Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th 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 all reminded to be true followers of Christ, in all of the life which we have lived thus far, and to obey and listen to the will of God, as much as we are able to do it. This is an important reminder, as sometimes, we may end up living our lives and living our faith devoid of true understanding of what it is that God wants us to do in our lives.

In the first reading today, St. Paul wrote to the Church and the faithful in the city of Galatia, explaining to them, both to the Jewish and the Gentiles among the faithful, about what they should be doing in following God’s will and in obeying Him. The Jews, even among the Christians, at the time still thought that they had to obey the Law of Moses, all the accumulated and compiled traditions and customs of the Jewish people in its entirety.

And the inability to agree on whether the Christian faithful ought to follow the Jewish laws and customs or not, have divided the communities of the faithful in many places, including that of in Galatia. Some of the Jews wanted that all the faithful must obey the entirety of the laws and the customs of the Jews, while there those among the Jews and the disciples themselves who thought that it should not be the case.

But the Lord Himself made it clear to His people, through what He has revealed throughout His earthly ministry, and through what He has taught His disciples and the Apostles, and by the wisdom and understanding, truth and revelation bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit. The truth is that, to be followers of the Lord, then we must truly believe in Him, listen to Him, and keep all the commandments and do them in our own lives.

And the Lord said that His commandment is about love, first of all, the love of God with all of our hearts, minds and with our whole being fully immersed in the love of our loving Father and Creator, and then the same love which we ought to have for our fellow brothers and sisters, our fellow men, all brethren in the same God, our Father. It is not about a burden or an imposition of practices and traditions that were done, many of them, without understanding their real purpose and meaning.

Many of the people then just followed and obeyed the practices of the Law without knowing what they were for. For many of them, it ended up becoming a formality and something that is an obligation, and for some others, it was even worse, as they ended up making use of those practices and impositions of the Law, to advance their own selfish desires and positions, such as what was done by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

Many of us unfortunately also share the same blame in this manner, as many of us have not been truly and wholeheartedly faithful, in how we approach our obligations to the Lord as Christians. To us, we have received the fullness of truth, as according to St. Paul, in the same Epistle he had written to the Galatians, which should have set us free from our bonds and from our old ways of sin. But many of us have not allowed God’s truth to set us free.

And that is because of our own inability to resist the temptations to sin and to keep on falling again and again into our sinful ways, and despite the reminders and calls which the Lord made to us, many of us are often still too stubborn to accept His calls deep in our hearts. Now, are we willing to overcome these challenges and resolve to overcome this unwillingness to allow God to transform our lives for the better?

Let us all turn towards God, from now on, with all of our hearts, with our every efforts, and commit ourselves towards Him with a new resolution and courage in our hearts. Let us all strive to seek our focus and our source of unity and our salvation in God, our loving Lord and Father. May the Lord be with us throughout this journey, and guide us to His everlasting glory. Amen.

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 11 : 27-28

At that time, as Jesus was speaking, a woman spoke from the crowd and said to Him, “Blessed is the one who gave You birth and nursed You!”

Jesus replied, “Truly blessed are those who hear the word of God, and keep it as well.”

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 4-5, 6-7

Sing to the Lord, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek the Lord rejoice.

Look to the Lord and be strong; seek His face always. Remember His wonderful works, His miracles and His judgments.

You descendants of His servant Abraham, you sons of Jacob, His chosen ones! He is the Lord our God; His judgments reach the whole world.

Saturday, 13 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Galatians 3 : 22-29

But the Scriptures have declared, that we are all prisoners of sin. So, the only way to receive God’s promise is to believe in Jesus Christ. Before the time of faith had come, the Law confined us, and kept us in custody, until the time in which faith would show up. The Law, then, was serving as a slave, to look after us until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith.

With the coming of faith, we are no longer submitted to this guidance. Now, in Christ Jesus, all of you are sons and daughters of God, through faith. All of you, who were given to Christ through Baptism, have put on Christ. Here, there is no longer any difference between Jew or Greek, or between slave or freed, or between man and woman : but all of you are one, in Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Christ, you are of Abraham’s race and you are to inherit God’s promise.

Friday, 12 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened first to the exhortation from St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in the city of Galatia, where he mentioned how all those who believe in God, and did what the Lord has asked them to do, are considered as the sons and daughters of Abraham, the one who is widely considered as our father in faith. This must be understood in the context of the attitudes of the Jewish people, even those who lived in the diaspora.

Many of the Jews still upheld the view that they were the chosen people and race of God, who were descended from Abraham, and therefore, were partakers of the Lord’s promise and covenant, and in some ways, superior and better than that of the pagans and the non-Jewish people, or the Gentiles. And some of these people were among those who opposed the works of St. Paul and his fellow disciples of the Lord, in their evangelising mission.

That was why St. Paul rebuked the attitudes and mentioned that despite their thinking that the title of the children of Abraham belonged to them alone, but in reality, Abraham’s true descendants were those who not only descended from him through flesh, but even more importantly, those who follow the same faith and live in the same way as that of Abraham. For, if one profess to be a descendant of Abraham and yet does not do what he has done, then truly, that person has scandalised Abraham’s faith.

The Lord Jesus also faced the same predicament during the time of His earthly ministry, as shown in today’s Gospel passage. The Lord Jesus was opposed by those who refused to believe in Him, slandering Him and saying all sorts of falsehoods against Him, even to the point of equating His actions with that of the prince of demons, Beelzebul. Then, the Lord rebuked them by saying that if the devil is divided in his own kingdom and among his own allies, then his dominion would have collapsed and be destroyed.

What the Lord Jesus meant when He said all of those words? First of all, He wanted to highlight that those people who thought of themselves as so righteous and just, and opposed the works of the Lord, are themselves causing the breaking and the division of the house of God, that is God’s people. At the time when they should all come together to believe in the common faith, instead they allowed the devil to come into their hearts and create divisions in them.

At the same time, the devil and his forces, instead of being divided among themselves, they are in fact, united in their purpose and desire to see us mankind fail and fall away from grace. Although each of them might clash or disagree on other matters, but in their common desire for the ruination of souls, the kingdom of Satan is fully united in this purpose. And that is why we must ever be vigilant, lest we allow our own ego, human desires, ambition and greed to make us fall.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, through what we have heard from the Scriptures, about what happened in the past to the community of the people of God, of the bitter division, disagreement and the refusal of some among them to receive the word and truth of God, and now, unfortunately, that is why even within our Church, there are many divisions and disagreements. Even among us Christians, many of us accuse one another and are often unhappy and angry towards our fellow brothers and sisters.

And this is what is unbecoming and unworthy of us as Christians, to be enemies to one another and to be divided to each other, as what the Lord has said, that a house divided within itself will not be able to stand. Our attitude towards each other is exactly what the devil needs in his efforts to bring down to ruin as many souls as possible, by weakening the Church and the unity of God’s people.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all strive to overcome these divisions and disagreements between us, by placing God once again at the centre and as the main focus of our lives. Let us put aside our differences, by resisting the temptations and the pull of our ego, human desires, greed and all sorts of things that have so far caused us to sin and to be divided against our fellow brethren.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to guide us in our path, and may He bless us all in our journey, that we may persevere throughout our efforts, and do our best to preserve the unity among ourselves, and be united in praising and glorifying Him, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 12 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Friday, 12 October 2018 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 110 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! I thank YHVH with all my heart in the council of the just, in the assembly. The works of YHVH are great and pondered by all who delight in them.

Glorious and majestic are His deeds, His righteousness endures forever. He lets us remember His wondrous deeds; YHVH is merciful and kind.

Always mindful of His Covenant, He provides food for those who fear Him. He shows His people the power of His arm by giving them the lands of other nations.