Tuesday, 10 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of God through the Scripture passages we heard reminding us of the need for each and every one of us as Christians to be truly devoted to God, and to be wholehearted in our commitment to love Him and to serve Him as His followers and disciples, into the lives of service He has called us into. He should be the centre and focus of our whole existence, and everything we say, act and do should be for the greater glory of His Name.

We should follow the example of the Apostles, the Twelve of whom God Himself has called to be His principal and most important disciples. He has called them from their various origins and backgrounds, some of them being fishermen, while others were intellectuals, a tax collector, a zealot and freedom fighter among others. But when He called them all, they left behind everything and followed Him.

Of course we know that not everyone remained faithful, as Judas Iscariot eventually betrayed the Lord for money to the chief priests and the elders, and St. Peter denied knowing the Lord when He was arrested, not just once but three times in total. And the other Apostles also fled in fear at that same time, abandoning the Lord in the hour of His greatest agony and suffering. Nonetheless, eventually all but Judas returned to the Lord with renewed faith.

All the Twelve Apostles, including St. Matthias who was included to their number replacing Judas Iscariot, except St. John the Apostle were martyred for their faith, after having spent many years and more in missionary journeys and works throughout many parts of the world, spreading the Good News of God and His truth to many people who have not yet had faith in Him or heard about His salvation.

Each and every one of them spent those years enduring difficulties and challenges, one after another, rejection and ridicule, persecutions and oppressions against them. The faithful people of God has also suffered a lot, and many martyrs came up from the early Church because of all those difficult challenges. And yet, they gave their all to God and devoted themselves wholeheartedly nonetheless.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all look at ourselves and our own lives. Can we truly be called as devout Christians in how we have lived our lives thus far? Can we truly consider ourselves as God’s faithful and committed disciples by our actions, words and deeds, or have we been rather distracted by the many temptations in life, or by the fear and apathy in our hearts and minds, preventing us from devoting ourselves to Him with all of our heart?

Many of us are often reluctant to dedicate ourselves more to the Lord, because of the many obstacles and reasons that keep us being distracted and unable to give more of ourselves to God. And we need to be aware of these obstacles and prevent them from causing us to fall into sin and disobedience towards God. We need to discern our path in life carefully, thinking of how we can better serve God in our respective capacity and making use of the various gifts and talents He has blessed us with.

Today each and every one of us are called to follow in the footsteps of the Apostles, spending our time, effort and attention to serve God and to follow Him through our every words, actions and deeds. Let us all spend this opportunity and time to think carefully about how we can follow the Lord more faithfully and truly put God first before everything else in our respective lives. Let us all be ever closer to God and be true Christians from now on. Amen.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 12-19

At that time, Jesus went out into the hills to pray, spending the whole night in prayer with God. When day came, He called His disciples to Him, and chose Twelve of them, whom He called ‘Apostles’ : Simon, whom He named Peter, and his brother Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James son of Alpheus and Simon called the Zealot; Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who would be the traitor.

Coming down the hill with them, Jesus stood in an open plain. Many of His disciples were there, and a large crowd of people, who had come from all parts of Judea and Jerusalem, and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon. They gathered to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And the people troubled by unclean spirits were cured.

The entire crowd tried to touch Him, because of the power that went out from Him and healed them all.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 144 : 1-2, 8-9, 10-11

I will extol You, my God and King; I will praise Your Name forever. I will praise You, day after day; and exalt Your Name forever.

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

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o YHVH, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom; and speak of Your power.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 2 : 6-15

If you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, let Him be your doctrine. Be rooted and built up in Him; let faith be your principle, as you were taught, and your thanksgiving, overflowing.

See that no one deceives you with philosophy or any hollow discourse; these are merely human doctrines, not inspired by Christ, but by the wisdom of this world. For in Him, dwells the fullness of God, in bodily form. He is the Head of all cosmic power and authority, and, in Him, you have everything.

In Christ Jesus, you were given a circumcision, but not by human hands, which removed completely from you the carnal body : I refer to baptism. On receiving it, you were buried with Christ; and you also rose with Him, for having believed in the power of God, Who raised Him from the dead.

You were dead. You were in sin and uncircumcised at the same time. But God gave you life with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He cancelled the record of our debts, those regulations which accused us. He did away with all that, and nailed it to the cross. Victorious through the cross, He stripped the rulers and authorities of their power, humbled them before the eyes of the whole world, and dragged them behind Him, as prisoners.