Saturday, 4 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded of the need for us to be truly faithful to the truth of the Lord and we have to follow Him, obey Him and truly love Him in all that we do in our lives, by the true obedience and commitment to His path. All of us have been called by the Lord to be His disciples, and we are all reminded not to be idle or to pay merely lip service to Him.

In our first reading today, we heard about the reminders from the Apostle St. Paul to the faithful and the people of the Church in Colossae, the Colossians, that they all have been rescued by God from their sinful existence, and God had redeemed all of them. Therefore, as is right and just, they should all commit themselves to the Lord and His path, to be righteous and worthy of God in all things, so that in the way that they lived their lives, they may be truly exemplary.

St. Paul exhorted the Colossians to stand firm in their faith and in the hope that they all have in the Lord. He called on all of them to keep the Gospel and the truth which they had received from the Lord. He called on all of them to live in the manner that they had been expected to live, to be good role models in faith and to be inspiration for many others to follow. He encouraged them all not to be swayed by worldly temptations or by any fears that could prevent them from finding their true path in the Lord.

Then, in our Gospel passage today, we heard of the Lord speaking to Pharisees who asked Him regarding the behaviour of His disciples who picked up and crushed grains of wheat for them to eat during the day of the Sabbath. The Pharisees asked this because the Sabbath day was a day of great importance, and which according to the Law of God and particularly in its interpretation by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, in which there should not be any activities or work by the people.

However, as mentioned by the Lord, the true intention of the Lord in giving this Law to the people was not to prevent them from doing all work, but rather to do our best not to allow the distractions of worldly temptations and desires to lead us down the path of hypocrisy and selfishness. The Lord wants each and every one of us to be truly faithful, and appreciate the full meaning and intention of the Law, in it is spirit and not just in the letter of the Law.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law for example, observed the Sabbath strictly as were most others at Jesus’ time, and yet, many of them ignored the plight of the sick and the needy, and by using the Sabbath as an excuse, they even criticised the Lord in other occasions for performing His healing miracles, that instead of rejoicing at the wonderful deeds of the Lord, they took pride instead at their way of observing and obeying the Law which they likely valued more than their love for the Lord.

It does not mean that they did not love the Lord or did everything in the wrong way. Instead, what the Lord meant is that, their fixation and overemphasis on the procedures and practices rather than understanding the whole meaning and significance of the Sabbath prevented them from truly observing the Law in the right way. They did what was asked of them superficially, but spiritually, within their hearts, they were lacking true and genuine faith that they ought to have for the Lord.

Now, the question is, are we all doing the same with our own lives as well, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we doing things the wrong way in how we live up to our faith? Are we all following God wholeheartedly or are we merely fulfilling the commandments and rules because of obligation and wanting to do what we have to do? Or are we truly and sincerely being faithful to the Lord? Are we able to commit ourselves with true love and commitment, and are we capable to dedicating ourselves each and every moment with zeal for God?

Let us all devote our time and effort from now on, and let us commit ourselves to walk in the path of the Lord, and be genuine in our deeds and actions, and be inspirational and exemplary so that through us, more and more may be convinced to believe in the Lord, and through us, they may be saved together with us. May the Lord be with us always, and may He bless us in our every deeds and in our every endeavours and good works. Amen.

Saturday, 4 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 6 : 1-5

At that time, one Sabbath Jesus was going through a field of grain, and His disciples began to pick heads of grain, crushing them in their hands for food. Some of the Pharisees asked them, “Why do you do what is forbidden on the Sabbath?”

Then Jesus spoke up and asked them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his men were hungry? He entered the house of God, took and ate the bread of the offering, and even gave some to his men, though only priests are allowed to eat that bread.”

And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord and rules over the Sabbath.”

Saturday, 4 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 53 : 3-4, 6 and 8

By Your Name, o God, save me; You, the Valiant, uphold my cause. Hear my prayer, o God; listen to the words of my mouth.

See, God is my Helper; the Lord upholds my life. Freely will I offer sacrifice to You, and praise Your Name, o YHVH, for it is good.

Saturday, 4 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Colossians 1 : 21-23

You, yourselves, were once estranged, and opposed to God, because of your evil deeds, but now, God has reconciled you, in the human body of His Son, through His death, so that you may be without fault, holy and blameless before Him.

Only stand firm upon the foundation of your faith, and be steadfast in hope. Keep in mind the Gospel you have heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Friday, 3 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the Word of God from the Scriptures, we are all called to remember that we are part of God’s One Church, the One Body of Christ, which is made from the unity of all those who are faithful to God and believe in Him, and with whom God Himself has established a New Covenant through Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, His Son. He has united us to Himself through Christ, Who became the Mediator of the New Covenant and the Head of the living Church.

In our first reading today, that was what St. Paul highlighted in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Colossae on Christ being the Head of the Church and the One through Whom the Lord had endeavoured to save His people, by His suffering and death on the Cross, His Passion and then His Resurrection, risen from the dead, so that all of us who share in His humanity, and who believe in Him wholeheartedly shall receive from Him the assurance of eternal life and true joy and glory.

However, in order for us to be His true disciples, and to be able to wholeheartedly believe in Him, all of us need to heed what He Himself had mentioned to His disciples as we heard in the Gospel passage today, when He taught them using the parable of the wine and the wineskins, and the cloth and the patches. Through that parable, the Lord wanted to make it clear that following Him would require a fundamental change of heart and attitude, and we have to embrace His truth and teachings with true sincerity and devotion.

Just as the people at that time knew that old wineskin cannot be used to store new wine, and neither can new wineskin be used to store old wine, as they are incompatible, and just as old torn cloth cannot be repaired by new patch of fabric and vice versa, therefore, the Lord’s path and His truth is something that is not compatible with our sinful and wicked ways, the path that the world has shown us. As long as we continue to act in ways that are aligned with the excesses and wickedness of our old, sinful ways, then we cannot be truly worthy of the Lord.

And how is this then related to what we have heard in our first reading today? As the Lord is the Head of the Church and we, as Christians, we are all members of the same Body of Christ, this very Church, then it is imperative that we have to align and harmonise ourselves with the Lord. Otherwise, if we profess to believe in the Lord and yet act in a totally contradictory manner, then are we not causing a scandal for the Church, and not only that, but we are even besmirching the good Name of the Lord? That is why each and every one of us must do our best, as we are reminded today, to be faithful in all things.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we all willing to embrace the Lord and His path wholeheartedly? Are we willing to commit ourselves to Him and be united with Him not just in mere words or formality, but truly sincerely from the deepest parts of our hearts. Are we willing and able to commit our effort, our time and attention to Him and do whatever we can, even in the smallest of things, to be good and faithful disciples, embracing God’s truth and love in all things, that we may be ever exemplary in our Christian living.

Today, all of us can get the inspiration from a great servant of God whose feast we are celebrating today. Pope St. Gregory the Great was a very well-known Pope, a great Leader of the Universal Church, and a great Reformer of the Church and the faith. The Lord has shown us in this faithful servant of His, what it truly means for us to follow the Lord with all of our hearts, and through his life, Pope St. Gregory the Great also showed us what it means for us to walk faithfully in God’s presence, to be obedient to Him and to be exemplary in our own way of living.

Pope St. Gregory the Great was remembered for his many and immense efforts in advancing the cause of the Church, in reaching out to the pagans and the many peoples who have not yet heard of God, in his many works, writings and letters to various members of the Church and the faithful. He sent many missionaries to places like England and Germany, which helped to establish a firm foundation of the Church and the faith in those places. He was also remembered for his leadership and guidance of the local Roman Church just as he was well-respected for his leadership of the Universal Church.

Pope St. Gregory the Great was also remembered for his role in reforming the Church, its administration as well as its way of worshipping God, by regulating the liturgical practices of the Church, and he was often credited as the one who laid the foundation of the Church music especially in the Western Christendom, of what would be known later on and today as the Gregorian Chant. He helped to reform many other aspects of the Church and helped many parts of the Church to develop and grow spiritually, and through his many efforts and contributions, the Lord’s Church grew greatly and prospered.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, Pope St. Gregory the Great has shown us all what it means to be a faithful and dedicated Christian, to be committed to the path of the Lord and to adapt a way of life that is compatible to the Lord. Are we willing and able to follow him and his examples? Let us all ourselves this question as we discern how we are going to live our lives from now on. And may the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us, that we may always strive to do our very best, in whatever we do, to be God’s holy and worthy people. Amen.

Friday, 3 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 33-39

At that time, some people asked Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it, that Your disciples eat and drink?”

Then Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the Bridegroom is with them. But later, the Bridegroom will be taken from them; and they will fast in those days.”

Jesus also told them this parable : “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new coat will be torn, and the piece taken from the new coat will not match the old coat. No one puts new wine into old wine skins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilt, and the skins will be destroyed as well.”

“But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet, no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.’”

Friday, 3 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 4, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His Name.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Friday, 3 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Colossians 1 : 15-20

He is the image of the unseen God, and for all creation, He is the Firstborn, for, in Him, all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : thrones, rulers, authorities, powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together, in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the first, the first raised from the dead, that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him, God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God established peace, on earth as in heaven.

Thursday, 2 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day as we listened to the words of the Scripture, all of us are called to live our lives in an exemplary Christian way, and to be worthy of God by following the path that He Himself has shown us. And we are also called to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters, and be part of the Church’s evangelising mission, in calling more and more people to believe in the Lord and His truth, of which the best way is by our living our lives worthily, as true and genuine Christians.

In our first reading today, we heard the words of St. Paul the Apostle as he exhorted the faithful to to lead a lifestyle and to act in accordance with the way of the Lord, that they do not fall into temptations and remain faithful in all things, and to persevere through the difficulties and the challenges that we may face through life. We must be careful and wary lest those difficulties and challenges deter us from doing what we can and should do as Christians, in showing our faith and love for God and our fellow men alike.

In our Gospel passage today, we then heard of the moment when the Lord called some of His Twelve Apostles, as He was at the Lake Gennesaret or the Lake of Galilee, in which the four fishermen had been spending long hours the previous night in order to catch fish without any success. As the Lord saw those fishermen, Simon and his brother Andrew, and the brothers James and John, He told them to try and reach out for fishes again, despite their fruitless search over the past night.

He told them all to ‘put out into the deep waters’ and lower their nets there. Although they were skeptical at first and told the Lord that they had not found anything despite all night efforts, they obeyed in the end, and immediately, there were so many fishes trapped in the nets that it almost made the fishing boats to sink under their weight. Those four fishermen, amazed by what they had witnessed, believed in the Lord, chose to abandon their fishing trade and followed Him, becoming the first of the Lord’s disciples.

What we have just heard in our Scripture passage today is actually a symbolic representation of what each and every one of us are called to do as Christians, that is to listen to the Lord and to obey His will, by allowing Him to lead us and to help guide us in what we should do, just as He has told the fishermen, the future four disciples and Apostles to reach out and put their nets our into the deep waters. We have to do what the Lord has asked us to do, and trust in Him in the path that He is leading us through.

It is often that we are not able to gain true success in what we are doing, simply because we trust more in our own strength and powers rather than to listen to the Lord. We do things in our own way, and some of us are stubborn even after the Lord has shown us advice and guidance. Instead, we should be like the Apostles who listened to the Lord even though they had reservations and doubts earlier on. They chose to follow the Lord, and they saw the benefit in doing so.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the same time we are all also reminded that we should not be afraid to reach out beyond our comfort zone, which is when the Lord mentioned ‘to go and put out in the deep waters’. Too often many of us are hesitant to follow the Lord because we are afraid of the risks and we are more concerned about our safety and needs. And this is also because we did not have enough trust and faith in the Lord. If only we can trust in the Lord more, then surely we can even do many things we might have think to be impossible.

The question is, are we all willing to commit ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly? Are we willing to entrust ourselves to His care and providence, and are we capable of walking down this path that the Lord has shown us with faith? Each and every one of us have been entrusted by the Lord with specific mission and responsibility in life, and as St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle in our first reading today, all of us are called to lead a life that is worthy of God, to be faithful and committed to Him, and to be exemplary in all things.

May the Lord continue to bless us and guide us in all things, and may He strengthen each and every one of us so that we may always persevere in faith, and will not easily give in to worldly temptations. May He remain with us all and may He bless us all in our every good efforts and endeavours, at all times, now and always, forevermore. Amen.

Thursday, 2 September 2021 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 5 : 1-11

At that time, one day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around Him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats, left at the water’s edge by fishermen, now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat, and continued to teach the crowd.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if You say so, I will lower the nets.” This they did, and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. They signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and they filled both almost to the point of sinking.

Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made, and so were Simon’s partners, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on.” So they brought their boats to land and followed Him, leaving everything.