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 :

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or 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.


Homily and Reflection :

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops or 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.


Homily and Reflection :