Wednesday, 25 July 2018 : Feast of St. James, Apostle (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

2 Corinthians 4 : 7-15

However, we carry this treasure in vessels of clay, so that this all-surpassing power may not be seen as ours, but as God’s. Trials of every sort come to us, but we are not discouraged. We are left without answer, but do not despair; persecuted but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed.

At any moment, we carry, in our person, the death of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may also be manifested in us. For we, the living, are given up continually to death, for the sake of Jesus, so, that, the life of Jesus may appear in our mortal existence. And as death is at work in us, life comes to you.

We have received the same Spirit of faith referred to in Scripture, that says : I believed and so I spoke. We also believed, and so we speak. We know that He, Who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us, with Jesus, and bring us, with you, into His presence. Finally, everything is for your good, so that grace will come more abundantly upon you, and great will be the thanksgiving for the glory of God.

Thursday, 4 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we come and listen to the words of the Scriptures, as we heard how Jesus our Lord met and recruited the disciples to His cause, calling them from their former worldly professions into their new work and vocation for the sake of mankind and for the greater glory of God. They left behind their possessions so that they gained a greater reward in God, that is a possession that lasts forever.

Today we heard about how those humble fishermen of the lake of Galilee, Peter and Andrew his brother, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, were called, from their boats and nets, that they would no longer just catch fishes in the lake to be sold in the market and to feed themselves, but instead they would become the fishers of men, to bring mankind back to the Lord their God.

And we have to take note how the Lord did not call the great and powerful, nor the righteous and holy ones to be His disciples, as He could easily have done so, and His works would have been so much easier. No, the Lord did not do that. Instead, He called on the sinners and the weak, those who have low standing in the society, such as fishermen, a simple and menial job, as well as others, including tax collectors such as Levi, later known as Matthew.

The idea here is clearly stated in the first reading, where St. Paul in his letter to the faithful in Corinth rebuked those who assumed that they were wise and great, and he therefore those who immersed themselves in their pride, thinking only about themselves and their achievements, and thinking that because of their wisdom, influence or other abilities and deeds, they were rightful in gloating over others’ supposed inferiority. This, as St. Paul said, would bring about their doom.

Yes, indeed, the Lord called sinners and simple people to be His disciples, not only because He truly came into this world to save the sinners and those whose souls were sick, but He also knew that those who were not burdened with the many concerns of the world and the taint of power and glory, would have been much better disciples and servants of the will of God, as they are likely to have less ego and pride than those who are powerful and great in the world.

God desires not our death and destruction, but in fact He seeks for our redemption from sin. And this is by delivering His Good News and the truth about Himself to mankind, and this is akin to the net being cast out from the ship to catch the various fishes in the sea. And like the net, those who listen to the word of God will be ensnared in that net, and thus, they would be able to continue to listen to the word of God and hence be saved.

The ship itself represents the Church of God, which God had established Himself in this world, to bring His people to safety and towards His kingdom which is to come. And the Apostles whom Jesus had called from among the people are indeed like the fishermen, who steered the ship that is the Church of God, in order to ensure that the Church can sail safely amidst any storms in the sea. Those storms represent the challenges and the oppositions which Satan and his allies, the forces of sin and darkness, which often bar our path and prevent us from truly seeking God.

Yet, with the guidance of the Apostles and the disciples, whose successors continue to do the good works of steering the Church of God, namely through the successor of St. Peter, the fisherman, who is our Pope now, the Church remains a great destination for many of the people lost in the darkness, and it becomes a beacon of light for them to find their way to God. And the fishermen, the successors of the Apostles and disciples of Christ, our priests and bishops worked to bring the people of God back to Him, as the fishers of men.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, however we cannot be idle ourselves, as our priests and bishops cannot possibly do everything on their own without our help and support. If they are the fishers of men, the ones on the ship who handle the net and the fish, then we are like those helpers and workers who keep the ship steady and strong even when it is battered by a strong wind and gale, as well as strong waves of the sea.

And God also challenged us all to do more, by saying to His disciples, ‘Duc in Altum’, which is the phrase translated to Latin, and then to our language today as ‘To go into the deep’. And this highlighted to us all the very fact that fishes mostly lie far into the sea and deep within the ocean waters, and many live far from the surface. Therefore, in order to get more fish, the fishers have to go to deeper waters and cast their nets to deeper waters.

This means that, we cannot just lie in our comfort zone and wait for the people of God to come to us in repentance. The many tricks and ways of the devil to confound mankind are simply able to prevent many souls from ever reaching the Lord through the Church, because the lies and the machinations of Satan would be able to close their hearts and their senses from ever being opened to receive the Lord.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore let us all think about what had happened in our own lives. Have we done our part as the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ? Have we been proactive in our faith, taking the initiative to seek our lost brothers and sisters who are still engulfed in the darkness of the world and languished under the tyranny and power of Satan?

Therefore, let us all ‘go into the deep’, and work hard to help one another, especially those who truly need it, so that more and more souls, the ‘fishes’ of the Lord may be saved and that mankind may all come to the Lord and praise Him together as one people lifted up from sin and darkness into the light. May Almighty God guide us in our works and in our endeavours, and protect us so that we may continue to do our best to help each other in seeking the Lord. God bless us all. Amen.