Saturday, 14 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us today are reminded of our calling as Christians to bear God’s love with us and within our actions and deeds. We have to be loving and charitable just as our Lord Himself has shown us through His own examples and actions. For to be Christians is truly to love as the Lord Himself has loved us so generously that we also show the same love to Him first and foremost above all else, and then love our neighbours and fellow brothers and sisters in the same manner.

In our first reading today from the Epistle of St. John, we heard of the Apostle speaking of those who have courageously ministered to the people, the missionaries of the faith that travelled from town to town, much like how St. Paul the Apostle visited many places and proclaimed the Good News of God in all those places. And all those missionaries as in accordance to the Lord’s instructions, depended on the goodwill and generosity of the people of God.

The missionaries of the Lord went from place to place, preaching the Gospels and the Good News trusting themselves in the hands of the Lord. The Lord sent all of them to various places calling on them to gather more and more souls to salvation through faith. These were their labours of love, their efforts to show forth God’s love to all people and to touch their lives with God’s love and wonders.

And when those Christians and even pagans whom were in touch with these missionaries cared for the needs of these courageous servants of God, and in several occasion they even risked their lives and safety to protect these missionaries, they also showed the love of God and for those pagans and non-believers, it showed their faith and sincere desire to love God and follow Him, their openness and willingness to welcome the Lord into their house and presence when they welcomed those servants with peace.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the parable from the Lord on the evil judge and an old woman. In that parable we heard how the evil judge was usually very proud and stubborn, refusing to budge or listen to reason in all circumstances. However, when an old woman kept coming up to this particular judge and pestered him again and again to ask him to settle her case, after her repeated insistence, the evil judge relented and helped her.

The intention of this parable as told by the Lord Jesus is indeed to highlight how even the wicked is capable of love, and thus all the more that the Lord, Who loved each and every one of us, love each and every one of us even more dearly. And if all of us call ourselves as Christians, as God’s beloved people then naturally we should also follow in His examples of love.

The question is, are we willing to love sincerely and generously as the Lord has loved us? More often than not, most of us tend to love ourselves first and seek our own satisfaction rather than to show our love to others as we should have done. In fact, many of us often chose to gain our own self-satisfaction and joy even at the cost of others’ suffering and pain, manipulating and deceiving others for our own gains.

And this is the sad reality of our faith, brothers and sisters in Christ. Many of us have not yet shown genuine faith in God and are still lacking in the way of His love. Let us all discern carefully therefore what we are going to do moving forward in life, that we may truly find our way to grow ever stronger in faith, in each and every moments of our lives from now on. May God bless us all and guide us always in our journey of faith in life. Amen.

Saturday, 14 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my opponent!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Saturday, 14 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! Blessed is the one who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. His children will be powerful on earth; the upright’s offspring will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are for his family, there his integrity will remain. He is for the righteous a light in darkness, he is kind, merciful and upright.

It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever.

Saturday, 14 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

3 John 5-8

Beloved, you do well to care for the brothers and sisters as you do. I mean those coming from other places. They spoke of your charity before the assembled Church. It will be well to provide them with what they need to continue their journey, as if you did it for God.

In reality, they have set out on the road for His Name without accepting anything from the pagans. We should receive such persons, making ourselves their cooperators in the work of the truth.

Friday, 13 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are called to keep in mind of our faith in God especially as we will not know the time and circumstance of the Lord’s coming as He has promised, the time of His second coming into this world. We must always be vigilant and be prepared, and not to allow the temptations of evil and wickedness to lead us astray, or the words of those who have made false promises and lies of the devil to tempt us. And we are going to hear more and more of this theme as we approach the end of the current liturgical cycle.

In our first reading today, St. John in his Epistle spoke of this as he told the people to remember what their faith is all about, the commandments of God’s love, the Law that He has passed unto us and revealed to us. Through this Law of love, God wants each and every one of us to follow Him and His examples, and obey the tenets and commandments He has given us through His Church, that each and every one of us may remain true to our Christian faith and remain faithful to the very end.

St. John spoke of how those who taught otherwise and differently from the true Christian teachings were antichrists and false prophets, as at that time there were quite a few of those who misinterpreted the teachings of Christ or muddled them with their own beliefs and other pagan practices in syncretism, which ended up misleading the faithful people of God and creating divisions in the Church of God. St. John as one of the Apostles of the Lord certainly did not wish to see the Church divided by all these falsehoods.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the Lord speaking of the moments and times of reckoning as how it has happened earlier in the history of man, from the time of Noah, when the Great Flood came upon the world and drowned most of the creatures save for Noah and his family and all the animals he has saved. He has also spoken of the time of Lot, when the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by their sins and wickedness, save for Lot and his family, although his wife did perish in the event.

In those two occasions, we clearly see how God’s reckoning and judgment came upon all those who have committed heinous sins and wicked deeds before their faithful ones. Those sinful descendants of mankind had filled the world with their sins by the time of Noah that Noah and his family alone were counted among the righteous. Therefore, despite God’s repeated warnings and also premonition to them, as Noah took a long time to complete his great Ark, no one repented and they even laughed at Noah for his efforts.

It was the same with the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, that despite Lot’s efforts to open the eyes of the people of those cities, but they and their lust and desire to sin led them to their doom. And despite Abraham’s pleas to the Lord to spare the cities for the sake of his cousin Lot, his repeated efforts to ask the Lord to be merciful, the sins of those people of Sodom and Gomorrah, that no one save Lot and his immediate family could be found to be righteous, doomed and judged them.

It will therefore be the same for us, brothers and sisters, at the time of our reckoning and judgment. Do we want to end up like the the people of Noah’s time or the ones in Sodom and Gomorrah who perished together with their cities? As we listened to these readings we are in fact reminded by the Lord through His Church that we should not be complacent in the living of our faith, that we will not end up falling into the path of sin and evil.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all discern carefully what we have heard today and reflect deeply on the words of the Lord Himself, calling on all of us to follow Him and be faithful. It is a reminder that everything will happen as the Lord has ordained it, and we certainly do not want to end up in the wrong path or find ourselves on the wrong side. And what should we do then, brothers and sisters? We should renew our faith and commitment to the Lord and dedicate our time and effort to serve Him.

Let us all resist the temptations to sin, and reject the path of evil as we move forward in life. Let us turn towards God with a new commitment and love God with ever greater generosity and dedication from now on. May the Lord be with us and be our guide, helping us to endure the challenges and trials we are bound to encounter along this journey we walk through. May God bless us all and all of our good endeavours and efforts, each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Friday, 13 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 17 : 26-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. In those days people ate and drank and got married; but on the day Noah entered the Ark, the flood came and destroyed them all.”

“So it was in the days of Lot : people ate and drank, and bought and sold, and planted and built; but on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven, which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“On that day, if you are on the rooftop, do not go down into the house to get your belongings; and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to save his life will lose himself, but whoever gives his life will be born again.”

“I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it might happen that one will be taken, and the other left; though two women are grinding corn together, one might be taken and the other left.” Then they asked Jesus, “Where will this take place, Lord?” And He answered, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.”

Friday, 13 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 118 : 1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18

Blessed are they whose ways are upright, who follow the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they who treasure His word and seek Him with all their heart.

I seek You with my whole heart; let me not stray from Your commands.

In my heart I have kept Your word, that I may not sin against my Lord.

Be kind to Your servant, that I may live to follow Your word.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.

Friday, 13 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

2 John 4-9

I rejoiced greatly on meeting some of your children who live in accordance with the truth, according to the command we have received from the Father. And now, I ask you, Lady – I write to you not a new commandment but that which we had from the beginning – I ask you : let us love one another.

This is love : to walk according to His commandments. And this is the commandment : that you walk in love as you have learnt from the beginning. Many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ Who came in the flesh. They are impostors and antichrists.

Take care of yourselves that you do not lose the fruit of your labours, but receive a perfect reward. Everyone who goes beyond and does not remain within the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Thursday, 12 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are brought to attention of the sufferings of the followers of Christ just as the Lord Himself had suffered at the hands of those who opposed Him and refused to believe in Him. And because of this, we have to keep our faith in God strong and keep up our hope in Him even as we face trials and challenges in this life.

The Lord wants us all to be strong and to keep the faith, and because of that He has constantly reassured us through His servants, the Apostles and the saints, whose lives become our inspiration and strength, that we may continue to follow Him with zeal. And today, in particular, we recall the glorious life and inspirational faith of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, holy bishop of the Lord and martyr of the Church.

St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was a monk of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a few hundred years ago, at the time when the Christian faithful were divided between those who obeyed the Pope and are in communion with him, both the Roman Rite and the ones following the Eastern Orthodox communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

By that time the Pope and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople had been separated due to the Great Schism for over five hundred years, and the sum of mutual distrust, political circumstances and greed by others involved in the matter led to increasingly distant and hostile relationship between the two sides, and consequently, the faithful also ended up becoming ever more divided and hostile against each other.

St. Joseph Kuntsevych was a monk who eventually rose to the position of leadership within the Church as an Archbishop. At that time, a significant majority of the local Ruthenian population in the region now known as Belarus and Ukraine sought to be reconciled with the Pope led by the Metropolitan of Kiev and other bishops, who worked towards reconciliation that culminated in the Union of Brest.

Through that Union many communities of the faithful were led by their bishops and the clergy into full communion and reconciliation with the Pope and therefore becoming once again a member of God’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. However, this did not mean that the reunification of the Church occurred smoothly, as there were significant opposition from some segments of the faithful, both the clergy and laity alike.

It was in that situation that St. Josaphat Kuntsevych became a leader and shepherd for his flock, despite the rising tensions and clashes between those who were supportive of the Union and those who opposed the Union. He had the difficult job of trying to resolve the tensions and differences between the feuding factions of the faithful. Nonetheless, he dedicated himself as best as possible and did what he could to steer the faithful through to the right path despite the challenges.

And this was also accompanied by his personal holiness, exemplary conduct and life, constantly mortifying the flesh and resisting the temptations to sin. Nonetheless, amidst the rising sectarian tensions and violence eventually it led to the martyrdom of this faithful and holy man of God, as the townspeople who were opposed to the Union with the Pope rose against St. Josaphat and attacked him, tortured him and threw his dead body into the river.

As we can see from this case, St. Josaphat Kuntsevych showed us that being faithful to God is often not an easy task and is likely to be a challenging journey. But we must not lose hope or faith in God as the Lord will be with us, guiding us in our journey together towards Him. We must remain faithful, no matter what challenges we may encounter, that when the Lord comes again, we can confidently say that we have kept the faith, and will be worthy of His eternal glory.

May God bless us all and guide us, strengthen us in our journey that we may draw ever closer to Him, with each and every moments of our lives. Amen.

Thursday, 12 November 2020 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”