Wednesday, 26 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded through the Scripture passages we heard of the need for us to remain truly faithful to the Lord and not to be led down the wrong path by those who misunderstood and misrepresented the Law for various reasons. And one of these were the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, many of whom did not obey the Lord as they ought to have done as mentioned in our Gospel today as were many others.

In our first reading today, all of us heard of the exhortation from St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in the great city of Thessalonica, reminding all of them to remain true to the faith that they had received from him and from the other Apostles and the legitimate teachers of the faith and servants of God, and not to be swayed and misled by those who wanted to twist the truth and misuse Church teachings for their own selfish purposes.

At that time, and as how it would be in the early days of the Church, there were charismatic and influential people who would claim to have the better knowledge of the truth, or mixed the Christian truth with the other religious beliefs and causing confusion and misled many among the faithful into various heresies and syncretic, unorthodox and wicked false faith and ways, which in many occasions caused divisions among the faithful.

St. Paul therefore cautioned the faithful against all those who were leading them astray, exhorting them to remain faithful to the truth of the Church and the Gospels they have received. And the Lord Jesus warned His followers similarly as He told them not to follow the examples set by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. He told His followers on various occasions to listen to those teachers of the Law, but not to follow the way that they have practiced the Law.

And that is because the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were engrossed in focusing on the petty details in the Law, spending much of their time trying to force others to observe the Law as they had done, a very strict interpretation of this Law which unfortunately led them to be superficial in their faith. As they focused on the external applications of the Law, they became proud and liked to show off their piety to others, and even looking down on those whom they deemed to be less faithful and pious than they were.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is not the kind of faith that God wants from any one of us. Such faith is empty and meaningless, as faith and its actions, done without clear and proper grasp of the Law, and most importantly without the focus on God and without genuine love and commitment to God, are ultimately meaningless and leads to a faith that is stagnant, and even dead.

As Christians, all of us are therefore called to keep faithfully God’s commandments, and we are called to love Him first and foremost in our lives. Are we able to focus ourselves on God in this manner? Are we able and willing to trust in God wholeheartedly, and do not allow the temptations and falsehoods of the devil to affect us and lead us down the wrong path, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us all therefore renew our commitment, to love and serve the Lord with all of our strength, and commit ourselves day after day, filled with genuine and sincere love for Him, for His truth and putting our trust and faith in Him through His Church. Let us all also hold firmly to the truth and the teachings of the Holy Apostles, all the deposit of faith that have been passed down to us through the Church, and help one another to remain faithful and not be misled by the false ways of the world. May God bless us all and guide us in our journey, now and always. Amen.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 23 : 27-32

At that time, Jesus said to the people and to His disciples, “Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, beautiful in appearance; but, inside, there are only dead bones and uncleanness. In the same way, you appear religious to others, but you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness within.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets, and decorate the monuments of the righteous. You say : Had we lived in the time of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the blood of the prophets. So, you, yourselves, confess to be the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.”

“And now, finish off what your ancestors began!”

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 Thessalonians 3 : 6-10, 16-18

We command you, beloved, to stay away from believers who are living in idleness, contrary to the traditions we passed on to you. You know, how you ought to follow our example : we worked while we were with you. Day and night, we laboured and toiled so as not to be a burden to any of you.

We had the right to act otherwise, but we wanted to give you an example. Besides, while we were with you, we said clearly : if anyone is not willing to work, neither should that one eat.

May the Lord of peace give you His peace at all times and in every way. May the Lord be with you all. I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is my signature in all my letters. This is how I write. May the grace of Christ Jesus our Lord be with you.