Wednesday, 26 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 13cd-14

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

The Lord is true to His promises and lets His mercy show in all He does. The Lord lifts up those who are falling and raises those who are beaten down.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Ephesians 6 : 1-9

Children, obey your parents for this is right : Honour your father and your mother. And this is the first commandment that has promise : that you may be happy and enjoy long life in the land. And you, fathers, do not make rebels of your children, but educate them by correction and instruction which the Lord may inspire.

Servants, obey your masters of this world with fear and respect, with simplicity of heart, as if obeying Christ. Do not serve only when you are watched or in order to please others, but become servants of Christ who do God’s will with all your heart. Work willingly, for the Lord and not for humans, mindful that the good each one has done, whether servant or free, will be rewarded by the Lord.

And you, masters, deal with your servants in the same way, and do not threaten them, since you know that they and you have the same Lord Who is in heaven, and He treats all fairly.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of the presence of the kingdom of God in our midst, which has been expected by the people of God throughout many millennia, and indeed, which had arrived upon this world as Christ has revealed to us. And that, brothers and sisters in Christ, in fact is what He had established through His Church in this world, which He entrusted to St. Peter His Apostle, His other Apostles and disciples, and which we are all parts and members of.

Christ is the Head of the Church and we are the members of His Body, that is the Church, and that is in reality, what perhaps is very likely to be what God meant as the kingdom of God He had promised to all of us, that we all as members of God’s kingdom, as one united people, are growing together in our unity and in our love towards one another as He made it clear to the people using His parable, comparing the kingdom of God with that of a growing mustard seed and a fermenting and growing bread.

Jesus used parables to explain the mysteries of the faith such as the kingdom of God and His mission in this world, linking these to simple and common terms that the people, most of whom were uneducated, would be able to comprehend and relate to, given that many of them were farmers, or shepherds, or bakers. And thus, indeed, our Lord had compared His kingdom to those examples, and it is perhaps our turn to understand it all too.

A mustard seed is a very small type of seed that will grow into the mustard plant. It is very useful as seasoning and used plenty in our food, and the plant itself is of a sizeable structure. Yet, who can guess that the seed of this plant is so small, so minuscule that it is almost no bigger than a grain of sand? Yet, even a single one of this seed, when planted in good soil and taken good care of, will grow into a great and useful mustard plant.

Similarly, yeast is a very small type of organism, which are fungi-like in shape, microscopic in nature, and yet, arguably, with yeast, comes all of the various types of bread, fluffy and delicious bread we eat today, while before our ancestors knew how to use yeast in their bread, they were only able to make hard and tough bread. By adding yeast into the measure of flour, and by providing the right condition, since yeast cannot function properly in the presence of oxygen, meaning that the mixture had to be tightly covered, then the result will be great.

How do these then relate to us, brethren? It is because in the Church of God, God’s holy kingdom on this earth, all of us are members of this same body, and we all grow up together in the faith through our cooperation and work with one another. However, how well we all can grow, and how far we can develop ourselves truly depend on how good are the conditions we have placed in our lives, just as much as the mustard seed and the yeast need proper condition to grow and function.

It means that we as Christians, as members of God’s Church should be true disciples of our Lord Jesus, and our faith has to be genuine and true. It means that we cannot just sit back and do nothing for our faith, and for the sake of our brethren around us, fellow members of God’s Church, fellow citizens of God’s holy kingdom. We have to be active and be devoted in our actions, showing our faith by showing love, care and concern in our actions.

If we see our brethren suffering and in need of our help, do we help them? Or do we rather walk away pretending nothing is happening around us, or if that is not our business? And if we see someone being bullied and oppressed, ostracised and discriminated against, do we remain in silence and pretend that nothing is happening? Should we not rather try our best whenever possible to defend the weak and the downtrodden?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all cultivate a good environment in which the faith can grow and develop among us, that is by loving, caring and showing mercy to each other, be truthful and be honest in all of our dealings, and show to each other by example, that we may inspire each other and push one another to attempt to draw closer to the Lord our God.

May we all be able to find salvation and eternal life in God, and may we all be blessed and be faithful as we walk on the Lord’s path, be strong and courageous amidst the challenges of this life. May God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Luke 13 : 18-21

At that time, Jesus continued speaking, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? Imagine a person who has taken a mustard seed, and planted it in his garden. The seed has grown, and become like a small tree, so that the birds of the air shelter in its branches.”

And Jesus said again, “What is the kingdom of God like? Imagine a woman who has taken yeast, and hidden it in three measures of flour, until it is all leavened.”

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Psalm 127 : 1-2, 3, 4-5

Blessed are you who fear the Lord and walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your toil; you will be blessed and favoured.

Your wife, like a vine, will bear fruits in your home; your children, like olive shoots will stand around your table.

Such are the blessings bestowed upon the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosperous all the days of your life.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green
Ephesians 5 : 21-33

Let all kinds of submission to one another become obedience to Christ. So wives to their husbands : as to the Lord. The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the Head of the Church, His Body, of Whom He is also the Saviour. And as the Church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband.

As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. He washed her and made her holy by baptism in the Word. As He wanted a radiant Church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, He Himself had to prepare and present her to Himself.

In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it. This is just what Christ does for the Church, because we are members of His Body.

Scripture says : Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church. As for you, let each one love his wife as himself, and let the wife respect her husband.

Monday, 24 October 2016 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us Christians who believe in God are challenged to lead a real life of faith, that we should devote ourselves not to hypocrisy and all the things that do not lead to salvation in God. The example was given in the Gospel today, when Jesus was angry at those who were in the synagogue and was against His works, healing a woman who had been enthralled by the demons and the evil spirits for years.

All these meanwhile the synagogue officials, the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law constantly opposed the Lord, pretending through their piety that they were doing the works that God wanted them to do. They have taken upon themselves to safeguard the laws and traditions of Moses and their ancestors, but in that process, they truly have forgotten what it meant to be true disciples and followers of the Lord, and instead became blind followers and leaders.

They preached strict obedience and adherence to the Law, and were not hesitant to punish all those who did not follow the Lord as they had done, thinking that they have done the will of God in that way, but in reality, they have only served their own needs and purposes. They had no God in their hearts, but instead their own ego, their own greed and desire for money, for wealth, for possessions of worldly power and glory, and of influence and fame.

That was why these supposedly pious leaders of the people tolerated merchants and all money lenders and corrupt people to set up their businesses at the Temple courtyard, selling and manipulating prices, making profits out of poor and honest people so that those merchants could get rich, and then probably, in the process, also made the Pharisees, the chief priests and the elders rich from the agreement they likely to have made between them.

This was what the warning by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Church and the faithful in the city of Corinth and the Psalm today meant, that those who serve not the Lord but worldly things such as money, wealth, fame and glory, are real threat to us and to our salvation, as these shall bring whoever that are ensnared in their traps, to veer away from the Lord’s ways and salvation, and fall instead into sin and damnation.

And that is a reminder to all of us Christians, just as our Lord made another example in the Gospel today, which we just discussed, that as Christians we cannot imitate the examples of all those who have not shown righteousness in their way of life. We cannot be like those who have given themselves to debauchery and to follow the ways of this world in their actions and deeds.

As Christians, we are called instead to show care and concern for others, especially for the weak, the downtrodden, the less privileged, the poor and all others who are in need of our help. This is the calling which our Lord made to us, even as He Himself led by example, and showed mercy and love to that poor woman who needed help.

Perhaps, all of us should learn from the examples of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretians religious order, whose feast we are celebrating today. St. Anthony Mary Claret was a holy and devout man, whose works did not just include advising and helping the Queen of Spain at that time, Isabel II of Spain, but also in the matters of advancing the cause of the people who are suffering, weak and poor throughout the dominion of the crown and beyond.

St. Anthony Mary Claret established the religious order that would later on be known as the Claretians, in order to gather more people with the same mind, same intention and devotion to serve the Lord and His people with genuine devotion and commitment, desiring for the betterment of those who are suffering and in pain, and bring people closer to God spiritually, that they may not just become better physically but more importantly, also spiritually, drawing closer to God and to His salvation.

St. Anthony Mary Claret showed us through his examples, writings and many other ways that in order to become good and true Christians, we must be able to live up fully to what the Lord had expected from us, and that is not hypocrisy and empty faith, but faith that is made real by genuine commitment and hard work, devoting oneself to God and to our fellow brethren in need.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all awaken in ourselves the strong desire to love and serve the Lord genuinely, and also to love our brethren with all of our heart, so that we will be able to appreciate how we ought to serve God with love, and thus be able to draw closer to Him and find righteousness in Him. At the end of the days, He will bless us all and call us into the eternal glory and joy He has prepared for us. May God bless us all. Amen.