Saturday, 26 January 2019 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of two important figures in the early Church, the followers of Christ and the protege of St. Paul the Apostle whose conversion to the faith we have just celebrated the day before. St. Timothy and St. Titus were two early bishops and leaders of the Church, to whom St. Paul had written one Epistle to each one of them, relating to them the matters about the faith and the governance of the Church.

To them St. Paul emphasised on the gift of the Holy Spirit which God had bestowed on the Apostles, and which then was passed on to the successors of the Apostles, which included St. Timothy and St. Titus, among the first bishops of the Church together with the earliest followers of Christ. In this we saw how the Lord performed His wonderful works among His people, continuing the mission which He had entrusted to His Church.

In the Gospel passage today, we heard about the moment when Lord Jesus sent forth His followers and disciples ahead of Him, the first seventy-two disciples on top of the Twelve Apostles He had chosen. These were sent in order to prepare the path for His coming, as they were sent to the towns and villages to where the Lord Himself would be travelling. They were sent to proclaim the Good News and to bring the truth of God’s salvation to His people.

And this work did not end with the Passion, suffering and death of the Lord on the cross. For after He had risen from the dead, He appeared to His disciples, emphasising the same mission which He had entrusted to His Church, all of His followers and disciples for them to carry out, for the salvation of all mankind, of as many souls as possible. And before He ascended into heaven, He commanded them all to go forth to the nations, proclaiming the Good News and to baptise all the people in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This was the same mission which St. Paul and the other Apostles then entrusted to St. Timothy and St. Titus, as were many other bishops who had been chosen from among the faithful, to be the shepherds in charge of the local communities of God’s faithful people. They went forth to various places, spreading the Good News and caring for the needs of the people, especially their spiritual sustenance in the Lord.

Many of them had to even suffer persecutions and painful torture for their courageous efforts and for their ceaseless works for the sake of the Lord. They had to endure rejection and also various temptations and difficulties, and yet because of their perseverance, so many people through the ages had been saved. Through various ages and moments, the Apostles, disciples and followers of the Lord had done all they could to bring His Good News to more and more of the people still living in the darkness of sin.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, how significant are all these things to us? They are very significant indeed! For each and every one of us who are Christians and profess our faith in God are also part of this work and ministry which the Lord had first entrusted to His Apostles and disciples, and there are still indeed vast areas where the works of the Lord are still continuing and are needed. Many souls are still yet to be saved because of sin.

Therefore, each and every one of us, and not just the priests and bishops, must follow in the footsteps of the disciples of the Lord, and today in particular we focus on the life and dedication of St. Timothy and St. Titus, holy bishops and leaders of the Church, in their commitment to serve the Lord, in their upright life and actions, in all the things that they have done for the sake of the salvation of all mankind.

Let us all lead a faithful and committed life in our own respective areas, and let us all be true and living witnesses of faith for the Lord and for His people, that by witnessing our actions and our living faith, by our love for one another and by our obedience to the will of God, we will bring all peoples, many more souls to salvation in our loving God. May God bless us all, and all of our good works of faith, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 26 January 2019 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them, two by two, ahead of Him, to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.’”

Saturday, 26 January 2019 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

Sing to YHVH a new song, sing to YHVH, all the earth! Sing to YHVH, praise His Name.

Proclaim His salvation, day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Give to YHVH, you families of nations, give to YHVH glory and strength. Give to YHVH the glory due His Name.

Say among the nations, “YHVH reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Saturday, 26 January 2019 : 2nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

2 Timothy 1 : 1-8

From Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, for the sake of His promise of eternal life, in Christ Jesus, to my dear son Timothy. May grace, mercy and peace be with you, from God, the Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I give thanks to God, Whom I serve with a clear conscience, the way my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly, day and night, in my prayers. I recall your tears, and I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, so like the faith of your grandmother Lois and of your mother Eunice, which I am sure you have inherited.

For this reason, I invite you to fan into a flame, the gift of God you received, through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of fearfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains. On the contrary, do your share in labouring for the Gospel, with the strength of God.

Alternative reading

Titus 1 : 1-5

From Paul, servant of God, Apostle of Christ Jesus, at the service of God’s chosen people, so that they may believe, and reach the knowledge of truth and godliness. The eternal life we are waiting for was promised from the very beginning, by God, Who never lies, and as the appointed time had come, He made it known, through the message entrusted to me by a command of God, our Saviour.

Greetings to you, Titus, my true son in the faith we share. May grace and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I left you in Crete because I wanted you to put right, what was defective, and appoint elders in every town, following my instructions.

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate together the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, remembering the moment when an unbelievable and amazing transformation of a person, who had once been a great enemy of the Church and the communities of the faithful, turned into a great defender and zealous champion of the Lord. And all of these happened to show us that no matter how great a sinner we are, God’s call is for everyone, and to those who heed to His call, He will grant the grace to be His beloved children.

St. Paul, as Saul prior to his conversion, was indeed the most unlikely person to have been called upon by the Lord, as not only that he was an enemy of the faithful, as a young member of the Pharisees, but he also led and initiated such a brutal and terrible persecution of the early Church and its members, that no one would have predicted or expected that such a complete and total turnaround of a person’s life would have been possible. But indeed, for the Lord, everything is possible.

St. Paul encountered the Lord on the way to Damascus, in the midst of his zealous persecution of Christians. He met the Lord Who showed him the truth about Who He was, and the mistakes and wrong path that he had taken all those while. St. Paul thereafter made a total turnaround in his life and became a believer of the Lord, gave himself to be baptised and the Holy Spirit came down on him, and thus, we saw how magnificent was the extent of his great conversion.

To the Apostles and the disciples, the Lord had commanded them, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, to go forth to the nations and proclaim His Good News to those people, that they too may be turned into the path of the Lord, repent from their sins and therefore, be like what St. Paul the Apostle had shown us in his conversion to the faith. In all of these, we must see just how great and wonderful is God’s love for each and every one of us, that His last and great commandment for His Church, is about our salvation.

His commandment to His Church, to go forth to the nations and to proclaim His salvation, was meant clearly to extend the grace of this salvation which He has brought into this world, to all of mankind, and not just to limit it within the nation and the people of Israel as what some among the early Christians would have thought to be the case. And St. Paul was among the most important of those whom God had chosen to be the instrument to bear witness to the truth and the salvation of God.

God called this murderous and fanatically anti-Christian Pharisee, in order to become His own disciple, and St. Paul accepted the part that he has been called into, to be God’s witness and a zealous defender of the true Christian faith, despite all the wickedness he had committed earlier in life, because of the false ways he had once followed. Through this, we can see how God is always ever merciful, even to the worst of sinners, and is calling on every one of us to repent from our sins.

But God’s works among us His people is made concrete and evident through the means of His Church, by the courageous efforts put in place by the servants and followers who had dedicated their lives and listened to His truth, as shown by the faith that St. Paul and the other Apostles and disciples, as well as those who succeeded them, through many generations and many ages, in proclaiming the Good News and bringing more and more people to the salvation in God.

Now, all of us as Christians are reminded today, of two important facts that each and every one of us must realise, in order to know better the significance of our faith, that first of all, God is ever loving and ever merciful towards us, and if He Himself has shown His mercy towards someone who had sinned so greatly and so much as St. Paul had, giving him the opportunity to serve Him anew, and to walk once again in His righteous path.

And then, secondly, each and every one of us must be aware that all of us are truly the successors of the Apostles and the disciples of the Lord, making up His Church in this world in the present day and time. And whatever works and missions that the Lord had granted and entrusted to His Church, thus the same works and missions are ours to bear, as members of His same Church, the same Church to which St. Paul and the other holy and faithful servants of the Lord had belonged to.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all called to follow the Lord and to walk in His path, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, to go forth proclaiming the Good News to all peoples of all the nations. We are called to continue the works that the holy Apostles of the Lord had begun, and the best way for us to do it, is to truly bear witness to the Lord by our own exemplary life, grounded and filled with faith in God.

This means that, in everything we say and do, and in every moments of our life, we must show our faith through our way of life, by showing love for God, the love for His laws and teachings, and also, the love for our fellow men and women, who are our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord. Let us all renew this conviction and commitment to live from now on, in accordance with our faith, and do the best we can in order to bring His truth and His salvation into this world.

May the Lord bless us and guide us, and may He continue to love us, each and every single days of our life as He has always done, and may He be with us all, now and forevermore. Amen.

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Mark 16 : 15-18

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation. The one who believes and is baptised will be saved; the one who refuses to believe will be condemned.”

“Signs like these will accompany those who have believed : in My Name they will cast out demons and speak new languages; they will pick up snakes, and if they drink anything poisonous, they will be unharmed; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

Friday, 25 January 2019 : Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 116 : 1, 2

Alleluia! Praise YHVH, all you nations; all you peoples, praise Him.

How great is His love for us! His faithfulness lasts forever.