Tuesday, 3 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded through what we have heard from the Sacred Scriptures that we all need to escape from the darkness present in this world, and find the true Light and salvation that can be found in God alone. For too long we have dwelled in the darkness and God has come to us to free us from this darkness and bring us into the light.

The Lord blesses us all and protects us because of His great love for us. He does not want us to be destroyed and be condemned because of the darkness that are all around us. He is always ever vigilant in watching over us and in being concerned with us. And that was why He sent us His Saviour, His own beloved Son to us in the first place. If He did not love us as He does, then He would not have done whatever He had done for our sake.

I am referring to His work and ministry among us, how He went about from places to places to save His people and deliver them from the darkness of their sins, ministering and caring for them and their needs. In our Gospel passage today we heard about how He taught among the people in Capernaum in the synagogue and then healed a man who was tormented and possessed by evil spirits, casting those demons out of him.

He showed all the people that He has power and authority over all things, including even over the evil spirits, who had to obey Him and get out of the man they possessed when He commanded them to do so. He is the One Whom every being on earth, in heaven, in hell and indeed in all places and in all creation had to obey and bend to knee to worship, even Satan and all of his allies, the fallen angels and demons.

All of these forces are trying their best to bring about our downfall, striking at us constantly with temptations and efforts to turn us away from God and leading us down the path of sin. But what the Lord intends with us has been made clear as St. Paul wrote it in his Epistle to the Thessalonians in our first reading passage today, as he said that “God has not willed us to be condemned, but to gain salvation, through Christ Jesus, Our Lord.”

Through what the Lord has done, we can see just how much He truly loves each and every one of us without exception, as we are after all, His most precious and beloved creations. He did not go through so much suffering on the Cross for no reason, and that reason that He loves us all and wants us to be reconciled completely with Him is good enough for Him to bear and endure the burden of our sins and to suffer and die for our sake and for our salvation.

Yet, unfortunately, the sad reality is such that even though God truly loves us all and desires nothing but our liberation and salvation from certain destruction, but it is often that we mankind refuse to accept His generous offer of mercy and love, His compassion and willingness to reach out to us, to heal us and to make us whole again. We are often tempted and swayed by our desires and by all the worldly things present all around us, our busy schedules and preoccupations with them that prevented us from truly loving and knowing God as we should.

Today perhaps all of us should look at the example set by a holy man of God, whose feast we celebrate, namely Pope St. Gregory the Great, a great and holy servant of God, dedicated and ever committed to the service of God. Pope St. Gregory the Great was remembered for his many contributions to the Church, in the vigorous reforms he carried out, in his works of evangelisation, most prominently by sending St. Augustine of Canterbury to re-establish the Church in England among many others.

Pope St. Gregory the Great truly loved God and devoted himself to the many works to bring greater glory to His Name, in allowing the Church to grow even more and in stabilising the foundations of the Church, strengthening the leadership and rooting out corruptions and heresies from within the Church. He was also credited with the reforms in the Church music for worship, which eventually led to the famous Gregorian chants being named after him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we can see just how much this holy servant of God dedicated himself to God, each and every moments of his life. Now, are we able to do the same with our own lives? Can we be inspired to do what Pope St. Gregory the Great had done with his own life, a life of total service and commitment to God? Let us all learn to resist the many temptations present in our lives, and resist the allure and distractions of our busy life in this world.

Instead, let us all turn towards God, in our hearts, minds and indeed, in our whole being, that we are no longer being distracted by those thoughts and distractions, of worldly ambitions, pride, greed and vainglory. Let us instead be true Christians, true disciples of the Lord from now on, knowing just how much He has loved us all, all these while. Let us all love Him dearly in the same way He has loved us from the Cross, giving our whole lives to

Him just as He has given everything to us. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 4 : 31-37

At that time, Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee, and began teaching the people at the Sabbath meetings. They were astonished at the way He taught them, for His word was spoken with authority.

In the synagogue, there was a man possessed by an evil spirit, who shouted in a loud voice, “What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I recognise You : You are the Holy One of God.”

Then Jesus said to him sharply, “Be silent and leave this man!” The evil spirit then threw the man down in front of them, and came out of him without doing him harm. Amazement seized all these people, and they said to one another, “What does this mean? He commands the evil spirits with authority and power. He orders, and you see how they come out!”

And news about Jesus spread throughout the surrounding area.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 26 : 1, 4, 13-14

YHVH is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? YHVH is the rampart of my life; I will not be afraid.

One thing I ask of YHVH, one thing I seek – that I may dwell in His house all the days of my life, to gaze at His jewel and to visit His Sanctuary.

I hope, I am sure, that I will see the goodness of YHVH in the land of the living. Trust in YHVH, be strong and courageous. Yes, put your hope in YHVH!

Tuesday, 3 September 2019 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

1 Thessalonians 5 : 1-6, 9-11

You do not need anyone to write to you about the delay, and the appointed time for these events. You know, that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people feel secure, and at peace, the disaster will suddenly come upon them, as the birth pangs of a woman in labour, and they will not escape.

But you, beloved, are not in darkness; so that day will not surprise you like a thief. All of you are citizens of the light and the day; we do not belong to night and darkness. Let us not, therefore, sleep as others do, but remain alert and sober.

For God has not willed us to be condemned, but to win salvation, through Christ Jesus, our Lord. He died for us, so that, we might enter into life, with Him, whether we are still awake or already asleep. Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, as you are doing now.