Thursday, 10 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the word of God in the Scriptures, warning us against believing in the false prophets of doom and all those who claimed to know of the coming of the kingdom of God, when the Lord Jesus Christ comes again in glory at the end of time, in order to claim all those who have been faithful to Him and bring them into the glorious eternal life.

These are false prophets, brothers and sisters in Christ, and some even perhaps acted in the conjunction with the devil, for he wants to confuse us and sow divisions among us, by sowing the seeds of uncertainty and fear in us. They divided us and brought us to false paths, so that for the sake of their own desires and wishes, they have misled many souls even into eternal damnation.

This is a reminder for each and every one of us as Christians, that we should not let these false shepherds to misguide us and to lead us to the wrong paths. And God had provided help for us in that case, by establishing His solid foundation in this world, His own Body, consisting of all of us the faithful people of God, that is the Church, which had endured all sorts of tribulations in the past many centuries, weathering through falsehoods and lies, heresies and waywardness.

And that is why we should adhere strongly to the ways of our faith, to the truth espoused in the teachings of the Church, which is the teachings passed down to us from the Apostles themselves, who disseminated them through their successors to our bishops and priests, and they themselves received those truth and teachings from none other than their Master, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate the memory of one of the great saints, who was once the one at the helm of the great Church, leading all of the faithful people of God through the world and its temptations and troubles. Pope St. Leo I or Pope St. Leo the Great was a leader of the early Church during the middle years of the fifth century after the birth of Christ as the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, Vicar of Christ and Bishop of Rome.

Pope St. Leo the Great was perhaps more well-known for his role in mediating peace between the Roman Empire at that time with the marauding Hun invaders, where it was told that he came out by himself out from the city of Rome to speak to the King of the Huns, Attila, who was infamous for his great cruelty and aggressiveness. It was told that at that time, a great vision of the Lord created great fear among the Huns and their king, and they withdrew from Rome and from the territories they have conquered and pillaged.

That story was relatively well-known, and the role of Pope St. Leo the Great in saving Rome and its people were recognised, but what is often not known and remembered is his great achievement and contribution in combatting and opposing heretical and false teachings in the Church, through his many writings and works supporting the true teachings of the Church, upholding the divine and human nature of Christ again those heresies who claimed that Jesus was a mere Man or just mere God with separate natures.

He courageously spread the true teachings of our faith even when there were those who were opposed to him. By persuasion and his hard work, he helped to steer the Church through those difficult and turbulent times, riddled with challenges, false prophets and false teachings, and in the end, the Church and the faithful persevered through until this very day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the challenges we face today are the same as what Pope St. Leo the Great faced during his time. Heresies, false teachings and other aberrations are still abound today, trying to tempt us away from reaching out towards God’s salvation and grace. Following in the footsteps of Pope St. Leo the Great, we all should be role models for each other, adhering closely to the Church and its teachings, and help one another to resist the temptations and the reject the falsehoods spread by the devil designed to mislead us into our downfall.

May the Lord help us and keep us always in His grace, blessing us with His love and tender mercy, so that each and every one of us will always be in His favour and grace, and in the end of the day, we may together raise to the glorious life He had intended for us, for those who have remained true and faithful to Him. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 10 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 10 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 145 : 6c-7, 8-9a, 9bc-10

The Lord is forever faithful; He gives justice to the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord straightens the bent. The Lord loves the virtuous, but He brings to ruin the way of the wicked. The Lord protects the stranger.

The Lord sustains the widow and the orphan. The Lord will reign forever, your God, o Zion, from generation to generation. Alleluia!

Thursday, 10 November 2016 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Philemon 7-20

I had great satisfaction and comfort on hearing of your charity, because the hearts of the saints have been cheered by you, brother. Because of this, although in Christ I have the freedom to command what you should do, yet I prefer to request you in love. The one talking is Paul, the old man, now prisoner for Christ. And my request is on behalf of Onesimus, whose father I have become while I was in prison.

This Onesimus has not been helpful to you, but now he will be helpful both to you and to me. In returning him to you, I am sending you my own heart. I would have liked to keep him at my side, to serve me on your behalf while I am in prison for the Gospel, but I did not want to do anything without your agreement, nor impose a good deed upon you without your free consent.

Perhaps Onesimus has been parted from you for a while so that you may have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but better than a slave. For he is very dear brother to me, and he will be even dearer to you. And so, because of our friendship, receive him as if he were I myself.

And if he has caused any harm, or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, write this and sign it with my own hand : I will pay it…. without further mention of your debt to me, which is you yourself. So, my brother, please do me this favour for the Lord’s sake. Give me this comfort in Christ.