Saturday, 24 October 2020 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we listened to the words of the Lord reminding us of the gifts that each of us have been given by God, and how we need to dedicate ourselves to Him or else, if we do not, we will be found wanting for our lack of faith, and for our lack of fruitfulness in that faith, as per what we heard of the Lord’s words in our Gospel passage today, that all those who sin and do not repent, and act in accordance with faith, will be condemned.

In our first reading today, we heard of the words of St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus in which he spoke of the various gifts and talents that God has given to us His people, in its variety of calling and missions entrusted to us. And through this, God wants us all to know that we are all as members of the same Church of God, must be active in living our faith and in committing ourselves to the mission God has entrusted to us. We must support each other in the fulfilment of the successful ministry of the Church.

Not everyone has been called to be priests, or missionaries, or married people with families, each and every one of us have our own respective calling in life. Each of us has been given unique sets of talents and abilities that we can use to fulfil these callings we have received from God, to touch the lives of others and to bring God’s love and light to one another. We can help one another as members of God’s Church, working in tandem to accomplish many things together.

St. Paul continued on in saying how Christ is the Head of the Church and all the faithful are parts of the same Body of Christ, that is the Church. As he spoke of how the parts of the Body are working together in tandem and cohesion with each other, therefore all of us are members of the Church ought to work together as well, cooperate and do our best in our respective capacities, that we may be able to coordinate our efforts for the greater glory of God and to fulfil the mission He has entrusted to all of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to us through the examples of the Galileans who died in the struggle between the Roman governor and the locals, and also those people who perished in the tower of Siloah. The Lord wanted to make examples of those cases known to the people who heard Him, that they perished not because of their own sins and misdeeds, and they did not perish just because they were more wicked but all would perish unless they repented from their sins.

This is to highlight to us all that we have to stay away from sin, and we have to do what we can as Christians, living our faith virtuously and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. We have to play our part as Christians in being part of the Body of Christ, in reaching out to our fellow brothers and sisters, as Christians, all committed to dedicate our time, effort and attention on serving the Lord to the best of our abilities. Are we willing and able to commit ourselves to do this?

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretians and also an Archbishop, renowned for his works in Cuba as the shepherd of the faithful. He was a dedicated shepherd who gave much of his effort and attention on his flock, caring for their needs and providing for them. St. Anthony Mary Claret was instrumental in his work and efforts in reaching out to his people, touching the lives of many and converting many to the faith.

When he was recalled to Spain to become the Queen of Spain’s confessor, St. Anthony Mary Claret continued to dedicate his life and efforts to serve the poor and care for those who are in need of spiritual guidance and help. He devoted much time and effort to establish schools and education for the people among other efforts. Through all these, we can see how St. Anthony Mary Claret had done with whatever has been placed under his power to contribute to the Church of God.

We can also do the same with our lives, brothers and sisters in Christ. And we are all called to follow the Lord as St. Anthony Mary Claret and the other saints had done, to give our very best in our respective capacities and callings in life, be it as those whom God had called to be His priests and missionaries, or as the members of the laity and all who have been called to lead good examples of Christian living in our families, showing how each and every one of us can serve the Lord together, and complement each other in our efforts. May God bless us all in our every good endeavours, for His greater glory, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 24 October 2020 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Luke 13 : 1-9

At that time, one day, some people told Jesus what had occurred in the Temple : Pilate had had Galileans killed, and their blood mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. Jesus asked them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this? No, I tell you. But unless you change your ways, you will all perish, as they did.”

“And those eighteen persons in Siloah, who were crushed when the tower fell, do you think they were more guilty than all the others in Jerusalem? I tell you : no. But unless you change your ways, you will perish as they did.” And Jesus continued, “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it, but found none. Then he said to the gardener, ‘Look here, for three years now I have been looking for figs on this tree, and I have found none. Cut it down, why should it continue to deplete the soil?’”

“The gardener replied, ‘Leave it one more year, so that I may dig around it and add some fertiliser; perhaps it will bear fruit from now on. But if it does not, you can cut it down.’”

Saturday, 24 October 2020 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 121 : 1-2, 3-4a, 4b-5

I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” And now we have set foot within your gates, o Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, just like a city, where everything falls into place! There the tribes go up.

The tribes of the Lord, the assembly of Israel, to give thanks to the Lord’s Name. There stand the courts of justice, the offices of the house of David.

Saturday, 24 October 2020 : 29th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Ephesians 4 : 7-16

But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore, it is said : When He ascended to the heights, He brought captives and gave His gifts to people. He ascended, what does it mean, but, that He had also descended to the lower parts of the world? He, Himself, Who went down, then ascended far above all the heavens, to fill all things.

As for His gifts, to some, He gave to be Apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, He prepared those who belong to Him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Then, no longer shall we be like children, tossed about by any wave, or wind or doctrine; and deceived by the cunning of people, who drag them along into error. Rather, speaking the truth, in love, we shall grow in every way, toward Him, Who is the Head, Christ. From Him, comes the growth of the whole body, to which a network of joints give order and cohesion, taking into account, and making use of, the function of each one. So, the body builds itself, in love.