Tuesday, 26 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 18-25

I consider, that the suffering of our present life cannot be compared with the glory that will be revealed, and given to us. All creation is eagerly expecting the birth, in glory, of the children of God. For, if now, the created world was unable to attain its purpose, this did not come from itself, but from the one who subjected it. But it is not without hope; for even the created world, will be freed from this fate of death, and share the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know, that the whole creation groans and suffers the pangs of birth. Not creation alone, but even ourselves; although the Spirit was given to us, as a foretaste of what we are to receive, we groan in our innermost being, eagerly awaiting the day, when God will give us full rights, and rescue our bodies as well.

In hope, we already have salvation. But, if we saw what we hoped for, there would no longer be hope : how can you hope for what is already seen? So, we hope for what we do not see, and we will receive it, through patient hope.

Monday, 25 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all called to reflect on the words we have heard reminding us to be faithful to God and to love Him as the same way as children are loving their parents, because we are God’s beloved children through baptism, by which all of us have been made sharers in God’s inheritance and received God’s grace and blessings, His love and providence.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome about the matter of following God and His ways, that all Christians as God’s own beloved sons and daughters ought to be truly faithful to Him and the commandments and laws which He has shown and given to them through the Church and its Apostles. They have been freed from the slavery of sin by God, and correspondingly should no longer subject themselves to the power and corruption of sin, and hence, they ought to live a life that is worthy of God.

St. Paul wrote this to the faithful in Rome with the context that there and elsewhere across the Mediterranean, in other communities of the faithful, quite a few of the Christian populations who were newly converted to the faith continued to practice pagan rituals and beliefs, and worse still, continue to live in a state of sin, full of debauchery and wickedness. Those behaviours and way of life were incompatible with the Christian faith, and in fact bring scandal upon the Church and the sanctity of our solemn faith and profession.

That is why, St. Paul reminded all of the people, and then, which includes all of us, that everyone who believe in God ought to be thoroughly converted to the path of God’s truth and righteousness. We must never allow our worldly desires and the many temptations to sin to bring and lead us to our downfall. If we are not careful, we may end up falling into those temptations and ended up sinning again, unless we make the conscious effort to reject Satan and his temptations for us to sin against God. We must realise just how blessed we are to have been beloved by God, and we should treasure how we have been saved by Him.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord and His healing of the woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, who had been suffering and tormented by her afflictions. And it was an evil spirit that forced her into that state. No one had been able to heal her, until that moment when she came before the Lord, and the Lord noticing her, had pity on her and showed her His most generous mercy, healed her by likely casting out the evil spirit that had tormented and troubled her. He made her whole again and liberated her.

Yet, the officials of the synagogue and the members of the Pharisees who were present there criticised the Lord for having done the healing on the day of the Sabbath, which to them was against their very strict interpretation of the Law of God. The Lord immediately rebuked them and pointed out the folly and illogical nature of their argument and their rigid attitude, as double standard quickly appeared when comparing how the people untied their donkey and oxen even on the Sabbath to provide for their needs, while the suffering woman had to wait to be healed, if the Lord had acted in the manner desired by the Pharisees and the synagogue officials.

Instead, the Lord through His action showed us that we are all truly precious for Him, as His lost sheep that He has gathered again from among the nations, from all those scattered and spread far and wide, and we are all His beloved ones that He would do nothing less than give His own life in exchange for our salvation. Through His Cross, Christ has suffered and died a most terrible, humiliating and painful death, all for our sake, that we may have new life through Him, and share in His glorious Resurrection and the eternal life promised to us.

Having been beloved in such a way, brothers and sisters in Christ, are we still willing to allow ourselves to be commanded and misguided by our desires, and by the temptations to sin? Having been rescued and redeemed from our sins, are we still insisting on following a path of sin and evil, in disobedience against God? Are we still stubborn in our refusal to open our hearts and minds, in order to welcome Him into them, that He may dwell in us and we may be made wholesome like that suffering woman? Let us all carefully consider our path in life from now on, that we will walk in the presence and grace of God.

Let us all inspire and strengthen one another to live ever more faithfully in God’s path, and let us be exemplary in our every actions and interactions in life, so that all who see us, hear us and witness our works, will come to know the Lord and will know that we are truly His beloved children, and come to believe in Him as well. May God, our loving Father and Creator, continue to bless us and our good efforts and endeavours, all for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 25 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 10-17

At that time, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years, so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then He laid His hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight and praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!”

But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath, and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”

When Jesus said this, all His opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful things that happened because of Him.

Monday, 25 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 67 : 2 and 4, 6-7ab, 20-21

Arise, o God, scatter Your enemies; let Your foes flee before You. But let the righteous be glad and exult before God; let them sing to God and shout for joy.

Father of orphans and Protector of widows – such is our God in His holy dwelling. He gives shelter to the homeless, sets the prisoners free.

Blessed be the Lord, God, our Saviour, Who daily bears our burdens! Ours is a God Who saves; our YHVH lets us escape from death.

Monday, 25 October 2021 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 8 : 12-17

Then, brothers, let us leave the flesh and no longer live according to it. If not, we will die. Rather, walking in the spirit, let us put to death the body’s deeds, so that we may live. All those who walk in the Spirit of God are sons and daughters of God.

Then, no more fear : you did not receive a spirit of slavery, but the spirit that makes you sons and daughters, and every time, we cry, “Abba! (this means Dad!) Father!” the Spirit assures our spirit, that we are sons and daughters of God. If we are children, we are heirs, too. Ours will be the inheritance of God, and we will share it with Christ; for, if we now suffer with Him, we will also share glory with Him.

Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday all of us mark the occasion of the World Mission Sunday, reminding all of us that all of us as Christians are called to be missionaries of our faith, of the truth and love of God. All of us through our baptism have received this mission from the Lord, the same mission that all of us share in our Christian faith, and we must never have the thinking that only those who are called as missionaries or those who are members of the ordained or the religious brothers and sisters who are called to a life of mission for God.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Book of the prophet Jeremiah, the words of the Lord proclaiming His care and love for His people, in gathering all of them, scattered from among the nations and lost, humiliated and without a leader, as He would become their Lord and guide once again, and reunite them into the land that He would lead them into. And this was the promise and reassurance that the Lord made to His people, who at that time were in the midst of the lowest points of their fortunes, surrounded and oppressed by their neighbouring nations.

At that time, the prophet Jeremiah ministered to the people of God in Judah, at the last years of its existence, after the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians for over a century previously, and its people exiled and scattered among the nations. Judah would also follow suit shortly as it was attacked, its capital Jerusalem besieged and destroyed by the Babylonians, and most of the populations brought off into exile in Babylon and other placed, while some sought refuge in Egypt. All these happened during the lifetime and ministry of prophet Jeremiah.

Therefore, at that time, Jeremiah spoke the word of God in consoling and reassuring His people at the time of their great misfortune and misery. The Lord wanted all of them to know that He did not leave them alone, and He was always with them even through their darkest moments, and He sent to them Jeremiah to be the one to reveal to them His will, His intention and love. Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, Jeremiah was sent as not just a prophet but also as a missionary to reveal God’s truth and love to His people.

Then, in our psalm today this is reiterated again, as the song of joy speaks of how God brought back the exiles and all those people that had been scattered, and how they went in sorrow and God reunited them and returned them to their homeland in great joy. God had done great things for His people, and He came to them, seeking them, sending prophets, messengers as missionaries to find them and to reach out to them, and to touch their hearts and minds, to put in them once again the love and faith for God.

In our second reading today, we heard of the passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which, as repeatedly mentioned throughout that Epistle, the Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of all mankind and the whole world was presented as the High Priest of all, in presenting His offering on behalf of all of us, which is worthy for the atonement of all of our innumerable sins. That is because Christ acted as the High Priest of all, by offering the perfect and worthy offering, of Himself as the Sacrifice, the Lamb of God, put to death and slain on the Cross, which is His Altar.

Through this Epistle, the author of the Epistle, which was directed to the Jewish converts and other Jews among the people, both in Judea and around the world, wanted to tell all of them the same message that God has given their ancestors through the prophet Jeremiah. God loved all of them and wanted to be reunited with them, and as all of us had been separated from Him through sin, He sent us all the deliverance through His Saviour, Who is none other than His own beloved Son, Jesus Christ, born into this world, the Divine Word Incarnate that became our Light and Salvation.

This is the same Christ Who in our Gospel passage today heard the cries of Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, who was blind for a long time. He cried out for the Lord to have mercy on Him and to heal him from his affliction. And when the people around him scolded him and tried to silence him, he cried out all the louder, calling on the Lord, Who heard him perfectly and came to him. The Lord wanted to heal him and restore his sight, and asked the blind man if that was what he desired, and then healed his eyes, by the power of God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as I mentioned earlier at the start of today’s discourse, all of us are reminded through today’s Scripture passages of our mission as Christians, as those who have answered God’s call and received baptism to be members of His Church. All of us share this calling to be evangelistic and missionary in our lives, which is not just limited to those who have given themselves to the sacred orders or the consecrated life as religious brothers and sisters. The Lord calls on each and every one of us to play our part in the mission of the Church.

And how do we do that, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is why we have to recall what we have just heard in our Scripture passages today, as well as what we have just discussed and reflected just now. The Lord is calling us to do whatever we can, in our respective capacities and abilities, in whatever opportunities we have, in reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters, to show them the truth and love of God and to be exemplary and as inspirations in how each one of us ought to live out our lives as good and dedicated Christians.

That is the essence of the Lord’s Great Commission to all of us, His Church, as He proclaimed to His disciples just before He was about to ascend to Heaven, that they all are to go forth to the peoples of all the nations, and to make disciples of them, and to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the mission which the Lord has entrusted to all of us, for us to be His missionaries in this world, through our everyday living and our actions that lead many others to God and His salvation.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we celebrate this World Mission Sunday today, all of us must not be idle in living our Christian lives with true and genuine faith. We cannot be hypocrites who profess to believe in God and yet our actions show otherwise. Not only that it does not lead others towards God, but worse still, if our lives cause scandal to our faith, we can end up leading more people to leave the Church and to turn away from God’s truth and salvation. And with that, the responsibility for such event will hang heavily upon us.

We have to live our lives with faith, to reach out to the marginalised and those who are without hope and are downtrodden. Just like the Lord reassuring His people, gathering the lost and scattered ones back and calling on them to return to Him, and just as He has shown mercy and love on the blind man, healing Bartimaeus from his blindness, so all of us have also been called to follow Our Lord’s examples in love, in sharing this love He has for us, through us, with one another.

How do we do this? By genuinely loving our fellow brothers and sisters, and all those whom we encounter in life. We have to show our love for our loved ones, for our neighbours, friends and others, and even to acquaintances and strangers, and also, our enemies and those who hate us, that through our love and patience with them, we may even make them realise the errors of their ways, and be reconciled with them, just as the Lord had sought to be reconciled with us. It has to begin with us and our attitudes towards each other. As long as we are genuine in living our faith, then we are already good missionaries.

On this World Mission Sunday therefore, let us pray for one another, that we may be ever more effective and sincere missionaries of our Christian faith, that we may ever be more genuine in how we live up to our faith that we may always inspire more and more people to follow the Lord, and to touch the lives of more people, especially those who have not known or have distanced themselves from God. We should then also pray for those who have dedicated themselves especially to missionary work all over the world, all those who dedicated themselves to proclaim and teach the faith to diverse groups of peoples, both within and outside our Church communities.

May the Lord continue to be with us and guide us in our journey of faith and help us all to be good and dedicated missionaries that are committed to serve the Lord and His people daily, at all times. May God bless all of our good works, efforts and endeavours from now on, all for His greater glory, the holy mission of His Church for the salvation of souls. Amen.

Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 46-52

At that time, Jesus and His disciples came to Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to call out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!”

Many people scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying, “Take heart! Get up, He is calling you!” He immediately threw aside his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus.

Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, let me see again!” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.” And, immediately, he could see, and he followed Jesus along the road.

Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 5 : 1-6

Every High Priest is taken from among mortals and appointed to be their representative before God to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin. He is able to understand the ignorant and erring for he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he is bound to offer sacrifices for his sins as well as for the sins of the people.

Besides, one does not presume to take this dignity, but takes it only when called by God, as Aaron was. Nor did Christ become High Priest in taking upon Himself this dignity, but it was given to Him by the One Who says : You are My Son, I have begotten You today. And in another place : You are a Priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.

Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 125 : 1-2ab, 2cd-3, 4-5, 6

When YHVH brought the exiles back to Zion, we were like those moving in a dream. Then, our mouths were filled with laughter, and our tongues with songs of joy.

Among the nations it was said, “YHVH has done great things for them.” YHVH had done great things for us, and we were glad indeed.

Bring back our exiles, o YHVH, like fresh streams in the desert. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs and shouts of joy.

They went forth weeping, bearing the seeds for sowing, they will come home with joyful shouts, bringing their harvested sheaves.

Sunday, 24 October 2021 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, World Mission Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Jeremiah 31 : 7-9

For YHVH says this, “Shout with joy for Jacob; rejoice for the greatest of nations. Proclaim your praise and say : ‘YHVH has saved His people, the remnant of Israel!’”

“Look, I will bring them back from the land of the north, gather them from the ends of the earth, the lame and the blind, mothers and women in labour – a great throng will return. They went away weeping, they will return in joy. I will lead them by the streams of water, on a level path so that no one will stumble, for I am Israel’s Father and Ephraim is My firstborn.”