Tuesday, 27 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 18-21

At that time, Jesus continued speaking, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? Imagine a person who has taken a mustard seed, and planted it in his garden. The seed has grown, and become like a small tree, so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches.”

And Jesus said again, “What is the kingdom of God like? Imagine a woman who has taken yeast, and hidden it in three measures of flour, until it is all leavened.”

Tuesday, 27 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Tuesday, 27 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ephesians 5 : 21-33

Let all kinds of submission to one another become obedience to Christ. So wives to their husbands : as to the Lord. The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, of Whom He is also the Saviour. And as the Church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband.

As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. He washed her and made her holy by baptism in the Word. As He wanted a radiant Church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, He Himself had to prepare and present her to Himself.

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it. This is just what Christ does for the Church, because we are members of His Body.

Scripture says : Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church. As for you, let each one love his wife as himself, and let the wife respect her husband.

Monday, 26 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture we are presented with the reminder for us to be genuine Christians in our lives, and not to be hypocrites and lukewarm in living as Christians. The Lord has called all of us to be fully committed and be filled with love for Him and our fellow men, in each and every moments of our lives.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, we heard the Apostle reminding the faithful in that city to keep their Christian faith and dedicate themselves to the Lord and His path, that they should always put God before anything else, and strive to follow the Lord’s path in their livelihood and actions.

St. Paul reminded the people there to keep themselves away from all sorts of impurities and sins, all wickedness and evils, all negative thoughts and actions that lead to sin. He told them to be exemplary in all of their actions, be it in small or significant things that they truly became faithful and genuine witnesses of their Christian faith before everyone else. Otherwise, they were no better than hypocrites.

In our Gospel today, we heard about the confrontation between the Lord Jesus and the Pharisees, who saw the Lord healing a woman who had been crippled for eighteen years, a very long time indeed. And the Lord healed her even though it was plainly in the sight of all and on the day of the Sabbath. We may think that there is no issue with this at all, as after all the Lord was doing great things for God’s glory.

However, to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, mentioned as the rulers of the Synagogues, at that time, what the Lord has done was an aberration and travesty, tantamount to blasphemy and committing evil deeds, as they believed that the Sabbath day is a day when no activity of all sorts were allowed, regardless of the type of action and the circumstances and intentions behind them.

They rigidly interpreted and enforced the Law, that even as the Lord showed love and mercy to the suffering woman, they grumbled and were unhappy seeing what He has done before them and the people. They would rather that the woman suffered longer than to be flexible in their enforcement and application of the Law. Their insistence in enforcing strictly the laws of Moses showed how they failed to understand and appreciate their faith properly.

The Law of God, as the Lord made it very clear, is not meant to oppress or make the people to suffer. The Law of God is meant for the people to rediscover their love and devotion to God, to remind them of the necessary things for them to do, in order to direct their effort and attention on God. Through the Law, including the Law regulating the Sabbath, God wants us all to keep and devote some time, reminding us that He is the chief priority of our lives.

That is why, the Sabbath was meant for keeping a sacred and special time for the people that they might spend it with God and keep themselves from all the distractions and the temptations that the world usually brought to them. Instead, the people ended up focusing on the wrong things, focusing excessively on the minute details, on how each observances of the Sabbath could be done, rather than focusing on the intention of the Law.

Through His healing of the woman suffering for such a long time, the Lord in fact wanted to show them His wonderful love. He wanted us to recognise this love and learn to love Him more and more. And how do we do this, brothers and sisters? It is by living righteously and virtuously in accordance to His Law, dedicating ourselves, our time, attention and effort on Him.

May the Lord help each and every one of us to remain more faithful to Him, and may He bless each and every one of us in our every good endeavours from now on. May God bless us all at all times, and guide us in the journey of life. May God be with us, now and always. Amen.

Monday, 26 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 13 : 10-17

At that time, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath, and a crippled woman was there. An evil spirit had kept her bent for eighteen years, so that she could not straighten up at all. On seeing her, Jesus called her and said, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” Then He laid His hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight and praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue was indignant, because Jesus had performed this healing on the Sabbath day, and he said to the people, “There are six days in which to work. Come on those days to be healed, and not on the Sabbath!”

But the Lord replied, “You hypocrites! Everyone of you unties his ox or his donkey on the Sabbath, and leads it out of the barn to give it water. And here you have a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound for eighteen years. Should she not be freed from her bonds on the Sabbath?”

When Jesus said this, all His opponents felt ashamed. But the people rejoiced at the many wonderful things that happened because of Him.

Monday, 26 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 1 : 1-2, 3, 4 and 6

Blessed is the one who does not go where the wicked gather, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit where the scoffers sit! Instead, he finds delight in the law of the Lord and meditates day and night on His commandments.

He is like a tree beside a brook producing its fruit in due season, its leaves never withering. Everything he does is a success.

But it is different with the wicked. They are like chaff driven away by the wind. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous but cuts off the way of the wicked.

Monday, 26 October 2020 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ephesians 4 : 32 – Ephesians 5 : 8

Be good and understanding, mutually forgiving one another as God forgave you in Christ. As most beloved children of God, strive to imitate Him. Follow the way of love, the example of Christ Who loved you. He gave Himself up for us and became the offering and sacrificial victim Whose fragrance rises to God.

And since you are holy, there must not be among you even a hint of sexual immorality or greed, or any kind of impurity : these should not be named among you. So too for scandalous words, nonsense and foolishness, which are not fitting; instead offer thanksgiving to God.

Know this : no depraved, impure or covetous person who serves the god ‘Money’ shall have part in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for these are the sins which God is about to condemn in people who do not obey.

Do not associate with such people. You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Behave as children of light.

Sunday, 25 October 2020 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday all of us are reminded by God through the words of the Scripture of what it means for us to be Christians in loving and obeying God’s will and His laws and commandments. As we all have heard, primarily, the Law and commandments of God are about love, the love of God first and foremost before all else, and the love of our fellow neighbours, our fellow brothers and sisters in the same Lord.

This is why as Christians we cannot be ignorant of this Law and our need to obey the Lord with true and sincere devotion. We have to recognise that through the love of God each and every one of us have been immensely blessed, favoured and are truly fortunate. It was because of this love which God showed us that the whole world could have been saved. For it was our fate that we ought to have been condemned and destroyed for our sins, but God’s enduring love for us did not allow that to happen.

That was what the Lord Himself had mentioned in the Book of Exodus on the instructions He gave the people of Israel that He had led out of the land of Egypt regarding matters such as how they ought to treat one another, behave as His people and His followers. The Lord told them that they ought to do good to others, and not to oppress them, just as they themselves had been rescued from oppression and slavery in Egypt. They should take good care of those who were vulnerable like widows and orphans, and they were also not to take advantage and make profits over others.

Essentially, the Lord wants each and every one of us to follow His examples in love, to show genuine love and compassion to each other, and not hatred, anger, or to be jealous or egoistic in our actions and interactions with one another. The Lord wants us to be truly faithful to Him and obey His Law with understanding of His intentions of why He has given us His laws. And it is that He wants us to turn to Him and find our way to Him, to rediscover the love which we ought to have for Him, and centre our lives once again on Him.

Unfortunately, as the Lord gave His people the Law and made His Covenant with them, they refused to obey Him and often went against Him and betrayed Him for other gods and by their wicked deeds. As soon as God made a Covenant with them, and not long after He liberated them from Egypt and led them out of slavery, with mighty deeds and showing His love to them before their own eyes, they chose to erect for themselves a golden calf to be worshipped as a false god and idol.

And over many times throughout the Exodus and their journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites had repeatedly doubted the Lord, complained and groaned against Him, complaining that they did not have enough or they had it much better even in slavery in Egypt, when the Lord had obviously shown great care and love for them, giving them provisions of the heavenly bread manna each day, as well as flocks of birds in the evening and good water to drink throughout their long journey in the lifeless and empty desert.

That was why God gave Moses series of instructions and rules, which eventually became the Law of Moses as codified in the Torah. God wanted His people to follow those rules and obey them in the context of that time, when they were constantly disobeying Him and therefore were in great danger of falling into damnation and destruction. For those who continued to sin and refused to turn towards the Lord would be judged by their own sins, by their own conscious choice to refuse the love and mercy of God.

Therefore, even in all these, we can see what God’s true intention was when He gave His Law to His people. It was out of His love for them, His desire to be reconciled with them and to keep them away from destruction that would surely happen to them if they disobeyed Him and continued to live in sin. The Law was meant to be a guide and inspiration for them all to follow and obey that they might discipline themselves and keep their wicked desires and all the temptations of the world in check.

Unfortunately, all of these were misunderstood and the true meaning and purpose of the Law ended up being forgotten as time passed on. The people ended up seeing the Law as merely a formality and even for some, a burden to be fulfilled lest they incurred the wrath of God. The people misunderstood God’s intentions and became fearful of Him. And this became worse as over the centuries, modifications and extensions of the Law, its interpretation by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law ended up misleading the faithful and the people.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were very strict in their observance of the Law, and it was such that they caused great difficulty for the people in their enforcement of the standards of the rules and regulations, that many of the people were unable to keep up with its standards. Unfortunately, in truth, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law themselves were unable to observe all of those laws according to their own standards.

That was likely why the Pharisees asked the Lord, what is the most important commandment in the Law, partly to test the Lord and also partly out of their own desire to know that out of all those rules, regulations and commandments, which one was the most important one. And out of all these, in their busy preoccupations and being distracted by their obsession in obeying the Law according to their own flawed and incomplete understanding and interpretation.

The Lord therefore wants us all to realise that first of all God loves each and every one of us without exception. And through the Law that God has granted and revealed to us, the Lord wanted to show us the path leading us to Himself, through love. As the Lord plainly and clearly explained to the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, that the whole Law, in its entirety, can be summarised into two main laws, that is in itself is all about love.

Just as the Lord has loved us all so much, that He has cared for us and given us His Law to guide us down the right path, to prevent us from falling into sin, then each and every one of us should indeed love Him first and foremost, in the same manner as He has loved us from the very beginning. That is why our lives must be Christ-centric, revolving around God and His teachings and ways. We should focus our time, effort and attention on the Lord and do whatever we can to serve Him and glorify Him.

And in order to do so, we have to love our fellow brothers and sisters, our neighbours and fellow men too. We cannot truly love God if we have not loved our fellow brethren in the same way that we love ourselves. After all, if we truly love God, then shouldn’t we also love those whom God has loved? If God loves each and every one of us equally without any exception, and shows mercy and compassion even to the greatest of sinners, then why can’t we do the same as well?

Many of us may think that being faithful Christians just means for us to fulfil our obligations such as going to the Holy Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligations, fast and abstain during the times stipulated by the Church and others. But these laws and rules established by the Church ultimately came from the Law of God, as revealed and fleshed out by the Lord Himself through His Apostles. And we have clearly heard how the Lord intended for us to love Him. In the same way, all those laws of the Church are meant to lead us towards God.

That is why, we cannot be lukewarm in living our faith. Many of us grumbled and complained even in fulfilling the basic obligations of our faith, and were not fully attentive and participative at the Holy Mass. We cannot wait until we can resume our daily routines and other worldly things in our minds, and we even consider all of that a waste of our precious time. Aren’t we ashamed of our lack of faith and our inappropriate conduct, brothers and sisters in Christ?

We must not forget that the Holy Mass is a constant reminder of the loving sacrifice that the Lord Himself had done for our sake from the Cross. He willingly bore our sins and all of their consequences, all the punishments due for us, on His own shoulders, bearing the wounds and hurts, all the sufferings for our sake. He poured His own Precious Blood to mark and seal a new Covenant with each and every one of us, the New and Eternal Covenant of Love, as a tangible and true revelation and evidence of His enduring love.

The Lord Himself had shown the perfect example of love to each and every one of us, by loving all of us, His brothers and sisters, and also obeying His heavenly Father’s will, bringing the Law in its fullness and showing us that it is indeed possible to be truly obedient to the Law. What matters then is, are we willing to follow the Lord’s examples and love Him, and love one another just in the manner that He has shown us? Or are we too busy with ourselves, to selfish, too distracted by temptations and desires to be able to do this?

As Christians, let our actions be filled with love, and not just any kind of love, but selfless and genuine love, especially towards all those who need this love. We should reach out to those who are unloved, rejected by others, and as the Lord Himself said, that we should love even all of our enemies, all those who have hurt us, forgiving them and asking for forgiveness ourselves, for any of the faults and hurts that we may have intentionally or unintentionally inflicted on them.

In our world today, there has been a lot of hatred, anger, injustice and many other things caused by the selfishness of mankind. And because of this, our calling as Christians is to be the difference, to show love where there has been anger and hatred, to show forgiveness, compassion and mercy where there has been conflict, divisions and disputes, to show the selfless love of God when we are frequently tempted to put ourselves and our selfish desires above the needs of others.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, to be true Christians in our daily living is not going to be easy. If we find it easy to be Christians, that is likely because we have not done what we should have done as Christians, as those whom the Lord had called and chosen to be His people. It is by our deeds and by our humble faith and obedience to God’s will that all will know of God’s love through us, and they will come to know that we truly are God’s people, and more and more will come to believe in Him as well.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all strive to be more faithful from now on, in how we live our lives and in how we act in each and every moments of our lives, to be the bearers of God’s love, dedicating ourselves to love God and to love all of God’s people, reaching out to those who are unloved and less fortunate than us, and sharing whatever blessings God had given to us, that all of us may truly be blessed together in love. May the Lord, our loving God and Father, continue to love each and every one of us, bless us and take good care of us, as He has done all these while. Amen.

Sunday, 25 October 2020 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 22 : 34-40

At that time, when the Pharisees heard how Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they assembled together. One of them, a lawyer, questioned Him to test Him, “Teacher, which commandment of the Law is the greatest?”

Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and the most important of the commandments. The second is like it : You shall love your neighbour as yourself. The whole Law and the prophets are founded on these two commandments.”

Sunday, 25 October 2020 : Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Thessalonians 1 : 5c-10

You, also, know how we dealt with you, for your sake. In return, you became followers of us, and of the Lord, when, on receiving the Word, you experienced the joy of the Holy Spirit, in the midst of great opposition. And you became a model for the faithful of Macedonia and Achaia, since, from you, the Word of the Lord spread to Macedonia and Achaia, and still farther.

The faith you have in God has become news in so many places, that we need say no more about it. Others tell, of how you welcomed us, and turned from idols, to the Lord. For you serve the living and true God, and you wait for His Son, from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus, Who frees us from impending trial.