Sunday, 22 September 2019 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 112 : 1-2, 4-6, 7-8

Alleluia! Praise, o servants of YHVH, praise the Name of YHVH! Blessed be the Name of YHVH now and forever!

YHVH is exalted over the nations; His glory above the heavens. Who is like YHVH our God, Who sits enthroned on high, but also bends down to see on earth as in heaven?

He lifts up the poor from the dust and the needy from the ash heap. He makes them sit with princes, with rulers of His people.

Sunday, 22 September 2019 : Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Amos 8 : 4-7

Hear this, you, who trample on the needy, to do away with the weak of the land. You who say, “When will the new moon or the Sabbath feast be over that we may open the store and sell our grain? Let us lower the measure and raise the price; let us cheat and tamper with the scaled, and even sell the refuse with the whole grain. We will buy up the poor for money and the needy for a pair of sandals.”

YHVH, the Pride of Jacob, has sworn by Himself, “I shall never forget their deeds.”

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the feast of one of the Lord’s twelve principal disciples, also known as the Apostles. And on this day, we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, who was also one of the Four Evangelists together with St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. St. Matthew was once known as Levi, who was a tax collector that the Lord Jesus called to be His disciple.

The Lord called Levi to follow him and leave behind his post, and Levi listened to the Lord, and invited Him to his house along with many of the other tax collectors. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law disapproved of this act, and they thought badly of the Lord because they saw Him as associating with the people they condemned as sinners and being unworthy of God. But the Lord rebuked them and said that He came into this world precisely to seek those who are sick, sick because of sin.

And Levi left behind his post and profession, and became a disciple of the Lord from then on. That was how he became St. Matthew eventually, one of the Twelve Apostles, a committed disciple of the Lord who followed Him throughout His ministry and through the moments of His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection. He witnessed all that the Lord has done, and was part of the Great Commission which the Lord commanded all of His disciples.

They were all commissioned and sent into the world, to preach the Good News and the truth about God’s salvation. And the Apostles and the other disciples went to various places throughout the world spreading the Word of God. St. Matthew went to the Jewish communities throughout Judea and other parts of Israel, and was likely focused on ministering among the Jewish communities at that time.

That was also why St. Matthew wrote his Gospel a few decades after the death of Christ with the particular slant and purpose, aimed to target the Jewish populations to bring to them the truth of God explaining in particular the aspect of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the One Whom God has promised for time immemorial through His servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Israelites, and also through king David, the great king of Israel.

In the way he wrote his Gospel, he wanted to deliver the truth of God towards His own people, in explaining with the context understood by the Jews at the time. He did his best through the power of his pen and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help guide the people of God to the truth. In addition, he also carried out missionary works like that of the other Apostles and eventually, was martyred for his faith as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on the life and the works of St. Matthew the Apostle, in all the hard work that he had done for the sake of the people to whom he is ministering and evangelising towards. Are we able to dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the way St. Matthew has dedicated his? We must not forget how St. Matthew even left everything behind to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

It does not mean that we have to leave everything behind as St. Matthew has done, but rather, we have to give our heart totally to God and focus our attention in Him. We have to do our best in our every actions, words and deeds to give greater glory to God, and become the witnesses of His truth to all others not just by words alone but through our every actions and even small gestures that we take every single day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all renew our commitment to the Lord and let us all be ever closer in our relationship with Him. Let us all entrust ourselves, our hearts, our minds and indeed our whole being to God without any more reservations. Let us all be ever more faithful and be more Christian-like in everything. May God bless us all now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 9 : 9-13

At that time, as Jesus moved on from the place where He cured a paralytic man, He saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom house; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And Matthew got up and followed Him.

Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is it, that your Master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means : What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

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.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 4 : 1-7, 11-13

Therefore, I, the prisoner of Christ, invite you, to live the vocation you have received. Be humble, kind, patient and bear with one another in love. Make every effort to keep among you, the unity of spirit, through bonds of peace. Let there be one body, and one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God, the Father of all, Who is above all, and works through all, and is in all.

But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. As for His gifts, to some, He gave to be Apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, He prepared those who belong to Him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Friday, 20 September 2019 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest and Martyr, St. Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions, Martyrs (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scripture reminding us to be pure in our faith and in our intentions in serving the Lord and in evangelising the Gospel of Christ. St. Paul in his Epistle to St. Timothy reminds us all to walk righteously before God and to follow Him wholeheartedly without being distracted by worldly temptations of glory, fame, wealth and possessions.

All of us must do our best to walk faithfully in God’s path, and persevere in this path even if we have to suffer persecution and challenges from all those who disagree with us and from those who rather believe in the falsehood of the evil one. As St. Paul mentioned in the same Epistle passage, there are many of those who are motivated and inspired by the love of money and the world, and they are powerful and numerous, but this should not discourage us from remaining true and faithful.

And on this day in particular we are reminded of the great inspiration shown by our holy predecessors who have suffered the same persecution and challenges for their faith in God. Today we recall the memory of the Holy Korean Martyrs, a multitude of saints and martyrs who have suffered and shed their blood for remaining true to God and refusing to renounce Him and their faith in Him.

During many years and decades, Christians and missionaries in Korea had endured terrible persecutions for their faith. Many were oppressed and chased to hiding for their dedication to the Christian faith. Many had to endure all the pain and suffering, and even being betrayed by their own families and close ones. And in particular the missionaries had to be very careful as they spread the Christian faith and preached the Word of God.

Many of those missionaries, both the local and foreign missionaries had to hide from the authorities who were hunting down on Christians and particularly on the leaders of the Church. St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon, St. Paul Chong Ha-sang among many others were the local converts, some like St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon became priests and were martyred for remaining resolute in opposing the effort to make the Christians to renounce their faith.

And the foreign missionaries like St. Laurent Imbert among many others also suffered and gave their lives for the sake of the people of God and in remaining true to their dedication to God. They remained strong and true to their faith despite the challenges and troubles they had to face. St. Laurent Imbert in particular was remembered for his courage in stepping up to protect the flock entrusted under his care.

For St. Laurent Imbert was the Vicar Apostolic of Korea, the local ordinary and bishop then entrusted with the responsibility over the entire mission territory of Korea. He was therefore the prime target of the anti-Christian authority who wanted him to surrender or else the whole community of Christians would suffer even more. St. Laurent Imbert decided to surrender himself to the authorities and even encouraged two other priests to also give themselves up with the hope that the authorities would spare the rest of the faithful.

The martyrdom of St. Laurent Imbert, and also St. Andrew Kim Tae-gon and many others recognised throughout the long era of persecution in Korea reminds each one of us that being Christians have to be prepared for rejection and opposition from this world. It is not necessary that all of us must go through persecution, and the extent of persecution from one community to another, and from one person to another may be different, but in essence, the path to follow Christ will likely be riddled with obstacles and troubles.

That is why the Lord also said that in order to become His disciples we must be ready to take up our cross and follow Him. There will be challenges and difficulties along the way, the temptations and many things that will lure us away from His path. But we must always hold firm to our faith in God and dedicate ourselves wholeheartedly to Him, for in the end, while we may be disobedient and unfaithful, God will always be ever faithful.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to follow in the footsteps of our holy predecessors, especially the Holy Korean Martyrs whose memory we celebrate today? Are we able to turn towards God with renewed faith and commitment from now on, giving ourselves wholly from now on? Let us all be ever more faithful and be more dedicated Christians, and be ever closer and attuned to God, our loving Father and Creator. Amen.