(Usus Antiquior) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 19 August 2018 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : Green

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

Galatians 3 : 16-22

Fratres : Abrahae dictae sunt promissiones, et semini ejus. Non dicit : Et seminibus, quasi in multis; sed quasi in uno : Et semini tuo, qui est Christus. Hoc autem dico : testamentum confirmatum a Deo, quae post quadringentos et triginta annos facta est lex, non irritum facit ad evacuandam promissionem.

Nam si ex lege hereditas, jam non ex promissione. Abrahae autem per repromissionem donavit Deus. Quid igitur lex? Propter transgressiones posita est, donec veniret semen, cui promiserat, ordinata per Angelos in manu mediatoris.

Mediator autem unius non est : Deus autem unus est. Lex ergo adversus promissa Dei? Absit. Si enim data esset lex, quae possit vivificare, vere ex lege esset justitia. Sed conclusit Scriptura omnia sub peccato, ut promissio ex fide Jesu Christi daretur credentibus.

 

English translation

Brethren, to Abraham were the promises made, and to his seed. He did not say, and to his seeds, as of many, but as of one, and to your seed, which is Christ. Now this I say, that the testament which was confirmed by God, the law which was made after four hundred and thirty years, had not been disannulled, to make the promise of no effect.

For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise. Why then was the law? It was set because of transgressions, until the seed should come, to whom He made the promise, being ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator.

Now a mediator is not of one, but God is one. Was the Law then against the promises of God? God forbid. For if there had been a law given, which could give life, verily justice should have been by the Law. But the Scripture had concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

(Usus Antiquior) Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 19 August 2018 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : Green

Introit

Psalm 73 : 20, 19, 23, 1

Respice, Domine, in testamentum Tuum, et animas pauperum Tuorum ne derelinquas in finem : exsurge, Domine, et judica causam Tuam, et ne obliviscaris voces quaerentium Te.

Ut quid, Deus, repulisti in finem : iratus est furor Tuus super oves pascuae Tuae?

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

 

English translation

Have regard, o Lord, to Your covenant, and do not forsake to the end the souls of Your poor. Arise, o Lord and judge Your cause, and do not forget the voices of those who seek You.

O God, why have You cast us off unto the end. Why is Your wrath enkindled against the sheep of Your pasture?

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

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, da nobis fidei, spei et caritatis augmentum : et, ut mereamur assequi quod promittis, fac nos amare quod praecipis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

 

English translation

Almighty, eternal God, grant us the increase of faith, hope and charity, and that we may deserve to attain what You had promised, make us to love what You had commanded. 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, 18 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded by the Lord through His words passed through Ezekiel, His prophet, that all of us shall be judged justly and rightfully by the Lord in the end, by none other than our own actions and by our own words and deeds. If a person is righteous and just in his or her actions, then the Lord will bless the person for all the good things he has done.

God will not take into account of someone’s relatives’ actions in deciding the fate of that person. Everyone are responsible for their own individual actions, and in the end of the day, it is our refusal to obey the Lord, our rebelliousness, and our succumbing to the temptations of the world that become the sources of our condemnation, and what had dragged many among us into the fires of hell.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus severely rebuked His disciples for scolding the people who were bringing young children to Him. He told them that unless they had the same faith and act in the manner of the little children, they would have no part in the kingdom of God. Essentially, the Lord is calling all of us to be pure and true in our faith, just as the children are pure and blameless.

If we have seen children in how they act and do things, they are still very impressionable and teachable, as they are essentially blank slate awaiting to receive guidance and examples that they will grow to follow in life. When they believe in something, they will hold on to what they believe without any reservation, for they have not been corrupted by the many temptations and concerns in life.

This is ought to be contrasted with our own faith and how we carry out our Christian living. Many of us lived our lives and followed the Christian faith because we have ulterior motives in doing so, in desiring something or reward out of our faith and how we lived our lives. We even expect that God will do work for us and give us His blessings, and this attitude is prevalent among many of us Christians.

But, brothers and sisters in Christ, is this true faith? Is this what the Lord wants us to have in us? Certainly it is not. The Lord wants us to love Him just as He has loved us, and this requires us to have a pure faith and pure intention in living our lives. There are many temptations in life that can threaten this objective, and which many of us have fallen into, the traps that the devil has set up in our path.

Many of us fell into the temptations of pride and greed. We are too proud and think of ourselves, selfishly and arrogantly, thinking that the world revolves around us. That is why even within the Church and among us Christians, we often hear so many unfortunate stories and tales of people bickering and disagreeing with each other, sometimes even violently in Church, just because they cannot let go of their pride, ambition and desires of the world that pushed them to act in such a way.

But then, linking it back to our first reading passage today, from the prophet Ezekiel, we should be reminded that our every actions will have consequences and repercussions. For our righteousness and obedience to the Lord’s will we shall be praised and glorified, while for our refusal to obey, by our pride and arrogance, and all the wicked things we have done in life, we shall be found wanting and unworthy by God.

Now, are we willing to make the commitment to live our lives from now on, with greater effort to resist the temptations found in this world? Let us all learn from little children, in how they believe in something with a pure and true intention, without any ulterior motives or considerations that can prevent them from truly believing with all of their hearts, minds and souls.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to strengthen each and every one of us in our faith, so that we may come ever closer to Him and be transformed in our actions and deeds, so that when once we acted in ways that sought only our own self-preservation and glory, we will from now on, seek only the greater glory of God and the well-being of our fellow brethren in the Lord. May God bless us all, and all of our endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 18 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Matthew 19 : 13-15

At that time, little children were brought to Jesus, that He might lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded those who brought them. Jesus then said, “Let the children be! Do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are humble, like these children.”

Jesus laid His hands on them and went away.

Saturday, 18 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 50 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Saturday, 18 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Ezekiel 18 : 1-10, 13b, 30-32

The word of YHVH came to me in these terms, “Why are you applying this proverb to the land of Israel : ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge?’ As I live, word of YHVH, this proverb will no longer be quoted in Israel. All life is in My hands, the life of the parent and the life of the child are Mine. The lives of both are in My hands; so, the one who sins will die.”

“Imagine a man who is righteous and practices what is just and right. He does not eat at the mountain shrines, or look towards the filthy idols of Israel, does not defile his neighbour’s wife, or have intercourse with a woman during her period; he molests no one, pays what he owes, does not steal, gives food to the hungry and clothes to the naked, demands no interest on a loan and does not lend for interest, refrains from injustice, practices true justice, man to man, follows My decrees and obeys My laws in acting loyally. Because such a man is truly righteous, he will live, word of YHVH.”

“But perhaps this man has a son, who steals and sheds blood, committing crimes which his father never did. Will such a man live? No, he will not! Because he has committed all these abominations he will die : his guilt will fall upon him. That is why I will judge you, Israel, each one according to his ways, word of YHVH. Come back, turn away from your offences, that you may not deserve punishment.”

“Free yourselves from all the offences you have committed and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, Israel? I do not want the death of anyone, word of YHVH, but that you be converted and live!”

Friday, 17 August 2018 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today through the Scriptures, we listened first of all to the word of God concerning His people, pointing out their sins and wickedness through Ezekiel, the prophet of God in the exile land of Babylon. They have not been faithful and they have abandoned their God, and they have not obeyed the commandments and laws of God.

As a result, they have broken the sacred Covenant which they have made with their God. A Covenant is a sacred and solemn promise which is made between two parties, where both parties are bound by the same promise to be faithful to the Covenant, the terms and conditions that bound them to that very Covenant. In this manner, the people of God had promised to be faithful to God and to be obedient to Him, while God had promised that He would continue to love His people.

The Israelites disobeyed God’s laws and commandments, as what the prophet Ezekiel presented to the people from God’s own words, comparing their attitudes with the attitude of young maiden and woman who had been taken care of by her adoptive father, who represents God, and yet, despite the love that he has shown to her, she has defiled herself and made herself a prostitute among the nations.

But God, as He is ever loving and filled with mercy, continues to love us, as He has never abandoned us and He is always ever loving, even to the greatest of sinners. He continued to care for and to provide for His beloved ones, hoping that one day they may come to realise their mistakes and asking for forgiveness. At that moment, He will reconcile them again and reunite them with Himself, to enjoy His eternal grace and love.

In today’s Gospel passage, we heard about the Lord’s rebuke to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law with regards to marriage. The latter asked the Lord, trying to test Him with the question, whether divorce is something that is allowed according to the Law. To them, according to the laws of Moses, divorce is allowed as long as the two parties involved settled it with an agreement.

But the Lord Jesus rebuked them because using that practice and argument, it reduced the sanctity of marriage into a mere transactional relationship between two people. Marriage is not just merely a formality but it is in fact a blessed union, which God Himself has made, and is a sacrament in the context of our Church, as the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. All of these are founded upon the sanctity of marriage whereupon two people are joined together by God into one, inseparable unity.

And this unity is also stressed in relation to the strong unity between God and His people, which earlier has been mentioned as a Covenant. And thus, today, all of us are called to reflect on the mistakes made by the Israelites in the past, in how they have not been obedient to the Covenant which they made with God. Have we ourselves lived our lives in accordance with God’s ways?

In today’s Gospel, at the ending of the passage, we heard of the Lord speaking to the people, about what each of His people’s respective obligations and callings are. This is called our vocations in life, and there are indeed many different paths to which we are called by God. Some are called to a married life as mentioned, but there are also those called to a life of celibacy and perpetual virginity, and those who are called to be priests of the Lord.

Each of these pathways and vocations are not less worthy or good than the other, and all of them are ultimately about how we can be holy and devout in the way we carry on with our respective lives and vocations. God has called us all to be holy just as He is holy, and to be righteous just as He is righteous, and be faithful to the Covenant He has made with us all, just as He is always faithful to that Covenant.

May the Lord be on our side always, that He will continue to strengthen us in our faith, encouraging us all to remain committed to the Covenant that God has made with us through His Son, Jesus Christ, by His loving sacrifice on the cross. May all of us strive to remain committed and true in our dedication and faith, that by our every actions and deeds, we will bring greater glory to God. Amen.