Thursday, 3 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we listened to the Lord speaking to us through the words of the Scripture in which He told us about the mission which each and every one of us have been entrusted with, in reaching out to the world as witnesses of our faith in God. He has called on each and every one of us to be the bearers of His truth and the best way to do this is through our own actions in our daily life.

And He reassured us all as well that He is always with us throughout the journey of our life, standing by us and providing for us in whatever we need. He will always be with those who have been faithful to Him, and He will certainly remember them and bless them. However, at the same time, He also wants us all to know that our path may not be an easy one, as challenges and difficulties will be inevitable at some point or another.

In the Gospel passage today, as the Lord sent forth His disciples to go before Him in preaching the Good News and delivering His message to the peoples He Himself was to go, He reminded them all firstly of the trials and challenges that they would face, eventually even after the Lord has suffered, died, risen in glory and ascended into Heaven. The disciples of the Lord would face many rejections and oppressions from their enemies and all those who refused to believe.

And yet, He reassured them that while He was sending them like sheep among wolves, but He would be with them, and they would not be alone. He would guide them and protect them, and He advised them on what they ought to do, whether the people welcomed them and the message they brought to them, or whether those people refused to believe and rejected the disciples.

And therefore, we ourselves will also likely encounter moments when we have to endure rejection and persecution for standing up for our faith and for being faithful to God. There will be many moments when we will end up feeling stressed or pressured because of this rejection and the opposition even from those whom we may know or close to us, from our own family members and from among our own friends.

But we must not be disheartened by it, just as the prophet Ezra told the people in our first reading today, in which he read the Law of God to the assembled Israelites after they have returned from exile in Babylon back to their own homeland. The people initially felt bad and terrible, having known how wicked they and their ancestors had been in disobeying God’s laws, and yet, the prophet reminded them that God still loved all of them.

God cares for each and every one of us, His beloved people, without exception. God has always placed us close to His heart and He will not forget us, even after all that we have done, our sins and stubborn disobedience, our constant rebelliousness and refusal to believe in Him. But He wants us to repent from our sinful ways and turn away from those wickedness, and embrace Him wholeheartedly from now on.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to renew our faith and commitment in God? Are we able to trust Him with our whole life and learn to put our faith in Him without hesitation? That is why we need to transform our lives and turn to God with all of our heart from now on, committing ourselves to a new life that is no longer filled with sin and wicked desires of the world, but instead centred on the love of God.

Let us all be genuine and faithful witnesses of our faith in God, by devoting ourselves, our time, effort and attention on Him, and by practicing what we truly believe in, in each and every parts of our daily lives, that is in all of our words, actions and deeds. Let us all be true in our faith in God and trust in Him, and help one another to be more faithful, each and every days of our lives. May God be with us all and may He continue to bless us and our good endeavours. Amen.

Thursday, 3 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 10 : 1-12

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.’ But in any town where you are not welcome, go to the marketplace and proclaim : ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off and leave with you. But know for a certainty that the kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

“I tell you, that on the Day of Judgment it will be better for Sodom than for this town.”

Thursday, 3 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 18 : 8, 9, 10, 11

The Law of YHVH is perfect : it gives life to the soul. The word of YHVH is trustworthy : it gives wisdom to the simple.

The precepts of YHVH are right : they give joy to the heart. The commandments of YHVH are clear : they enlighten the eyes.

The fear of YHVH is pure, it endures forever; the judgments of YHVH are true, all of them just and right.

They are more precious than gold – pure gold of a jeweller; they are much sweeter than honey which drops from the honeycomb.

Thursday, 3 October 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Nehemiah 8 : 1-4a, 5-6, 7b-12

In the seventh month, all the people gathered as one man in the square before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra to bring the book of the Law of Moses, which YHVH had given to Israel. Ezra brought the Law before the assembly, both men, women and all the children who could understand what was being read.

It was the first day of the seventh month. So he read it before the plaza in front of the Water Gate from dawn till noon, before the men, women and those children who could understand. All the people were eager to hear the book of the Law. Ezra, the teacher of the Law, stood on a wooden platform built for that occasion.

Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was in a higher place; and when he opened it, all the people stood. Ezra praised YHVH the great God; and all the people lifted up their hands and answered, “Amen! Amen!” And they bowed their heads to the ground.

The Levites explained the Law to the people who were standing. They read from the book of the Law of God, clarifying and interpreting the meaning, so that everyone might understand what they were hearing. Then Ezra, the teacher of the Law, said to the people, “This day is dedicated to YHVH, your God, so do not be sad or weep.”

He said this because all wept when they heard the reading of the Law. Then he said to them, “Go and eat rich foods, drink sweet wine and share with him who has nothing prepared. This day is dedicated to the Lord, so do not be sad. The joy of YHVH is our strength.”

The Levites also calmed the people down, saying, “Do not weep. This day is a festival day. Do not be sad.” And the people went their way to eat, drink and share, and they had a great feast, because they had understood the words that had been proclaimed to them.