Wednesday, 20 June 2018 : 11th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 6 : 1-6, 16-18

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Be careful not to make a show of your righteousness before people. If you do so, you do not gain anything from your Father in heaven. When you give something to the poor, do not have it trumpeted before you, as do those who want to be seen in the synagogues and in the streets, in order to be praised by the people. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.”

“If you give something to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift remains really secret. Your Father, Who sees what is kept secret, will reward you. When you pray, do not be like those who want to be seen. They love to stand and pray in the synagogues or on street corners to be seen by everyone. I assure you, they have already been paid in full.”

“When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father Who is with you in secret; and your Father Who sees what is kept secret will reward you. When you fast, do not put on a miserable face as do the hypocrites. They put on a gloomy face, so that people can see they are fasting. I tell you this : they have already been paid in full.”

“When you fast, wash your face and make yourself look cheerful, because you are not fasting for appearances or for people, but for your Father Who sees beyond appearances. And your Father, Who sees what is kept secret, will reward you.”

Tuesday, 13 June 2017 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Matthew 5 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples and to the people, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it.”

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven.”

Sunday, 12 April 2015 : Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 4 : 32-35

The whole community of believers was one in heart and mind. No one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but rather they shared all things in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, for all of them were living in an exceptional time of grace.

There was no needy person among them, for those who owned land or houses, sold them and brought the proceeds of the sale. And they laid it at the feet of the Apostles who distributed it according to each one’s need.

Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Feast of All Souls, 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or Black

Matthew 11 : 25-30

At that time, on that occasion Jesus said, “Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I praise You, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to simple people. Yes, Father, this is what pleased You.”

“Everything has been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

“Come to Me, all you who work hard and who carry heavy burdens, and I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart and you will find rest. For My yoke is good, and My burden is light.”

 

Homily and Reflection :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/01/sunday-2-november-2014-feast-of-all-souls-31st-sunday-of-ordinary-time-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

 

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 5 : 1-12a

At that time, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. He sat down and His disciples gathered around Him. Then He spoke and began to teach them :

“Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Fortunate are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.”

“Fortunate are the gentle, they shall possess the land. Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.”

“Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy. Fortunate are those with a pure heart, for they shall see God.”

“Fortunate are those who work for peace, they shall be called children of God. Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are My followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 1-13

At that time, Jesus told a story that throws light on what will happen in the kingdom of heaven : “Ten bridesmaids went out with their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were careless, and the others were sensible.”

“The careless bridesmaids took their lamps as they were, and did not bring extra oil. But those who were sensible, brought with their lamps flasks of oil. As the bridegroom delayed, they all grew drowsy and fell asleep.”

“But at midnight, a cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here, come out and meet him!’ All the maidens woke up at once, and trimmed their lamps. Then the careless ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some oil, for our lamps are going out.'”

“The sensible ones answered, ‘There may not be enough for us and for you. You had better go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.'”

“They were out buying oil when the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the doors were shut. Later the other bridesmaids arrived and called out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered, ‘Truly I do not know you.'”

“So stay awake, for you do not know the day nor the hour.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Matthew 25 : 31-46

At that time, Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in His glory with all His angels, He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be brought before Him, and as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, so will He do with them, placing the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left.”

“The King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, blessed of My Father! Take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed Me. I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your house. I was naked, and you clothed Me. I was sick, and you visited Me. I was in prison, and you came to see Me.”

“Then the good people will ask Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and give You food; thirsty, and give You something to drink; or a stranger, and welcome You; or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and go to see You?'”

“The King will answer, ‘Truly I say to you : whenever you did this to these little ones who are My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me.”

“Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Go, cursed people, out of My sight into the eternal fire, which has been prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry, and you did not give Me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome Me into your house; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'”

“They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, thirsty, naked or a stranger, sick or in prison, and did not help You?’ The King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you : whatever you did not do for one of these little ones, you did not do it for Me.'”

“And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just to eternal life.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Mark 15 : 33-39 and Mark 16 : 1-6

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salone brought spices so that they might go and anoint the Body. And very early in the morning of the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb.

They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they looked up, they noticed that the stone had already been rolled away. It was a very big stone.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man in a white robe seated on the right, and they were amazed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified; He has been raised and is not here. This is, however, the place where they laid Him.”

Shorter version

Mark 15 : 33-39

At that time, when noon came, darkness fell over the whole land and lasted until three o’ clock; and at three o’ clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?” which means, “My God, My God, why have You deserted Me?”

As soon as they heard these words, some of the bystanders said, “Listen! He is calling for Elijah.” And one of them went quickly to fill a sponge with bitter wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to Him to drink, saying, “Now let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.”

But Jesus uttered a loud cry and gave up His Spirit. And immediately the curtain that enclosed the Temple sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The captain, who was standing in front of Him, saw how Jesus died and heard the cry He gave; and He said, “Truly, this Man was the Son of God.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 7 : 11-17

At that time, Jesus went to a town called Naim. He was accompanied by His disciples and a great number of people. As He reached the gate of the town, a dead man was being carried out. He was the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; there followed a large crowd of townspeople.

On seeing her, the Lord had pity on her and said, “Do not cry.” Then He came up and touched the stretcher, and the men who carried it stopped. Jesus then said, “Young man, I say to you, wake up!” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.

A holy fear came over them all, and they praised God saying, “A great Prophet has appeared among us; God, has visited His people.” This news spread throughout Judea and the surrounding places.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 12 : 35-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open the door to him.”

“Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron, and have them sit at table, and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants, if he finds them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”

“Pay attention to this : If the master of the house had known at what time the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 33, 39-43

At that time, there, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one of His right and another on His left.

One of the criminals hanging with Jesus insulted Him, “So You are the Messiah? Save Yourself, and us as well!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Have you no fear of God, you who received the same sentence as He did? For us it is just : this is payment for what we have done. But this Man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me, when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus replied, “Truly, you will be with Me today in paradise.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53 and Luke 24 : 1-6a

At that time, it was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ Body. He then took It down, wrapped It in a linen cloth, and laid It in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

On the sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the Body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the Living among the dead? You will not find Him here. He is risen.”

Shorter version

Luke 23 : 44-46, 50, 52-53

At that time, it was almost midday. The sun was hidden, and darkness came over the whole land until mid-afternoon; and, at that time, the curtain of the Sanctuary was torn in two. Then Jesus gave a loud cry, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” And saying that, He gave up His Spirit.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph. Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ Body. He then took It down, wrapped It in a linen cloth, and laid It in a yet unused tomb, cut out of a rock.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

Luke 24 : 13-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

He asked, “What is it you are talking about?” The two stood still, looking sad. Then the one named Cleophas answered, “Why, it seems you are the only traveller to Jerusalem who does not know what has happened there these past few days.” And He asked, “What is it?”

They replied, “It is about Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet, You know, mighty in word and deed before God and the people. But the chief priests and our rulers sentenced Him to death. They handed Him over to be crucified. We had hoped that He would redeem Israel.”

“It is now the third day since all this took place. It is also true that some women of our group have disturbed us. When they went to the tomb at dawn, they did not find His Body; and they came and told us that they had had a vision of angels, who said that Jesus was alive. Some of our people went to the tomb and found everything just as the women had said, but they did not find a Body in the tomb.”

He said to them, “How dull you are, how slow of understanding! Is the message of the prophets too difficult for you to understand? Is it not written that the Christ should suffer all this, and then enter His glory?” Then starting with Moses, and going through the prophets, He explained to them everything in the Scriptures concerning Himself.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Shorter version

Luke 24 : 13-16, 28-35

At that time, that same day as the resurrection, two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus, a village seven miles from Jerusalem, and they talked about what had happened. While they were talking and arguing about what had happened, Jesus came up and walked with them, but their eyes were not able to recognise Him.

As they drew near the village they were heading for, Jesus made as if to go farther. But they prevailed upon Him, “Stay with us, for night comes quickly. The day is now almost over.” So He went in to stay with them. When they were at table, He took the bread, said a blessing, broke it, and gave each a piece.

Then their eyes were opened, and they recognised Him; but He vanished out of their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts filled with ardent yearning when He was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures?”

They immediately set out and returned to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. They were greeted by these words : “Yes, it is true, the Lord is risen! He has appeared to Simon!” Then the two told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how Jesus had made Himself known, when He broke bread with them.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 5 : 24-29

At that time, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life; and there is no judgment for him, because he has passed from death to life.”

“Truly, the hour is coming and has indeed come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and, on hearing it, will live. For the Father has life in Himself, and He has given to the Son also to have life in Himself. And He has empowered Him as well to carry out Judgment, for He is Son of Man.”

“Do not be surprised at this : the hour is coming when all those lying in tombs will hear My voice and come out; those who have done good shall rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 37-40

At that time, Jesus said, “Yet all those whom the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me, I shall not turn away. For I have come from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.”

“And the will of Him who sent Me is that I lose nothing of what He has given Me, but instead that I raise it up on the last day. This is the will of the Father, that whoever sees the Son and believes in Him shall live eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 6 : 51-58

At that time, Jesus said, “I am the living Bread which has come from heaven; whoever eats of this Bread will live forever. The bread I shall give is My Flesh, and I will give it for the life of the world.”

The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this Man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood lives eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

“My Flesh is really food, and My Blood is truly drink. Those who eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, live in Me, and I in them. Just as the Father, who is Life, sent Me, and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats Me will have life from Me. This is the Bread which came from heaven; not like that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this Bread will live forever.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 17-27

At that time, when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. As Bethany is near Jerusalem, about two miles away, many Jews had come to Martha and Mary, after the death of their brother, to comfort them.

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained sitting in the house. And she said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Shorter version

John 11 : 21-27

At that time, Martha said to Jesus, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that whatever You ask from God, God will give You.”

Jesus said, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha replied, “I know that he will rise in the resurrection, at the last day.” But Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, shall live. Whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Martha then answered, “Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, He who is coming into the world.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 11 : 32-45

At that time, Mary, when she came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping, who had come with her, He was moved in the depths of His Spirit and troubled. Then He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They answered, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

The Jews said, “See how He loved him!” But some of them said, “If He could open the eyes of the blind man, could He not have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus was deeply moved again, and drew near to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across it. Jesus said, “Take the stone away.” Martha said to Him, “Lord, by now he will smell, for this is the fourth day.” Jesus replied, “Have I not told you that, if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone.

Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You for You have heard Me. I knew that You hear Me always; but My prayer was for the sake of these people, that they may believe that You sent Me.”

When Jesus had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him, and let him go.”

Many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw what He did.

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 12 : 23-28

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

“Now My soul is in distress. Shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour? But I have come to this hour to face all this. Father, glorify Your Name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified My Name, and I will glorify It again.”

Shorter version

John 12 : 23-26

At that time, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

“Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life. Whoever wants to serve Me, let him follow Me; and wherever I am, there shall My servant be also. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honour him.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 14 : 1-6

At that time, Jesus said, “Do not be troubled! Trust in God and trust in Me! In My Father’s house there are many rooms; otherwise, I would not have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. After I have gone and prepared a place for you, I shall come again and take you to Me, so that where I am, you also may be. Yet you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 17 : 24-26

At that time, Jesus prayed, “Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

“Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me. As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal It, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I also may be in them.”

Alternative reading (Mass for the Dead)

John 19 : 17-18, 25-39

At that time, bearing His own cross, Jesus went out of the city to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew Golgotha. There He was crucified, and with Him two others, one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.

Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “There is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Jesus knew all was now finished and, in order to fulfill what was written in Scripture, He said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of bitter wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a twig of hyssop, they raised it to His lips. Jesus took the wine and said, “It is accomplished.” Then He bowed His head and gave up the Spirit.

As it was Preparation Day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross during the Sabbath, for this Sabbath was a very solemn day. They asked Pilate to have the legs of the condemned men broken, so that the bodies might be taken away.

The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other man, who had been crucified with Jesus. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead, so they did not break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.

The one who saw it, has testified to it, and his testimony is true; he knows he speaks the truth, so that you also might believe. All this happened to fulfill the words of Scripture : ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’ Another text says : ‘They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.’

After this, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate, for he was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly, for fear of the Jews. And he asked Pilate to let him remove the Body of Jesus. Pilate agreed, so he came and took away the Body.

Nicodemus, the man who at first had come to Jesus by night, also came and brought a jar of myrrh mixed with aloes, about a hundred pounds.

Thursday, 11 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 6 : 27-38

Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear Me : Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. To the one who strikes you on the cheek, turn the other cheek; from the one who takes your coat, do not keep back your shirt. Give to the one who asks, and if anyone has taken something from you, do not demand it back.”

“Do to others as you would have others do to you. If you love only those who love you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners love those who love them. If you do favours to those who are good to you, what kind of grace is yours? Even sinners do the same. If you lend only when you expect to receive, what kind of grace is yours? For sinners also lend to sinners, expecting to receive something in return.”

“But love your enemies and do good to them, and lend when there is nothing to expect in return. Then will your reward be great, and you will be sons and daughters of the Most High. For He is kind towards the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

“Do not be a judge of others and you will not be judged; do not condemn and you will not be condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”

Tuesday, 9 September 2014 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Peter Claver, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the nature of today’s readings are very clear to us. This is because first we must have realised that it talked about the calling of the chief disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord, namely the twelve men selected as the Twelve Apostles, with their names highlighted and explained to us. It seems that this selection brought great honour to the Apostles, who were chosen among many to be the chief among the disciples of the Lord, but as the rest of the readings would tell us, with great honour comes great responsibility.

We heard in the first reading, where St. Paul chastised the faithful in Corinth for their inability to work and live together in faith. He also chastised them for their unruly behaviour, disputes and infighting within the community of the believers, and their apparent inability to settle their own issues and problems, and the mention of the term arbiter, or the one who decides matters much like a judge.

And then in the Gospel again, after Jesus had chosen the Twelve Apostles to be under His care, then it was shown to us how people brought their sick ones and afflicted ones to Jesus and asked Him to heal them. People came from far-off places just to listen to the teachings of Jesus and to be healed by Him, even from areas, if we noticed, that include places where non-Jewish populations were likely those who also came to visit Jesus and listen to Him.

Then the Gospel highlighted yet another aspect of today’s readings, that is on authority, the authority to heal and to judge, as it mentioned how the people tried to touch Jesus, even just the fringe of His cloak, as through these, the people were healed by the very authority that flowed out from Jesus, the Lord and God. Thus, Jesus as Lord and Master of all is the font of power and authority, from whom all authority in this world came from, and there can be no true power or authority if the Lord had not granted them to those whom He deemed worthy.

And how is this related to the calling and the choice of the Twelve Apostles? That is because as I have mentioned before, that the calling to be an Apostle of Jesus, and in fact, even to follow the Lord as a disciple was not an easy one. Neither did it bring honour and glory, for the world had hated Jesus and thus would also hate all those who follow Him. Neither would it be easy, because the world and the forces of darkness would be arrayed against all those who walk in the path of righteousness.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is why as the chosen Apostles and disciples of the Lord, the Twelve Apostles and their successors, our Pope, Cardinals, Bishops and the priests, as well as those in the religious and priestly orders had great privileges, but also equally if not greater burdens and responsibilities. They serve the people of God, the arbiters of justice as mentioned, the bearers of the teachings and the Good News of the Lord, and the bearers of the Lord’s authority in healing.

It was not an easy task, and challenges await them along and throughout their respective ministries in the Lord. How can we help them then? It is by our contribution and the part we can play in this world, as part of the Church, giving both our time, resources and other form of contributions to help the Lord’s trusted servants. In that we do our part as the children of God and as the members of the Church.

Today we celebrate the feast of a saint, a priest and servant of God whose life is truly exemplary of those who were called by the Lord to be His instrument of love in this world. St. Peter Claver was his name, a Spanish Jesuit priest who was born in Spain during the era of Counter Reformation at about more than four centuries ago, and who joined religious life to dedicate himself to the Lord.

St. Peter Claver was particularly noted for his great piety and dedication as well as having a mind of great intellectual quality, and he dedicated this in his works, as he embarked on the mission to evangelise and preach the Good News in the New World, in what is today Latin America, then known as Spanish America, the colony of the Spanish Empire in the New World.

In those colonies and territories, there are four groups of people, namely first the administrators and Spanish lords who came from the Old World, from Spain and they were the greatest and the most influential in the society, then the colonists from Spain and the Old World, who had settled in the land and bore children there. Then below them we have the native indigenous populations of the Aztecs, Mayans, and the American Indians, who had lived in the land before the arrival of the Europeans.

And at the bottom of all in the society were the slaves, who were mostly of African origin, captured and brought to the New World to be used as slaves in various menial works that treated them as things less than human. And it was to this group in particular that St. Peter Claver dedicated himself. And St. Peter Claver was against slavery, which is an abomination among men, the practice of making others subservient to certain people, which is unacceptable to our faith.

Therefore, St. Peter Claver followed the footsteps of the Apostles and faithfully carried out his duties as the Lord had appointed him to, that is to serve the people of God humbly and courageously, especially the least among them, those who were oppressed and disadvantaged against, and lead them into a new and better life, founded on the teachings of the faith, through his ardent opposition against slavery of any kind.

St. Peter Claver also ministered to them, healing them body and soul, listening to their problems and assisting with those who were sick. And in this, his actions are exemplary for us all, not just for the priests and the ordained ministers, but also for all those in the laity. In following his examples and works, we truly can become better Christians, by embodying and practicing what we believe in our actions and deeds in life.

May Almighty God thus bless us this day, that we may grow stronger in faith, hope and love, so that we may walk in the footsteps of the saints, the disciples and the Apostles, people You have chosen from among the people and made holy so that we who witnessed their works may also be inspired to seek holiness in You. God be with us all, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, 6 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)

1 Corinthians 4 : 6b-15

Learn by this example not to believe yourselves superior by siding with one against the other. How then are you more than the others? What have you that you have not received? And if you received it, why are you proud, as if you did not receive it?

So, then, you are already rich and satisfied, and feel like kings without us! I wish you really were kings, so that we might enjoy the kingship with you! It seems to me that God has placed us, the Apostles, in the last place, as if condemned to death, and as spectacles for the whole world, for the angels as well as for mortals.

We are fools for Christ, while you show forth the wisdom of Christ. We are weak, you are strong. You are honoured, while we are despised. Until now we hunger and thirst, we are poorly clothed and badly treated, while moving from place to place.

We labour, working with our hands. People insult us and we bless them, they persecute us and we endure everything; they speak evil against us, and ours are works of peace. We have become like the scum of the earth, like the garbage of humankind until now.

I do not write this to shame you, but to warn you as very dear children. Because even though you may have ten thousand guardians in the Christian life, you have only one Father; and it was I who gave you life in Christ through the Gospel.