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!”