Saturday, 7 November 2020 : 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, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are all reminded today that we are all as Christians have been called to follow the Lord and devote ourselves to Him wholeheartedly. We should keep this in mind and not to fall into the temptations of money and other worldly pleasures and temptations, all of which are trying to lead us away from God and from His path.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard the continuation of yesterday’s parable of the dishonest steward, in which today the Lord explained its meaning and how it can be related to the lives of the people, to whom the Lord told them the parable. The parable showed how the dishonest steward had misused his authority and became corrupt, in his less than honourable dealings, which were discovered by his master and then leading to him being dismissed from service.

What the steward did after that was to try to provide for himself by committing even more dishonesty, unilaterally rewriting the debts of the others who owed his master money. In doing so, he tried to secure for himself favours as he told himself that he was too embarrassed to beg or unable to do other jobs or works. As we can see from this, the dishonest steward doubled down even more on his dishonesty, and committed even more sins in doing so.

What the Lord wanted all of us to know through these parables and teachings is that, first of all, we must be careful and be vigilant not to fall into those temptations. When He mentioned to them about filthy money in today’s Gospel, He was mentioning the money of the world and how it is usually used, but in fact, He was not saying that money itself by nature was intrinsically evil. As ultimately, money is just a means for exchanging goods and possessions, which unfortunately more often than not end up being entangled with greed and human desires.

Yes, it is the attachment and desire for money that ended up making it ‘filthy’, causing us to do things that are contrary to the way of the Lord, wicked and sinful. And what the Lord said by saying that ‘use filthy money to gain friends so that people may welcome you into the eternal homes’, it may seem confusing for us at first, why the Lord was advocating the use of so-called ‘filthy money’. But this is because we have to understand the context in which the Lord said this statement.

Right immediately after that, He said that, ‘if you had been dishonest in handling filthy money, who would entrust you with true wealth?’ And this is a reference to the worldly possessions, money and material goods that we possess, which is God’s blessings to us. If we have not been honest and good in how we handle all these things, then surely, no one will trust us with anything, including God, with the true wealth mentioned, which is eternal life and glory which He has promised to all those who are faithful to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to realise that our true wealth and treasure is in Heaven, and not in this world. There is no use in accumulating and gaining more and more of these possessions, and worse still, as what some had done, in persecuting and manipulating others, or even extorting and exploiting those who are weaker, poorer and less fortunate for our own gains. These are what the Lord had referred to as being ‘dishonest in handling filthy money’. If we do all these, then God’s share of His promised inheritance will not be ours, and we will be judged by our selfish and sinful deeds.

On the contrary, as Christians, each and every one of us are called to be dutiful and responsible custodians of whatever blessings and resources we have received from God. Some of us have received more, while others received less. Therefore, what God wants us to do, as He has also taught us through His Church is to be charitable and loving, to be generous in sharing and giving our excess to help those who are in need.

Especially during these difficult and challenging times, when many are struggling and suffering with the effects of the still rampant pandemic, the associated economic downturn and other societal problems, all of us are called to step up to live up our faith more readily and with more dedication. What do I mean is that, we must not close our eyes, ears and hearts to those who cry for help, and do what we can, even in small, little ways, to help.

We do not have to do great things for this, brothers and sisters in Christ. Remember what the Lord said, that ‘Whatever you have done to the least of your brothers and sisters, you have done it unto Me?’. This reminds us that as Christians, we have to reach out to those who are in need and those who have none to care for them, for ultimately, they too are our fellow brothers and sisters. We must do what we can, in our respective capacities to reach out to them and help them, love them and show them true care and compassion.

Let us all discern therefore what we are to do with our lives going from now on forward. Are we going to continue being selfish and be tempted by the various worldly temptations? Or are we going to make a difference in the lives of others by showing God’s sincere love to all those who need more of this love and care? Let us be true disciples of Christ, faithful followers of our God in all things, in all of our actions and dealings with one another. May God bless us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 7 November 2020 : 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 His disciples, “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, 7 November 2020 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

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

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 5-6, 8a and 9

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.

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.

His heart is confident, he needs not fear, he gives generously to the poor, his merits will last forever and his head will be raised in honour.

Saturday, 7 November 2020 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

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

Philippians 4 : 10-19

I rejoice in the Lord because of your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me before, but you had no opportunity to show it. I do not say this because of being in want; I have learnt to manage with what I have. I know what it is to be in want and what it is to have plenty. I am trained for both : to be hungry or satisfied, to have much or little. I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me.

However you did right in sharing my trials. You Philippians, remember that in the beginning, when we first preached the Gospel, after I left Macedonia you alone opened for me a debit and credit account, and when I was in Thessalonica, twice you sent me what I needed.

It is not your gift that I value but rather the interest increasing in your own account. Now I have enough and more than enough with everything Epaphroditus brought me on your behalf and which I received as “fragrant offerings pleasing to God.” God Himself will provide you with everything you need, according to His riches, and show you His generosity in Christ Jesus.