Saturday, 20 October 2018 : 28th 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 the Lord Jesus reassured His disciples that He would be with them whenever they stood by Him and defended their faith. He would not abandon them, and would send His Holy Spirit to guide them and to inspire them in their words and their actions. Essentially, God was saying that, as long as His people remain faithful and true to Him, He would always be by their side.

This is important because there may just be moments when there would be times when the faithful had to endure rejection, persecution and oppression from worldly powers, governments, earthly forces, states, groups and others who disagreed and refused to believe in the Lord and in the Christian faith. And in such cases, there would indeed be so much persecution, pain and suffering, that the people of God might be tempted and pressured to give up their faith.

The devil is at work, through the power and dominion he had over the world, through sin, in order to bring mankind to ruin and into damnation. He is always ever busy trying to drag mankind’s souls into hell with him, by tempting us with the many offer of respite, pleasure, happiness, and freedom from pain and suffering, by showing us the alternative path he offered to us, which seems to be easier, less painful and less challenging.

But we all must realise that the path that the devil is leading us into, is one that leads into an eternity of suffering, pain and despair. If we follow in his path of rebellion and disobedience against God, then we may end up in hell, in the place prepared for the devil and for his fellow rebel angels, the evil spirits. The devil has done everything within his ability and power to bring about this fate to us, and he would even show us all sorts of lies and tempting offers just in order to achieve this.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on our lives thus far, and see how we have reacted thus far in the face of difficulties, challenges and all the troubled that we have faced. Have we easily given up faith and our beliefs in the face of trouble? Or have we instead allowed ourselves to be easily swayed by the demands of the world when we encounter those troubles in life?

That was exactly why many of us Christians fell into the dangerous trap of relativism in how we lived our lives. What does this mean? It means that we allow ourselves to be swayed by the forces of those temptations and pressures in living our lives, and we have no standing in our faith, no anchor in which we may remain firm despite the attacks and the challenges being made against us each day after another.

We are often worried because there would be times when we despair, and think that siding with the Lord gains us nothing or that we will lose many of the things that we are concerned about. But this is when we really need to have faith in God, and believe that He is there, watching over us and guiding us, and that He will eventually triumph, against all those who are trying to bring about our ruination and destruction. We must have this hope in God, Our Lord and Our King.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all trust in the Lord, and deepen our relationship with Him, that we may come to know more of what it is that He wills of us, in His plans for us, going forth in our lives, and that we may become more reassured and firm in our faith, knowing that God has triumphed against Satan and all the forces of evil, who have been condemned for eternity in hell, and there is nothing that they can do to us, as long as we remain firmly rooted in God and in His truth.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to empower us and give us the courage to live our lives with faith, from now on, that we will be able to stand up for our faith and be beacons of truth to all those who see us and our actions, so that they too may come to believe in God by what we have done in our lives, in obedience to God’s will. May the Lord bless us all and protect us from all harm. Amen.

Saturday, 20 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 12 : 8-12

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges Me before people, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the Angels of God. But the one who denies Me before others will be denied before the Angels of God. There will be pardon for the one who criticises the Son of Man, but there will be no pardon for the one who slanders the Holy Spirit.”

“When you are brought before the synagogues, and before governors and rulers, do not worry about how you will defend yourself, or what to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you have to say.”

Saturday, 20 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 8 : 2-3a, 4-5, 6-7

O YHVH, our YHVH, how great is Your Name throughout the earth! And Your glory in the heavens above. Even the mouths of children and infants exalt Your glory in front of Your foes.

When I observe the heavens, the work of Your hands, the moon, and the stars You set in their place – what is man, that You be mindful of him; the Son of Man, that You should care for Him?

Yet You made Him a little less than a god; You crowned Him with glory and honour, and gave Him the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet.

Saturday, 20 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Ephesians 1 : 15-23

I have been told of your faith and your affection toward all the believers, so I always give thanks to God, remembering you in my prayers. May the God of Christ Jesus our Lord, the Father of glory, reveal Himself to you, and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know Him.

May He enlighten your inner vision, that you may appreciate the things we hope for, since we were called by God. May you know how great is the inheritance, the glory, God sets apart for His saints; may you understand, with what extraordinary power, He acts in favour of us who believe.

He revealed His Almighty power in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and had Him sit at His right hand in heaven, far above all rule, power, authority, dominion, or any other supernatural force that could be named, not only in this world, but in the world to come as well. Thus has God put all things under the feet of Christ and set Him above all things, as Head of the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him, Who fills all in all.

Friday, 19 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to God’s reassurance and promise to His people, through His Apostle St. Paul, who in our first reading today, taken from the Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Ephesus, mentioned how those who have accepted the truth of Christ, have been chosen from among the nations and all the people, to be God’s own people.

And because they have been chosen, God would be with them, despite the challenges and difficulties they might face in their lives, and despite the pains and sufferings that they had to endure. This was reiterated by the Lord when He told them what is on our Gospel passage today. He told them that they should not fear or worry about the one who could only harm them in the body but has no power over the soul.

What the Lord meant was that, even though the difficulties and challenges might be great and seemingly insurmountable, but in the end, despite the challenges and pain, the hardships that the world was piling up upon them, but they must not stumble on the way or fall into the trap of temptation of the devil. The evil one does not desire the salvation of us mankind, and therefore, he is always trying his best to lure us away from God’s path by all means.

Many of the disciples and followers of Christ during the years of the early Church, during the time of the persecution by the Jewish and Roman authorities chose to give up their faith in place of safety and good treatment by the world. They chose to leave behind the sufferings that they endured when they adhered to the Christian faith, because of various reasons, either because they could not leave their family behind, or because of the same family that pressured them to abandon their faith, or the community which ostracised and persecuted all those who believed in God.

It was truly not an easy time to be a Christian, unlike many of us in the present day who are taking our faith for granted, living in the comfort and security of our own, often flourishing Christian communities. Thus, we have to understand the circumstances in which those Christians in the early Church, and in fact, even in our present day, where there are still our fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution and difficulties just because they believe in the Lord.

But we must not give up our faith, for to give up in order to gain the temporary respite of the world, the pleasures of life and the comfort of the lack of persecution, oppression and rejection, and worldly acceptance, is for us to abandon for eternity the salvation and eternal life that God offers only to those who remain true to Him and keep their faith in Him alive even in the midst of the darkest times and moments.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today, let us all look upon the examples of some of our holy predecessors, first of all, the Holy Canadian Martyrs, the Jesuit priests and missionaries who strove through the harsh conditions of the then wild lands of Canada, where winters were very cold, the wildlife vicious and living conditions harsh, on top of the opposition from the pagan tribesmen especially those who refused to accept the truth of the Scriptures.

There were those of the natives who were willing to listen to the Lord’s words and truth. They converted to the faith and became among the first Christians in that wild and harsh land. They established parishes and mission stations among the native peoples, and more and more came to believe in God despite the challenging times and circumstances. But they were attacked by those natives who opposed the missionaries’ efforts to evangelise to them.

That was where the Holy Canadian Martyrs, St. John Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues and their companions suffered martyrdom for their faith. They suffered greatly before they died, and they defended their faith to the end, even protecting those natives who have believed in the Lord and became the followers of Christ. They refused to abandon those sheep whom the Lord had entrusted to be their flock, to be under their care.

Meanwhile, today we also mark the feast of St. Paul of the Cross, who was a holy priest of God, who was the founder of the Passionists, a religious order of those who would want to dedicate themselves in a life of prayer and love towards God, by means of prayer and by charitable works among the community. St. Paul of the Cross emulated the good example for his brethren, in his generous works of mercy, his tireless efforts at evangelisation and in delivering the truth to the people.

St. Paul of the Cross showed us all how we ought to live our lives, filled with love for God and His people, just as the Holy Canadian Martyrs had also done, in their selfless and courage love for their flock, for those whom the Lord had called through them. These holy men of God have shown us what it truly means for us to be Christians, to be men for God and men for others. And we should put our trust in God in all things, that as long as we are faithful, God will always bless us and protect us in our journey of faith.

Let us ask the Lord for His guidance, and for strength and courage, that we may continue to live in faith, devoting ourselves from now on for the sake of God’s greater glory. Let us draw ever closer to the Lord and seek to love Him with ever greater devotion, day after day from now on. And may God continue to bless us all in our deeds and in all that we do. Amen.

Friday, 19 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 12 : 1-7

At that time, such a numerous crowd had gathered that they crushed one another. Then Jesus spoke to His disciples in this way, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered that will not be uncovered; or hidden, that will not be made known. Whatever you have said in darkness will be heard in daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places, will be proclaimed from housetops.”

“I tell you, My friends, do not fear those who put to death the body and, after that, can do no more. But I will tell you Whom to fear : Fear the One Who, after killing you, is able to throw you into hell. This One you must fear. Do you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? Yet not one of them has been forgotten by God. Even the hairs of your head have been numbered. Do not be afraid! Are you less worthy in the eyes of God than many sparrows?”

Friday, 19 October 2018 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Priests and Companions, Martyrs, and St. Paul of the Cross, Priest (Psalm)

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

Psalm 32 : 1-2, 4-5, 12-13

Rejoice in the Lord, you who are just, praise is fitting for the upright. Give thanks to Him on the harp and lyre, making melody and chanting praises.

For upright is the Lord’s word and worthy of trust is His work. The Lord loves justice and righteousness; the earth is full of His kindness.

Blessed is the nation whose God is YHVH – the people He has chosen for His inheritance. YHVH looks down from heaven and sees the whole race of mortals.