Tuesday, 15 November 2022 : 33rd 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 the Scriptures, we are reminded of our Christian mission in life, that is to be ever more faithful and committed to God. We must always keep in mind that as Christians, we have been given the mission and responsibility to proclaim the Lord and His truth through our lives and actions, our every words and deeds. The salvation of God will come to all those who have worthily carried out these missions in the way they live their lives, with real and genuine faith and not just with empty gestures and meaningless actions merely to put up appearances, as hypocrites and unbelievers had done in the past. The Lord had told us to be truly faithful to Him, and not to just make empty promises to Him.

In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Revelation of St. John the Apostle, we heard of the words of the Apostle to the Church in various places and communities established all across the region of Eastern Mediterranean Sea, which was at that time called the ‘Seven Churches of Asia’. The Apostle delivered what he witnessed and heard from the Lord through the visions he received, in which God was telling the Angels and spirits in charge of those seven Church communities, to remain steadfast in their faith and remain faithful to God, and not be easily swayed by the temptations present all around in the world. The Apostle spoke of the Lord’s reminders to His people to resist the temptations of the flesh, of pleasures and all things that will easily turn the faithful towards the wrong path towards damnation.

The Lord spoke to His people of what they ought to be doing as Christians, as those whom He had called and chosen from the world. They should live their lives righteously and with obedience to God’s will, His Law and commandments, and not to follow the wicked ways of this world. He reminded all of them that they should not be easily swayed or tempted by the allures of worldly pleasures, joys and comforts, as what many among the faithful had done at that time, in the various communities of the faithful then existing, and quite a few of those people did not stay and remain faithful to the Lord, but continuing to follow their own flawed ways and the ways of wickedness and evil. And their actions and deeds led to scandal within and outside the Church.

That is why the Lord warned them all through His Apostle, St. John, that they all ought to listen to Him and obey Him once more, and reject the wicked ways that they had been trodding along all those while. The Lord did not want them all to continue walking down that path to ruin and hence, He gave them a reminder and help, so that they might realise the errors of their ways, as He truly loved all of them, and wanted them all to be saved, by genuine and true reconciliation with Him, being forgiven from all of their sins, by the power and grace of His most compassionate mercy, and His enduring love and patience. Through the love that He has shown us, we have received once again the sure hope of life and freedom, of the promise of true happiness and joy that God alone can provide us.

In our Gospel passage today, we heard of the well-known story of the Lord Jesus and His encounter with Zaccheus the tax collector. Zaccheus was a notorious tax collector who had earned a lot from his trade, in gaining much wealth from the taxes he collected, and he was despised like the other tax collectors for that. At that time, tax collectors were often negatively viewed by the other people, especially so by the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, namely all those religious and intellectual elites who considered themselves as being the righteous and worthy guardians of the people of God, and who zealously guarded their way of living the Law of God. They deemed the tax collectors as among the worst of sinners, unworthy of God and His salvation, because of their actions and wickedness in life.

They were considered and deemed as traitors to their country and people, as they and their actions were deemed as selfish and wicked, in persecuting and extorting the people for their own desires and wishes. They were therefore often ostracised and treated badly by the people, because of this prejudice which existed back then, and then continued to be repeated by the same people who sought to justify themselves for their righteousness and piety like those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. Zaccheus was an embodiment of this so-called wicked man, unworthy and undeserving of God and His grace, His salvation and love. And yet, the same Zaccheus went all out in seeking the Lord and trying to reach out to Him. He climbed a tree just to see the Lord because of his short stature, and he risked his life and threw away all of his pride and ego in publicly declaring his faith in the Lord.

Not a lot of people can do what Zaccheus had done, in publicly admitting his mistakes and publicly promising to rectify the mistakes and wickedness he had committed. Zaccheus promised before all assembled that he would return and compensate all those whom he had extorted and gained from illicitly, not just by the same amount, but even thrice and four times more of what they had lost. Through that act, Zaccheus had shown his determination to abandon his past, wicked and unworthy way of life, and embracing God’s love, compassion and mercy, which the Lord gladly extended to him, Zaccheus was well on the way to redemption and therefore to enter into the glorious kingdom that God has promised to all those who are faithful to Him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard these readings from the Scriptures, each one of us are therefore reminded that as Christians, all of us should embrace the Lord and His truth, and abandon our wicked way of life, listening to Him and following Him wholeheartedly in the same way that Zaccheus had done. We also have yet another example and inspiration whom we can follow in one of our holy predecessors, whose feast we are celebrating this day, namely that of St. Albert the Great, also known as St. Albertus Magnus, a great saint and servant of God, a great philosopher and Doctor of the Church, known for his immense contributions in Christian philosophy and theology, as well as various other aspects of the faith, in which he had inspired countless others to follow the Lord faithfully as he had.

St. Albert the Great spent a lot of time and effort in doing the will of God, in his role as a great philosopher and teacher of the faith, inspiring many younger generations of the servants and followers of God to gain more knowledge and understanding of His truth and love, which he passionately carried out, through his many writings and teachings, his efforts, as a servant of the Church, in carrying out the missions entrusted to him by the Pope. As the Bishop of Regensburg, he was known for his great humility and piety, and his great love for his flock, dedicating his time and effort for the salvation of souls. He did not seek worldly glory or ambition, and did all he could to glorify God by his every actions, deeds and his way of life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all be inspired to follow the Lord in the manner that these faithful and dedicated predecessors of ours had done, and let us all renew our commitment to God, to live our lives ever more worthily from now on. May the Lord be with us always and may He strengthen our resolve and courage to continue living our lives virtuously and worthily in accordance with what He has taught us to do. May God bless us always, now and forevermore, and may He bless our every good works, efforts and endeavours, for His greater glory. Amen.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 : 33rd 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 19 : 1-10

At that time, when Jesus entered Jericho and passed through the city, a man named Zaccheus lived there. He was a tax collector and a wealthy man. He wanted to see what Jesus was like, but he was a short man and could not see Him because of the crowd.

So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree. From there he would be able to see Jesus, Who was going to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, Zaccheus, come down quickly, for I must stay at your house today.” So Zaccheus climbed down and received Him joyfully.

All the people who saw it began to grumble, and said, “He has gone as a guest to the house of a sinner.” But Zaccheus spoke to Jesus, “Half of what I own, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay him back four times as much.”

Looking at him Jesus said, “Salvation has come to this house today, for he is also a true son of Abraham. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 14 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4ab, 5

Those who walk blamelessly and do what is right, who speak truth from their heart and control their words.

Those who do no harm to their neighbours and cast no discredit on their companions, who look down on evildoers but highly esteem God’s servants.

Those who do not lend money at interest and refuse a bribe against the innocent. Do this, and you will soon be shaken.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Revelations 3 : 1-6, 14-22

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Sardis, “Thus says He Who holds the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars : ‘I know your worth : you think you live but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen that which is not already dead. For I have found your works to be imperfect in the sight of My God.”

“‘Remember what you were taught; keep it and change your ways. If you do not repent I will come upon you like a thief at an hour you least expect. Yet, there are some left in Sardis who have not soiled their robes; these will come with Me, dressed in white, since they deserve it. The victor will be dressed in white and I will never erase his name from the book of life; instead, I will acknowledge it before My Father and His Angels.'”

“‘Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Write this to the Angel of the Church in Laodicea, “Thus says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation : ‘I know your works : you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! You are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold so I will spit you out of My mouth.'”

“‘You think you are rich and have piled up so much that you need nothing, but you do not realise that you are wretched and to be pitied, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold that has been tested by fire, so that you may be rich, and white clothes to wear so that your nakedness may not shame you, and ointment for your eyes that you may see. I reprimand and correct all those I love. Be earnest and change your ways.'”

“‘Look, I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My call and open the door, I will come in to you and have supper with you, and you with Me. I will let the victor sit with Me on My throne just as I was victorious and took My place with My Father on His throne. Let anyone who has ears listen to what the Spirit says to the Churches.'”

Monday, 15 November 2021 : 33rd 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 the Lord, we are all presented with the accounts of the persecution of the faithful Jews, the descendant of the Israelites at the time of the Greek Seleucid rule in Judea which caused the spark of the Maccabean Revolt, and then in the Gospel passage we heard of the moment when the Lord Jesus healed a blind man whose sight He restored, showing the blind man mercy and compassion, the love of God.

In our first reading today from the first Book of the Maccabees, we heard of the moment when the new King of the Seleucid Empire, one of the several successor kingdoms of Alexander the Great’s Empire, rose to power as Antiochus IV Epiphanes and wanting to impose the Greek customs and ways, traditions and practices on the Jewish people living in Judea, Galilee and in the other parts of his Empire. This is the main cause of the great Maccabean Revolt detailed in the Book of the Maccabees.

Historically, the Jews, who are the descendants of the Israelites living in Judah and others, had been left to practice their faith and traditions without hindrance by the Persians, who emancipated them from the exile in Babylon, and allowed them to return to their homeland to live in accordance with their laws and customs as long as they recognised the Persian King as their Sovereign. Such practice was continued mostly unchanged by Alexander the Great, the King of Macedon when he conquered the Persian Empire.

While the Hellenic influence gradually established itself among many of the Jews, the kings who succeeded Alexander’s divided kingdoms usually left the locals, including the Jews alone. However, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, known to history for his pride, arrogance and megalomania, was determined to change his whole Empire to suit his own purpose and desires. He forced his subjects to adopt the Greek way of life, religious beliefs, practices and traditions, forcing them to abandon their own distinctive ways of life.

This imposition of the pagan ways and beliefs on the Jews then resulted in the rise of the Maccabeans as the leaders of the revolt against the Greeks. They led the people in their opposition to the sufferings that the faithful people of God had suffered for remaining faithful to the Lord and to His Law. Through them, God eventually delivered His people from their sufferings, and restored their faith and practices to them as they gained independence from the Greek kings.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord healed the eyes of a blind man and made him to be able to see again. He showed His love and compassion for the suffering blind man, and answered his plea, as the blind man begged to be healed, knowing that the Lord could heal him. His example showed us all that God always cares for us and protects us whenever He can, and we must not doubt His love and kindness, which He had once shown on His people at the time of the Maccabean Revolt.

As we listened in the Gospel today, the Lord told the blind man that his faith had saved him. He believed that the Lord could heal him and thus he was healed. His faith, just as the faith of the faithful living during the time of the Maccabean Revolt should inspire us, in how they remain true and faithful to the Lord despite the challenges and trials they had to face. Are we able to have the same faith and dedication as they had shown the Lord and all of us? Are we also willing to make that commitment if we have not done so, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Today, being the feast of St. Albert the Great, we have yet another good example that we should follow in our lives in being faithful to God at all times. St. Albert the Great was a great Dominican friar and bishop who was one of the most famous and brilliant theologian of all time. He was remembered for his many marvellous books and treatises, all works on various areas of theology. St. Albert the Great dedicated his whole life to the service of God and to the advancement of theological studies and teaching.

As a member of the Dominican Order and the Bishop of Regensburg in what is today southern Germany, he also dedicated himself to his responsibilities and worked hard to glorify God and to serve those who have been entrusted to him as shepherd and as a member of his Dominican Order community. In this case, we can see from the holiness and faith that this great saint had, how each and every one of us can also contribute our time and effort, in believing God and in loving Him, just as St. Albert the Great and our predecessors had done.

Let us all discern these and see in what way we can dedicate ourselves to the Lord better, to be better Christians from now on. Let us also not be discouraged by persecution, oppression, trials and challenges we may face in life in being faithful to God, but remain firm in our adherence to our faith in Him, always. May God be with us all and may He bless us all in our every efforts and good works for His greater glory. Amen.

Monday, 15 November 2021 : 33rd 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 18 : 35-43

At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. As he heard the crowd passing by, he inquired what was happening, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by. Then he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

The people in front of him scolded him, “Be quiet!” they said, but he cried out all the more, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped, and ordered the blind man to be brought to Him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the man said, “Lord, that I may see!”

Jesus said, “Receive your sight, your faith has saved you.” At once the blind man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving praise to God. And all the people who were there also praised God.

Monday, 15 November 2021 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 118 : 53, 61, 134, 150, 155, 158

I feel indignant at the wicked who have forsaken Your law.

The wicked have me trapped in their snares, but I have not forgotten Your laws.

Rescue me from human oppression, and help me keep Your precepts.

My persecutors close in with evil intent; they are far from Your law.

Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Your statutes.

I look upon the faithless with loathing, because they do not obey Your ruling.

Monday, 15 November 2021 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

1 Maccabees 1 : 10-15, 41-43, 54-57, 62-64

From their descendants there came a godless offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of king Antiochus, who had been held as hostage in Rome. He became king in the one hundred and thirty-seventh year of the Greek era, in the year 175 B.C..

It was then that some rebels emerged from Israel, who succeeded in winning over many people. They said, “Let us renew contact with the people around us for we had endured many misfortunes since we separated from them.”

This proposal was well-received and some eagerly went to the king. The king authorised them to adopt the customs of the pagan nations. With his permission, they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem in the pagan style. And as they wanted to be like the pagans in everything, they made artificial foreskins for themselves and abandoned the Holy Covenant, sinning as they pleased.

Antiochus issued a decree to his whole kingdom. All the people of his empire had to renounce their particular customs and become one people. All the pagan nations obeyed and respected the king’s decree, and, even in Israel, many accepted the imposed cult. They offered sacrifices to idols and no longer respected the Sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month of Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, in the year 167 B.C., Antiochus erected the “abominable idol of the invaders” on the altar of the Temple. Pagan altars were built throughout the whole land of Judea; incense was offered at the doors of their houses and in the squares.

There wicked men tore up the books of the Law they found and burnt them. They killed anyone they caught in possession of the book of the Covenant and who fulfilled the precepts of the Law, as the royal decree had ordered. But in spite of all this, many Israelites still remained firm and determined not to eat unclean food. They preferred to die rather than to make themselves unclean with those foods prohibited by the Law that violated the Holy Covenant. And Israel suffered a very great trial.

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 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 or Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Gospel the parable mentioned by Jesus on an evil and proud judge, and a persistent old woman who continued to pester that particular judge to stand up for her case. And that judge, even though he did not fear God nor man, and did not listen or submit to anyone, eventually gave in to the old woman who continued to pester him and plead with him to advance her case.

This parable is a clear message to all of us, that we cannot be complacent in our faith. Besides that we need to act with concrete and genuine love, and live our faith fully through our deeds and actions, we also have to have a good and healthy prayer life. Prayer is for us a connection and a highway that links us to our Lord. It is a two-way conversation between Him and us, through which we can listen to Him and He too can listen to us speaking directly towards Him.

What our Lord Jesus mentioned to us today in the parable is that, if that evil judge, despicable, wicked and irresponsible as he was, not fearing God nor men, could eventually succumb to the pressures of the old woman, just so that she would no longer pester him, how much more will our loving God then harken and listen to our prayers and petitions?

However, be reminded, brothers and sisters, that our prayers and petitions do not equate with what demands we have in this life, and they do not equate with our desires and wants, that means, these do not include our desires for many things, from material wealth to other things. God is loving and He will listen to us, but He also knows our needs and our greatest details till the greatest secrets we keep in the depths of our hearts.

Therefore, our Lord is not held hostage to our wishes and demands, and He is not obliged to fulfill all of our wishes, and neither is He subordinate to us and our will. And He does what seems to fit His will. But this does not mean that He is a heartless God who does not care about us, as if we are in genuine need, He will know it, and He will want to help us.

On our part therefore, we have to act like the old woman who persistently pursued the evil judge in order to have her wishes fulfilled. But did she ask for her own selfish wish? No, it is so that she can have justice shown to her, for she had been wronged. It is the same therefore for all or us, that we have to take out two things from this day’s Scripture readings.

First, we have to persist in our prayers, to pray without cease, on regular basis, constantly contacting and talking with the Lord our God, like the old woman pestering the evil judge for his attention and help. But the difference is that, if the evil judge hated the woman’s persistence and pleas, our Lord who is loving and kind to us, will never be tired of listening to our constant pleas and prayers. Instead, He will listen to them and then act as it is right according to Him and His own will for us.

And then second, all of us must realise that God loves us all and He wants us to be righteous and just in all things. He wants us to have love and faith in ourselves, so that in all of our actions we will no longer put forward our desires or greed, but instead to submit to the greater will of the Lord. And therefore, in that, in our prayer life too, we have to realise that our prayers are not merely just list of petitions and demands against the Lord.

Prayer is all about keeping in contact with our Lord, from heart to heart, an intimate and personal relationship we must have and nourish between us and our God. In prayer, we should air our concerns and wishes, but at the same time, we must also open our ears wide in order to be able to listen to the word of God which He spoke softly deep in our hearts.

Therefore, we ought to learn to listen and to listen well, so that our hearts be cleared from all forms of hubris and pride, of desire and greed that we may truly be transformed from creatures of sin and darkness, into the children of the light, of our Lord who is Love. This is what we need to do, and there is today a saint, whose feast day we celebrate this day, and whose life examples may be an inspiration to all of us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Albert of Cologne, also more famously known by his epithet ‘the Great’ as St. Albertus Magnus or St. Albert the Great. He was a Dominican friar and then bishop in the High Middle Ages era Germany, who was renowned particularly for his faith, for his zeal, for his numerous works and writings, as well as for his great contributions to the growth of the spiritual aspect in many of the faithful, both whom he directly and indirectly touched.

St. Albert the Great is honoured with the title of the Doctor of the Church, to be among the few so honoured as such. His works in both philosophy and theology were of great importance to the Church and to the faithful. His dedication to the advancement of the Lord’s teaching and cause was truly remarkable and commendable, and he was also devoted to helping the people of God, both through his works and through his writings.

Through the examples of St. Albert the Great, we can see how if we devoted ourselves in deep prayer and develop our spirituality in the way of St. Albert the Great, we can truly be like him. St. Albert the Great spent much of his time in prayer and devotion to God, and through that devotion, he produced many good works that benefit not just himself, but countless others around him.

And in the first reading, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist advised us all how we should live out our lives, to be righteous and just before God, by loving one another sincerely and genuinely, and most especially, to show our love and care to our brothers and sisters around us, who needs our love the most. Thus these are the two pillars of our faith, namely our loving actions to one another, and our strong and devoted prayer life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore from now on, renew our commitment to the Lord and ask for the intercession of St. Albert the Great, that our faith too may be strengthened by God just as his was strengthened. May we all grow stronger and more devoted in our prayer life, so that we may not be lost but remain in close and intimate contact with the Lord our loving God, at all the moments of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.


First Reading :


Psalm :


Gospel Reading :


Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 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 or 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?”


Homily and Reflection :