Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are told through the Scriptures of the many wonders of God, His many works and all that He has done for our sake all these while because of His great and unending love for each and every one of us. He has blessed us all His people at all times despite of our frequent and constant disobedience and sinfulness.

As we heard from our Gospel passage today, through the parable of the evil judge that the Lord Jesus used to explain on this matter, we can see how even an evil, wicked and selfish judge could still bend to the desires of an old woman who went to him constantly and nagged at him incessantly in trying to get him to help her to get her case settled and to fight for her case. The evil judge eventually acceded to her requests and listened to her.

By comparing the behaviour and attitude of the evil and wicked judge, with that of the Lord, our God, we can then see just how if an evil person knew how to do something that is right even for a less than righteous and noble reason, then all the more that God, Who loves us all very dearly and treats us as very precious in His sight, will bless us and take care of us, especially when we ask of Him for a specific grace and help.

Yet, many of us chose to turn away from Him and ignore all the love, care and compassion which He has shown us all these while. And this is mainly caused by our own preoccupation in life, in our relentless pursuits for worldly satisfactions and joys, for the pleasures of the body and for the fulfilment of our desires, be it for money, for fame, for glory and prestige in the society among many others.

We often put trust in our own abilities and strengths, and we do not remember God and His love even in times of difficulties. And when we encounter challenges and difficulties, we then often blame God and became angry at Him for having allowed us all to endure through those difficult challenges and trials. It is then that we need to remember again what we have heard from the Book of Wisdom in our first reading today.

Through that passage from the Book of Wisdom, we are reminded of how God has provided for all of His faithful ones throughout the ages, as how He wished it to be and how He has fashioned all things in accordance with His will. God has been with His people Israel regardless of how they have treated Him, freed them from their slavery in Egypt and provided for them throughout all the many years of their Exodus, even when they rebelled against Him and chose to worship the pagan gods instead of Him.

How have we ourselves lived our lives so far, brothers and sisters in Christ? Have we been ungrateful, unappreciative and ignorant of how great God’s love and kindness towards us have been? Have we allowed pride and our desires to get in our way of being able to love God and to be faithful to Him? Perhaps then it is right that today we should look upon the examples of two of our holy predecessors in faith who have dedicated themselves to the Lord, to be our own inspirations.

St. Margaret of Scotland was the queen of Scotland who was renowned for her upright and virtuous life, her just and loving attitudes towards us, her compassion for the poor and the needy throughout the kingdom. She was very charitable and devoted, performing many charitable works and also instilled great love for God among her family members and her sons, who would become the kings of Scotland.

Despite her privileged status and birth, St. Margaret of Scotland did not let all of those to prevent or stop her from being filled with God’s love, sharing the love of God with her brethren just as the Lord has loved and blessed her first. Through her, we can indeed see just how God performed His wonderful works of love in this world, through St. Margaret of Scotland herself, and also therefore, through us all, by our own actions, words and deeds.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was a Benedictine religious sister and mystic who was renowned for her visions as well as for her great spiritual life and connections to God. St. Gertrude spent much of her time in prayers and contemplations, loving God to the best of her abilities and devoting her time and effort to glorify Him at all times. She also wrote extensively, some of which still survived to this day. Through her writings, many others became inspired by the great faith and love that she had for God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the inspiring life of these two saints, let us all be inspired and be strengthened in our own lives, that we may also dedicate ourselves to God, and love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength because ultimately, He has loved us all first so wonderfully and dearly, that He took up the Cross, suffered, was crucified and died, out of love for us and for the sake of our salvation.

May the Lord enkindle in each and every one of us a strong love for Him, love that imitates and matches the same love which He Himself had shown us. May He bless us all and continue to guide us all through our lives and in all of our good endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told them 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 adversary!'”

“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, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 36-37, 42-43

Sing to YHVH, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice.

Then He smote all the firstborn, the first fruits of their manhood. He led Israel out of the alien land, laden with silver and gold, and none were left behind.

For He remembered His promise to Abraham, His servant. So He led forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with singing.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Wisdom 18 : 14-16 and Wisdom 19 : 6-9

While all was in quiet silence and the night was in the middle of its course, Your Almighty Word leapt down from the royal throne – a stern Warrior to a doomed world. Carrying Your fearful command like a sharpened sword and stretching from heaven to earth, He filled the universe with death.

All creation in its different forms was fashioned anew at Your command, in order to protect Your people. The cloud covered the camp with its shadow, dry land emerged where water had been. A safe passage was opened through the Red Sea, the tempestuous flood became a green plain where the whole nation of those protected by Your hand passed across, witnessing Your astounding deeds.

They were like horses led to pasture, or like frolicking lambs, praising You, their Lord, Who had delivered them.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God contained in the day’s Scripture passages, again we are further reminded of the future that is to come as the Lord reminded His people, of the day of reckoning and judgment of all creation. He was reminding them all that when the time comes, some will be deemed as righteous while others will be sent to their fated damnation, and while some enter into the glory of God in heaven, others will go to the eternal suffering in hell.

This is a reality for all of us to ponder upon, and it should be a means of check of our own path in life. Have we lived our lives thus far in ways that will see us ending up by the side of God? Or have we instead walked down the path towards darkness and annihilation? The Lord made it clear that by the time of the coming of the judgment, it will be too late for some of us to regret that we have not done better to allow us to enter the glorious kingdom of God.

But unfortunately many of us fall into the temptations of worldly things, of worldly glory and of the false idols of money, possessions, of fame and glory, of renown and affluence, of pleasures of the body and the mind among many others. As a result, we became attached to those that led us down the path of sin, and we become indifferent and ignorant of God’s truth and love for us. We are distracted by our sinful ways.

And we are easily tempted, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the desires, the greed and the pride within our hearts and minds are always ready to overcome us and to lead us into the path of sin. The devil knows this very well, and that is why, seeking our destruction and annihilation, he is always ever ready with all of his wicked forces to try and bring us down through this path, by tempting us with all the distractions of life.

In the Book of Wisdom all of us are reminded that all those worldly things that I have mentioned earlier are nothing more than just mere creations of God, and yet we tend to glorify them and treasure them even more and much more than how we treasure God and His love in our own lives. And these are painfully visible and real through our own daily actions and through the way we have lived our lives.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. How many of us have spent a lot of time trying to accrue for ourselves more of the worldly goods, money, possessions of all sorts, influence and power in the community, and then because we have been so preoccupied and busy with all that, we end up forgetting about God and distancing ourselves from Him in our busy attachments to the world.

That is how we fall into the trap of the devil, and how we end up being dragged ever deeper into the darkness. Let us therefore today look up to the examples of faith set by our saint today, St. Albert the Great, a holy and devout servant of God and bishop, who was truly exemplary and whose life should be a great inspiration to each and every one of us in how we should be living our lives with faith.

St. Albert the Great was a member of the Dominican Order and was renowned for his great intellect and wisdom, and he was a renowned intellectual and teacher in the Church, throughout his many years of teaching and scholarship, research and writing about the many aspects of the faith. One among his students was none other than another great saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, both of them equally well-known for their faith and dedication to God.

Yet, for all his intellect and wonderful knowledge, St. Albert the Great used all of his strength and being to serve God with all of his heart, to minister to the people entrusted to him and leading them down the path of God’s salvation. He was also a humble person who did not seek any glory for himself, and he preferred to remain in the low rather to let himself be known or be glorified for his works and actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having seen the great faith and humility shown by St. Albert the Great in his life, of his allowance of God’s grace and wisdom to flow and work through him, let us all follow in his footsteps and walk on God’s path from now on. Let us all seek to trust God with ever more zeal and devotion, and let us all be ever closer to Him and love Him with ever greater faith and fidelity. Let us die to our pride and human desires, and let us grow in humility and faith. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

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 it, 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 meal 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, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.