Sunday, 10 October 2021 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday as we listened to the words of the Sacred Scriptures, we are all presented with the words of God’s truth and wisdom, and to all of us God has presented a very important question for us to consider and think about, to ponder and to reflect as we live our lives in this world. This question is, ‘What is the most important thing in our lives?’ And also, ‘Is God important for us in our lives?’ These are the two simple questions that we should spend time pondering and reflecting on even as we discuss the meaning of today’s readings.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Wisdom, we heard the words of the author who spoke of his prayer and desire for Wisdom, the Wisdom, knowledge and understanding from God. The author of the Book of Wisdom told everyone that there is essentially nothing more valuable, worthy or great other than the truth of God, the gift of Wisdom that God has given to us all. The Wisdom of the Holy Spirit has been granted to us, and if only we appreciate this great gift in its fullness then we can understand just how precious this gift that we have received, but often overlooked, ignored and squandered.

In our second reading today, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author of this Epistle spoke about the Word of God that revealed all things in all mankind, Who pierced and penetrated deep into our hearts and minds, the Word of truth that illuminated all and knew all in us, and through which we have also received the same truth and the revelation from God. By welcoming the Word of God into our hearts, into our beings, we have opened ourselves to welcome the Wisdom of God and received the truth, and because of that, we should rejoice at what we have received.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you find the message of these readings to be rather cryptic and hard to comprehend, that is perhaps because we have not yet appreciated the truth of God that we have received through none other than Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour. Why is that so? Then we should recall how the Lord has given us Himself so completely for our sake, in emptying and humbling Himself, from all glory and power, and carrying His Cross, He endured all the wounds, sufferings and pains for our sake, that is to deliver us all from the torments of our sins.

God has revealed His love for us through His Son, that we who have once been destined to doom and damnation because of our sins and wickedness, have received the assurance of salvation and eternal life because of the enduring love that He has for us. His love for us is so great that He was willing to endure the most bitter and terrible punishments and pain just so that we may be freed from our enslavement by sin. He has not only sent His servants and messengers to remind us to turn back to the true path, but even came Himself into our midst to bring the truth to light and reveal them to us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and followers regarding the matter of what it means to follow Him and to dedicate themselves to Him. At that time, a man who had been dedicated and wholesome in his obedience to the Law of God asked the Lord what was it that he still needed to do in order to attain the kingdom of God. The Lord then responded by saying that what he needed to do was to sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the poor, leaving everything behind and then follow Him as His disciple. The man left in great sorrow as for him it was impossible to part from his great wealth.

Actually, before we think that the Lord asked or even demanded us to surrender all of our wealth and worldly possessions, that was not what He intended and we should not interpret everything just based on literal understanding. Rather, what He wanted to emphasise to the man and also to all of His disciples and also therefore all of us is that, in order to follow Him wholeheartedly, we must put Him first and foremost above all and every other things. We cannot allow our many attachments or even preoccupations with worldly matters, for fame, glory, wealth and influence to keep us away from God and His salvation.

In truth, the Lord is telling us that if we depend on worldly wisdom and power, on our own might and strength, then we shall falter and fall. It is only by trusting in His providence and entrusting ourselves to Him and His guidance that we shall find our way to true glory and happiness, which we cannot find through other means. This truth has been given to us, and the Lord Himself has revealed to us through His Church, and the Holy Spirit has also been sent to our midst to be our Advocate, our Helper and our Guide. He has given us Wisdom, and yet, are we willing to accept His Wisdom into our hearts and minds?

In the same way, have we let the Word to enter into our hearts? The Word of God, Christ Himself, Incarnate in the flesh, Who has given Himself, His Most Precious Body and Blood to us in the Eucharist? We may have accepted and received Him, but have we truly believed and have that faith we ought to have in Him? Have we committed ourselves to the Lord above all else, and resist the many temptations of worldly pleasures and glory, of fame and influence among other things that kept us away from truly being able to follow the Lord?

This Sunday, let us all spent some time to discern carefully, and to pray for the gift of Wisdom and for God to strengthen us all through the Holy Spirit, Whom He has sent to us to be our Guide and Helper. Let us all grow ever more in faith, and allow God to lead us down the path of righteousness, and no longer seeking just the temporary and impermanent pleasures of this world. Rather, let us seek the Lord and our true inheritance and glory in Him. May the Lord continue to guide us and bless us in our every efforts and endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Sunday, 10 October 2021 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Mark 10 : 17-30

At that time, just as Jesus was setting out on His journey again, a man ran up, knelt before Him and asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments : Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, honour your father and mother.” The man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments since my childhood.”

Then Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him and He said, “For you, one thing is lacking. Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow Me.” On hearing these words, his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God” The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus insisted, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were more astonished than ever and wondered, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked steadily at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible with God.”

Peter spoke up and said, “We have given up everything to follow You.” Jesus answered, “Truly, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters, or father or mother, or children, or lands, for My sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive his reward.”

“I say to you : even in the midst of persecution, he will receive a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and lands in the present time, and in the world to come eternal life.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Mark 10 : 17-27

At that time, just as Jesus was setting out on His journey again, a man ran up, knelt before Him and asked, “Good Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus answered, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments : Do not kill, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not cheat, honour your father and mother.” The man replied, “I have obeyed all these commandments since my childhood.”

Then Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him and He said, “For you, one thing is lacking. Go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow Me.” On hearing these words, his face fell and he went away sorrowful, for he was a man of great wealth.

Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God” The disciples were shocked at these words, but Jesus insisted, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were more astonished than ever and wondered, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked steadily at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God; all things are possible with God.”

Sunday, 10 October 2021 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hebrews 4 : 12-13

For the Word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It pierces, to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and judges the intentions and thoughts of the heart.

All creation is transparent to Him; everything is uncovered and laid bare, to the eyes of Him, to Whom we render account.

Sunday, 10 October 2021 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 89 : 12-13, 14-15, 16-17

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o YHVH? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. Make joy endure, as the misery did, and the years in which we were afflicted.

Let Your work be seen by Your servants and Your glorious power by their children. May the sweetness of YHVH be upon us; may He prosper the work of our hands.

Sunday, 10 October 2021 : Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Wisdom 7 : 7-11

I prayed and understanding was given to me; I asked earnestly and the Spirit of Wisdom came to me. I preferred her to sceptres and thrones and I considered wealth as nothing compared with her.

I preferred her to any jewel of inestimable value, since gold beside her is nothing but a few grains of sand, and silver but mud. I loved her more than wealth and beauty and even preferred her to light, because her radiance never dies.

She brought with her all other good things, untold riches in her hands.