : scire etiam supereminentem scientiae caritatem Christi, ut impleamini in omnem plenitudinem Dei.

Ei autem, qui potens est omnia facere superabundanter, quam petimus aut intellegimus, secundum virtutem, quae operatur in nobis : ipsi gloria in Ecclesia et in Christo Jesu, in omnes generationes saeculi saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Brethren, I pray that you may not faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom all paternity, in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened by His Spirit with might unto the inward man.

That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts, that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height and depth. To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.

Now to Him Who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 20 September 2020 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 85 : 3, 5, 1

Miserere mihi, Domine, quoniam ad Te clamavi tota die : quia Tu, Domine, suavis ac mitis es, et copiosus in misericordia omnibus invocantibus Te.

Inclina, Domine, aurem Tuam mihi, et exaudi me : quoniam inops, et pauper sum ego.

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

 

English translation

Have mercy on me, o Lord, for I have cried to You all the day, for You, o Lord, are sweet and mild, and plenty in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Bow down Your ear to me, o Lord, and hear me, for I am needy and poor.

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

Tua nos, quaesumus, Domine, gratia semper et praeveniat et sequatur : ac bonis operibus jugiter praestet esse intentos. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Let Your grace, we beseech You, o Lord, ever go before us and follow us, and may it make us to be continually zealous in doing good works. 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.

Saturday, 19 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue with the exhortation of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Corinth, as he tackled on the issue of the resurrection from the dead, both of the Lord’s own glorious Resurrection and also the belief that all the faithful would share in this resurrection after their death. Some segments of the community of believers disagreed with this and found it hard to believe in the resurrection.

That was why St. Paul went into great detail and with effort trying to explain the significance of resurrection and how it will truly happen for all the faithful, as the consequences of Christ’s sacrifice and death on the Cross, and through the revelation of the words of truth and the Holy Spirit that had been passed down to them and to the Church. This was made particularly against those who argued that there was no life after death.

Regardless of the reason why they did not believe in the resurrection after death, or any life after death, this refusal to believe in such a fact usually leads to the attitude of excesses and overindulging in life, as one would then believe that the earthly life was the only thing they had and nothing else, and this led one to sin and to be tempted away from the path of righteousness and into wickedness and evil, excesses and indulgence in life and in worldly pleasures.

The Lord has called us all to believe in Him and to reject these false ways and the desire to seek worldly pleasures in life. That is why He has called those Apostles and disciples through whom He has revealed His truth, and sowed the seeds of faith among innumerable people throughout history, through the Church. And this is aptly summarised in our Gospel passage today by the parable of the sower, in which the Lord sowed in the hearts of His faithful, the seeds of His faith.

This very well-known parable tells us of the seeds that is sowed by the sower, representing the Lord Himself, that fell on different places and had completely different outcomes depending on where they had landed, mainly because of the varying conditions experienced by the seeds in those places. The Lord used this parable to explain and convey His intentions because many among the people of the time were farmers, and many others would have also understood the terms used.

The seeds represent God’s truth and words, the faith which He has sowed, into the world, and which we have received. But we see how the seeds that fell on the roadside did not even have a chance to germinate and grow, as they were snatched and eaten up by the birds of the air. And this is how those who have rejected the words of God and His truth, and all these were snatched away from them, and they had nothing in them, no faith and no salvation.

Meanwhile, as we heard, those seeds that fell on the rocky ground germinated and grew, but was unable to grow deep and strong roots to keep themselves alive and in good health. This represents those who have indeed received the word of God, but put it aside and did not take it seriously, treating it without honour and are instead being busy with other things in life, and hence, the truth of God failed to take root in their lives, and did not remain in them.

And those seeds that fell on the soil where there were lots of thorns and bushes, weeds and other competitor plants, while the seeds did germinate and grow well, but they failed to grow properly and eventually perished because the budding plants were choked by those weeds and rivals that grew all around them. These represent those who did receive the truth of God, and believed, and yet, allowed temptations to get the better of them, and failed in their faith.

Only those seeds that fell on the rich soil which can germinate and grow well, healthy and good that they bore very rich fruits, many times fold of what had been planted in the first place. Those seeds were the only ones that were successful, and thus, that is what is the fate of those who have received the word of God, His truth, embraced them, believed wholeheartedly, and did what they could to provide the best and most optimum condition for the growth of their faith.

And how do we do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is by practicing our faith sincerely, walking with faith and devotion, by showing love in each and every moments of our lives following the examples that the Lord Himself had shown us, and which His disciples had also showed in their own lives and in their dedication in service to Him. The Lord had revealed to us His love, and His truth, and all of these are things that we should keep in mind as we progress forward in life.

As long as we allow ourselves be tempted and swayed by worldly pleasures and all sorts of temptations in life, it is likely going to be difficult for us to grow in faith and to grow in our love and devotion for God, just as those seeds that fell on the wrong places failed to grow and perish, because they did not have the right and optimum conditions to grow well in. This is also why, we should look upon the life and examples set by St. Januarius, the holy martyr and Bishop of Beneventum or Benevento in southern Italy and the patron saint of the Italian city of Naples, whose feast day we celebrate today.

St. Januarius, also known in Italian as San Gennaro, was a popular saint who was remembered chiefly for the miraculous occasion of the liquefaction of the relic of his blood which happens on his feast days and on some special occasions. He was born into an influential noble family and eventually rose to become Bishop of Naples and in some accounts also the Bishop of Benevento, both in southern parts of Italy.

This happened during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who was infamous as the Emperor during whose reign the last great systematic persecutions against Christians were carried out, causing many martyrs and countless members of the faithful to suffer from those persecutions. It was told that St. Januarius was a dedicated bishop, who committed himself to the care of his flock, and despite the terrible persecutions that grew worse each day, he hid many of his flock from their persecutors during those dark years.

It was not long that St. Januarius himself was arrested, while in the midst of his visit to the Christian convicts in prison, and he together with some other Christians were martyred, in some accounts by beheading. Thus, this faithful bishop and committed servant of God, who loved both God and his fellow brothers and sisters, chose to remain faithful to the very end, and even suffer rather than to betray his faith in God.

And the actions showed by St. Januarius ought to inspire us, for despite the obvious risks that he had to take in reaching out to his suffering flock, he did so nonetheless, caring for their needs, visiting those in prison and endangering himself while doing so, as a sign of his genuine love and therefore, authentic and genuine Christian faith. This is what we are also called to do, brothers and sisters, to be genuine as Christians in our way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we rejoice in the memory of St. Januarius today, let us all discern carefully what it is that we can do in our daily lives in loving God, through our dedication and faith, through our righteous life, and in our love for our fellow brethren, that each and every one of us truly provide the best condition for our faith to grow, that these seeds of faith we have received from God may grow well, and bear rich and bountiful fruits in the end, that is the crown of glory and eternal life with God.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He strengthen us in our resolve to live our lives with faith from now on. May He give us the courage to walk in His presence day by day, with ever greater devotion and commitment, to be true to our faith in all things. St. Januarius, holy servant of God and martyr of the faith, pray for us all! Amen.

Saturday, 19 September 2020 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 8 : 4-15

At that time, as a great crowd gathered, and people came to Jesus from every town, He began teaching them with a story : “The sower went out to sow the seed. And as he sowed, some of the seed fell along the way, was trodden on, and the birds of the sky ate it up.”

“Some seed fell on rocky ground; and no sooner had it come up than it withered, because it had no water. Some seed fell among thorns; the thorns grew up with the seed and choked it. But some seed fell on good soil and grew, producing fruit, a hundred times as much!” And Jesus cried out, “Listen then, if you have ears to hear!”

The disciples asked Him, “What does this story mean?” And Jesus answered, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. But to others it is given in the form of stories, or parables, so that, seeing, they may not perceive; and hearing, they may not understand.”

“Now, this is the point of the parable : The seed is the word of God. Those along the wayside are people who hear it; but immediately, the devil comes and takes the word from their minds, for he does not want them to believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are people who receive the word with joy; but they have no root; they believe for a while, and give way in time of trial.”

“Among the thorns are people who hear the word, but, as they go their way, they are choked by worries, riches, and the pleasures of life; they bring no fruit to maturity. The good soil, instead, are people who receive the word, and keep it, in a gentle and generous mind, and, persevering patiently, they bear fruit.”