Tuesday, 23 November 2021 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the word of God in the Scriptures we are all reminded of just how small we are before God, and everything happens by God’s grace and will. Although we may not know it yet, but all things will happen as God willed and ordained it to be. And through what we have heard today, we are free to choose our course of action, in living our lives and whether we want to follow the Lord or not.

In our first reading today from the Book of the prophet Daniel we heard of the dream that king Nebuchadnezzar received from God. He saw in that dream a great statue made from different parts and materials, and then a very large boulder, a massive stone that came down upon the great statue and crushed it all to rubble. The king was anxious to find out the meaning of his dream, and eventually asked Daniel, the exiled Israelite for the explanation of his dream.

In Daniel’s detailed explanation that we heard in our first reading today, essentially he told Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of the Babylonian Empire and the conqueror of many nations that his kingdom, dynasty and dominion would not last very long and would soon fall and replaced by other kingdoms and rulers. And this was not just a mere false illusion or dream, as it would soon become a reality.

King Nebuchadnezzar was a very proud and vain ruler, as well as highly ambitious in his actions, desiring to subjugate more and more people and nations. He once built a great golden statue in his own image and demanded all of his numerous subjects to bow down, kneel and worship that golden statue, as if he made himself divine and like that of a god. Although this was not uncommon at that time, but the manner with which Nebuchadnezzar carried it out stood out from the others.

Hence, that vision was a clear reminder from the Lord to the proud Nebuchadnezzar, the very same one who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple of God built by King Solomon there, that his power and authority were not without bounds and limits. As haughty, prideful, arrogant and great he was, in the end, he was just a mortal man like any other. His time and his kingdom, no matter how glorious it was, would eventually be eclipsed by others.

In the end then there was that great boulder, a giant rock that destroyed everything. What was that? It was in fact reminiscent of what the Lord Himself told His disciples in our Gospel passage today. In that occasion, the Lord foretold the coming destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. That Temple was built by the returning exiles of Babylon, that returned after the destruction of the same Babylonian Empire that was established by King Nebuchadnezzar. It was enlarged and expanded by King Herod the Great, which building still happened during the ministry of the Lord, after many decades of construction.

And it would come to pass, all that the Lord had predicted. That Temple had become a symbol of pride for the Jewish leaders and in the end, became significant source of oppression and persecution for the true believers of Christ. The Temple authorities often made it very difficult for the disciples and the early Christian missionaries to do their work. However, their dominion and power did not last, and in the end, the Lord’s will and works prevailed.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is therefore a reminder for us that in the end, God has control over everything in this world and He has dominion over all things. We must not be haughty and prideful, thinking that we can do whatever we want without any need for concern and discernment. All that we say and do, we must understand that God is always around us, guiding us and leading us to do His will. But mankind often tried to do their own way, and many if not most of them eventually ended up being disappointed and failed.

Today, we should reflect on the lives of today’s saints, namely Pope St. Clement I and St. Columban the Abbot whose lives can be inspiration for us to live a worthy and God-centric Christian lives. We should be inspired by their faith and dedication, and do not allow our wicked and selfish desires to drive us to selfish and immoral actions that are against the will and teachings of God. Let us discern carefully our actions based on their examples.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the early successors of St. Peter the Apostle as the Pope and Vicar of Christ, as the Bishop of Rome and leader of the entire Universal Church. He was remembered for his great role in advancing the cause of the Church and in establishing solid foundations for the Church in various communities, by his numerous works and letters to the various Church communities all over Christendom. And he also died as a great martyr defending his faith under persecution from the Roman Emperors and government.

Meanwhile, St. Columban the Abbot was a renowned saint who was an Irish missionary credited with the foundation of several monasteries in mainland Europe among the Germanic successor kingdoms of the Western Roman Empire during the chaotic early years of the so-called Dark Ages. He worked hard among the people preaching about the Lord and building religious communities that quickly became popular and many joined those communities he established to seek God and His peace, and dedicating themselves and their lives to God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, these two saints in their own way have shown us how we ought to be living our lives as Christians, filled with love for the Lord and focus on Him, and not on our own selfish desires and ambitions. Let us all therefore discern carefully how we are going to proceed in our lives from now on, and seek to glorify the Lord by our lives to the best of our abilities. May God be with us all and may He strengthen each and every one of us, now and always. Amen.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Luke 21 : 5-11

At that time, while some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, “The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down.” And they asked Him, “Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”

Jesus said, “Take care not to be deceived, for many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am He; the time is near at hand!’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, do not be frightened; for all these things must happen first, even though the end is not so soon.”

And Jesus said, “Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen.”

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Daniel 3 : 57, 58, 59, 60, 61

All the works of the Lord, bless Him, praise Him, exalt Him forever.

Angels of the Lord, bless Him, praise and glorify Him forever.

Heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

All the waters above the heavens, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

All the powers of the Lord, bless the Lord; praise and exalt Him forever.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021 : 34th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs) or White (Abbots)

Daniel 2 : 31-45

Daniel said to king Nebuchadnezzar, “In your vision you saw a statue – very large, very bright; terrible to look at. Its head was of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. As you watched, a rock cut from a mountain, but not by human hands, struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay; smashing them.”

“All at once the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold crumbled into pieces, as fine as chaff on the threshing floor in summer. The wind swept them off and not a trace was left. But the rock that struck the statue became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.”

“That was the dream. Now the interpretation. You, o king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given dominion, strength, power and glory, and into whose hand He has placed humankind, the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, making you ruler over them. You are that head of gold.”

“After you, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise. Then a third kingdom, of bronze, will rule the whole world. Last shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; and just as iron breaks and crushes everything else, so will it break and smash all the others.”

“The partly-clay and partly-iron feet and toes mean that it will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of the iron, just as you saw iron mixed with clay. And as the toes were partly iron and partly clay, the kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak. Just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, the people will be a mixture but will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”

“In the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, never to be destroyed or delivered up to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and put an end to them; and it will endure forever. This is the meaning of your vision of a rock cut from a mountain not by human hands; the rock, which struck the statue and broke into pieces the iron, bronze, clay, silver and gold. The great God has shown the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation reliable.”