Saturday, 6 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this day as we listened the words of the Scriptures we are all reminded to remain faithful and focused on the Lord, to follow Him wholeheartedly and not to be easily swayed and tempted by worldly temptations and distractions, all of which can mislead us and end up falling into the path of sin and damnation if we are not careful and allow ourselves to be misguided.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome, in which the Apostle spoke about his many contemporaries and fellow Christians, who have dedicated themselves in their own way, both in the city of Rome and in other places, in order to serve the Lord and to proclaim His truth to more and more people. It was their dedication and hard work, their contributions and efforts which allowed the faith to blossom rapidly in Rome and elsewhere.

St. Paul highlighted how God had called all the people to follow Him, Jews and Gentiles alike, from all origins and from various nations and races that had received His words and answered His call. And the ones St. Paul highlighted in his Epistle were just a few examples of the many others who had listened to the Lord and chose to respond to His call to be the bearers of the truth and to proclaim the same truth that they have received to many others who have not yet heard them.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the continuation of the words of the Lord regarding the parable of the dishonest steward which we have heard yesterday. The Lord told His disciples and the people who were gathered about the matter, including the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were also in the midst of the crowd, and to whom the Lord actually addressed the parable to.

That is because in the parable of the dishonest steward, the Lord mentioned how a dishonest and greedy steward who was about to be dismissed by his master for his actions and mismanagement of the property, actually committed even more dishonest and wicked actions in order to secure for himself a good and comfortable life after he lost his job. And the Lord thereafter explained to the people, as we heard in our Gospel today, is why the actions of those who sought their own personal benefit is despicable, such as that done by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.

When the Lord mentioned these things, He wants us to know that we all have a choice to make, which involves the choice between following the Lord and the path of the world, that is the path of Satan and evil. God has given us the free will and the freedom to choose our path in life, but we have to make good use of the opportunities given to us, as well as the truth and wisdom given to us to decide carefully which path we ought to follow in live, as we go forward living them.

The examples of the Pharisees and many others amongst our predecessors should have shown us how dangerous and alluring the temptations of power and worldly glory and wealth can be. If we are not careful, we may end up falling deeper and deeper into its clutches, and slowly it will corrupt us more and more, eventually leading us down to fall into the depth of sin and evil, and from which we may find it difficult to escape, if we keep on allowing sin to affect us.

Let us instead follow the examples of St. Paul and his contemporaries, all those who decided to follow the Lord and answer His call. We should do as they had done, in following the path that God had set before them. They devoted their time, effort and attention to serve the Lord and placed His will and commandments, His missions and works ahead of their own personal ambitions, desires or any other worldly aims that they might have had.

May the Lord help us and strengthen us in our faith, and may He empower each and every one of us to follow Him wholeheartedly, that all of us may find our way to the Lord and we may dedicate our time and attention to Him the way our holy predecessors had done. May God bless us all and our every endeavours, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 6 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 16 : 9-15

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “And so I tell you : use filthy money to make friends for yourselves, so that, when it fails, these people may welcome you into the eternal homes.”

“Whoever can be trusted in little things can also be trusted in great ones; whoever is dishonest in slight matters will also be dishonest in greater ones. So if you have been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth? And if you have been dishonest with things that are not really yours, who will give you that wealth which is truly your own?”

“No servant can serve two masters. Either he does not like the one and is fond of the other, or he regards one highly and the other with contempt. You cannot give yourself both to God and to Money.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and sneered at Jesus. He said to them, “You do your best to be considered righteous by people. But God knows the heart, and what is highly esteemed by human beings is loathed by God.”

Saturday, 6 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 144 : 2-3, 4-5, 10-11

I will praise You, day after day; and exalt Your Name forever. Great is YHVH, most worthy of praise; and His deeds are beyond measure.

Parents commend Your works to their children and tell them Your feats. They proclaim the splendour of Your majesty and recall Your wondrous works.

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o YHVH, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom; and speak of Your power.

Saturday, 6 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Romans 16 : 3-9, 16, 22-27

Greetings to Prisca and Aquilas, my helpers in Christ Jesus. To save my life, they risked theirs; I am very grateful to them, as are all the churches of the pagan nations. Greetings also to the church that meets in their house. Greetings to my dear Epaenetus, the first in the province of Asia to believe in Christ. Greet Mary, who worked so much for you.

Greetings to Andronicus and Junias, my relatives and comparisons in prison; they are well known Apostles and served Christ before I did. Give greetings to Ampliatus, whom I love so much in the Lord. Greetings to Urbanus, our fellow worker, and to my dear Stachys. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send their greetings.

I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, send you greetings in the Lord. Greetings from Gaius, who has given me lodging and in whose house the church meets. Greetings from Erastus, treasurer of the city, and from our brother Quartus. Glory be to God! He is able to give you strength, according to the Good News I proclaim, announcing Christ Jesus.

Now is revealed the mysterious plan, kept hidden for long ages in the past. By the will of the eternal God it is brought to light, through the prophetic books, and all nations shall believe the faith proclaimed to them. Glory to God, Who alone is wise, through Christ Jesus, forever! Amen.

Friday, 5 November 2021 : 31st 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 Scriptures, we are all called and reminded to be prudent in how each and every one of us live our lives so that we do not end up falling into the temptations of pride and sin. We are called to remember that we live in this world to serve the Lord and not to serve our own selfish desires and greed, not for our own gain and benefits, but rather for the greater glory of God.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful in Rome, we heard of the Apostle speaking to them regarding the matter of serving God and all that he had done to glorify the Lord and to proclaim His truth among the nations. In that occasion, St. Paul told all of the people that everything that he had done, all the great deeds and hard works he had made and contributed, were all done for the greater glory of God, and when he boasted, he boasted not about himself or his own personal achievements. Rather, everything were done for the greater glory of God.

That was how St. Paul dedicated himself, his life and his efforts to serve the people of God, to bring more and more to follow the Lord and to know His truth, by going from place to place and reminding the people of the Lord’s truth and salvation. He always strived to seek the salvation of many, both Jews and Gentiles alike, reaching out to them and speaking courageously despite the challenges and trials that he had to go through, the opposition and persecution that he had to endure in the process, all those things he did not do for himself, but for God’s glory.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples using the parable of the dishonest steward, which may sound rather strange to us if we do not understand the context of what we have been hearing, and what actually the Lord intended to tell the people and His disciples using that parable. In that parable, we heard the Lord relating the story of a dishonest steward who was about to be dismissed from service because of his alleged mismanagement of his master’s property.

That dishonest steward is a representation of those who have been wicked and unfaithful, a rebuke and criticism which the Lord actually made against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law in an indirect manner, because they had acted in the same way as that dishonest steward. How is that so? That is because the dishonest steward who had been dishonest in his dealings and in his mismanagement, chose to commit even more vices and selfish deeds to preserve himself. In doing what he had done, he in fact had proven that what was alleged about him regarding his mismanagement was likely to be true.

The dishonest steward acted in order to enrich and take care of himself, and to advance his own desires and cause, and as he was about to be dismissed, he also thought about himself first and thinking how he could secure for himself a good life even after he was dismissed. That is exactly what happened when we allow ourselves to be misguided and led by our desires, our ego and our greed. All those things lead us down the slippery path of disobedience and sin, and just as the dishonest steward, we may end up doing more and more dishonest, unjust and evil actions to satisfy ourselves and our desires.

As Christians, all of us are reminded to distance ourselves from this attitude and way of life. Worldly things and matters like money and possessions by themselves are not inherently evil, but it is our desire and attachment to them which led us to disobey the Lord and to fall into the path of evil. As such, like St. Paul mentioned in his Epistle and as we have heard regarding his actions and works, first and foremost we have to seek the glory of God and focus ourselves on Him rather than to focus our attention on ourselves. We must strive not to indulge our ego and desires.

Let us all help one another in this, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we will not end up falling into the temptations and the allures of the evil one, in all of his many efforts to lead us to our downfall. Let us all help one another in focusing our attention and effort on the Lord. May the Lord continue to guide us and strengthen us in our journey of faith, that we may remain faithful through life, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 5 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 16 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him because of fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.'”

“The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do : I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people will welcome me into their homes.'”

“So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the first debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write fifty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.'”

“The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness : for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light.”

Friday, 5 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 97 : 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4

Sing to YHVH a new song, for He has done wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won victory for Him.

YHVH has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love, nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you, lands, make a joyful noise to YHVH, break into song and sing praise.

Friday, 5 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 15 : 14-21

As for me, brothers and sisters, I am convinced, that you have goodwill, knowledge, and the capacity to advise each other; nevertheless, I have written boldly in some parts of this letter, to remind you of what you already know. I do this, according to the grace God has given to me, when I was sent to the pagan nations. I dedicated myself to the service of the Good News of God, as a minister of Christ Jesus, in order to present the non-Jews to God, as an agreeable offering, consecrated by the Holy Spirit. This service of God is, for me, a cause of pride, in Christ Jesus.

Of course, I would not dare to speak of other things, but what Christ, Himself, has done, through me, my words and my works, with miracles and signs, by the power of the Holy Spirit – so, that, non-Jews may obey the faith. In this way, I have extended the Good News to all parts, from Jerusalem to Illyricum.

I have been very careful, however, and I am proud of this, not to preach in places where Christ is already known, and not to build upon foundations laid by others. Let it be as Scripture says : Those not told about Him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.

Thursday, 4 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we recall what we have just heard in the Sacred Scriptures, we are all reminded of God’s ever generous love and mercy for each and every one of us. God has desired to be reconciled with us and He wants to forgive us our sins, making us sharers in His glorious promise and inheritance because that was what He had intended for us in the very beginning. God created us all out of love and wanted us to share in His love.

In our first reading today, taken from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Church and the faithful community in Rome, we heard the Apostle reminding them all of the fact that all of them, all mankind exists for the Lord and the Lord is the Master of all, and therefore is the One holding the control over all things that are in our lives, and whatever we say and do, we ought to do them while knowing this fact, which means that we must not forget that the Lord will hold us accountable over all of our actions, words and deeds.

St. Paul made this exhortation to the people in order to address the issue that often arose within the Church, both at that time and even to this very day, of how we often criticise and gossip against one another, or comparing among ourselves who are better and holier, while despising and condemning others whom we look down upon. In this way, we end up causing divisions and unhappiness within the Church, causing us to be set against our fellow brothers and sisters, and we are not doing what the Lord wanted us to do, that is to love one another just as He has loved each and every one of us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking to His disciples and the people using a parable, that is the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin. In that parable, the Lord mentioned how a man who had a hundred sheep and lost one of those sheep would do everything he could to find that one lost sheep, going around and doing everything in order to find and be reunited with that lost sheep. Once he had found that lost sheep, he would rejoice for the lost sheep even greater than for the other sheep that were not lost. The same logic was applied with the lost coin as well.

The Lord used this parable to counter the argument of the Pharisees and rebuking them for their self-righteous and elitist attitude in looking down on all those whom they deemed to be less worthy than they were. Those Pharisees frowned because they saw the Lord speaking and having a meal with tax collectors and all those whom they deemed to be sinners. To those Pharisees, the tax collectors, as were prostitutes and others who were deemed unclean and unworthy, as sinners and incapable of being saved.

The Lord proved them wrong and rebuked them for their attitude and short-sightedness, as well as for their lack of love, care and concern for their fellow brethren. They were entrusted with the guardianship and guidance for the people, and yet, they sought mostly their own justification and salvation over that of others, and even made it difficult for many others to come to the Lord by making the Law so strict and oppressive that it turned away many that could have been saved in the Lord.

This is what each and every one of us as Christians are called to distance ourselves from, from the attitude of excesses of pride and haughtiness, of arrogance and selfishness. We are instead called to be loving and selfless in our actions and deeds, to be caring towards one another and to show love and mercy to our fellow brothers and sisters. And as Christians we are all called to reflect the love of God in our every actions and to proclaim His truth through our every deeds and words. We cannot do so unless we love one another and consider each other fellow brethren in the same Lord.

Today, we should look upon the good examples set by one of our holy predecessors, whose feast we are celebrating, namely that of St. Charles Borromeo. St. Charles Borromeo was the famous Archbishop of Milan who was a faithful servant of God and one of the courageous leaders of Counter-Reformation. St. Charles Borromeo was remembered for his great piety and dedication to the Lord. St. Charles Borromeo spent a lot of effort to reform the Church and to lead his flock down the right path, leading by example in his many years as shepherd of the faithful.

St. Charles Borromeo was involved in many aspects of the Church, its leadership and pastoral engagements, spending a lot of time and effort to restructure and to purify the Church and its institutions from creeping corruptions from worldly forces and influences. He reinvigorated the faithful in all of his diocese and in other parts of Christendom through his contributions, and together with other leaders of Counter-Reformation was crucial in preventing many others from falling to the falsehoods of heresies and other wrong teachings.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the great examples set by St. Charles Borromeo should inspire each and every one of us to follow the Lord more courageously, and we should spend more effort and time to seek the Lord more wholeheartedly, and to dedicate our entire lives to serve the Lord and to love our fellow brothers and sisters, in each and every moments and in every opportunities we are given. May the Lord continue to guide us and help us in our journey, and strengthen us in faith. Amen.

Thursday, 4 November 2021 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent.”

“What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin? And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the Angels of God over one repentant sinner.”