Wednesday, 26 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 that it is not easy for us to attain salvation in God, and thus we should not take for granted the fact that God has offered us His forgiveness and pardon for our sins, and something has to be done for us in order to be worthy of that prize and treasure which await us at the end of the way.

The Lord made it clear by His story of how many of those who knew Him, and even those who were with Him and walked with Him by His side would be rejected, because these had not been truly faithful to Him. They claimed to know Him and to have met and interacted with Him, and yet He rejected them because He did not know them, and thus they are deprived of their eternal life and inheritance from God.

And why is this so, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because it is possible for us to claim to be faithful to God, and yet in our hearts, we do not have the Lord enthroned in them. Many of us are easily tempted by the persuasions and temptations of goodness and pleasure, all the things with which the devil is trying to pull us away from our path to salvation.

Many of us pursued our own ego and our own greed and selfish desires, which led to us veering off that path towards righteousness and eternal life. Many of us instead chose to walk on the path of worldly desires, doing things to preserve ourselves and our desires first. And those actions over our history, the history of mankind, had led to destruction, pain, suffering and terrible things to occur for many.

We should all realise that as those whom God had chosen to be His people, we must be righteous and just in all things. We cannot and we should not act in ways that are in contradiction to what we are, or else we are going to bring scandal both to the Lord, to our faith and to all the other faithful in the Church, and by our wickedness and lack of faith we shall be judged and will be found wanting.

We are hypocrites when we profess our faith in one way, and yet we act in another way. If we do not do what our faith requires us to do, then what good is our faith? To be a Christian, that is a true and genuine Christian, we have to heed what the Lord and His Apostles had exhorted us all to do, that is to obey God in all of His ways and to follow His laws and commandments, and not just doing them and obeying them blindly, but instead, do them with proper and genuine understanding.

That means, as St. Paul laid it out in the Epistle he wrote to the Church and the faithful in Ephesus, all of us ought to show love, concern, compassion and kindness to our brethren, starting from our very own families, and then to our relatives and friends and all others whom we meet and encounter on a daily basis, and even to strangers. And as what the Lord had taught us, we as Christians should learn and indeed, commit to forgive the faults of our enemies and all those who hate us, for we too in some point of our lives, might have caused harm, suffering and pain to others as well.

That is the essence of being a true Christian, in how we should follow the Lord through genuine dedication and commitment, loving each other just as the Lord has loved us first. If God has loved us all even when we are still sinners and filled with wickedness, should we not then love our brethren all the more, with their imperfections and iniquities? We ourselves are also filled with the same sins, corruptions and iniquities as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore from now on renew our commitment as Christians, to devote ourselves wholly for the Lord, for the cause of His people, and that through the love with which He had loved us, we too may show the same kind of love to Him, and also to love our brethren in the same manner. May the Lord help us in this endeavour, and keep us always forever in His love and grace. Amen.

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

Liturgical Colour : Green
Luke 13 : 22-30

At that time, Jesus went through towns and villages teaching, and making His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?”

And Jesus answered, “Do your best to enter by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has gone inside and locked the door, you will stand outside. Then you will knock at the door, calling, ‘Lord, open to us!’ But He will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.'”

“Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets!’ But He will reply, ‘I do not know where you come from. Away from Me, all you workers of evil.’ You will weep and grind your teeth, when you see Abraham and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves left outside.”

“Others will sit at table in the kingdom of God, people coming from east and west, from north and south. Some who are among the last, will be first; and some who are among the first, will be last!”

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.