Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (Passion Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 22 : 14 – Luke 23 : 56 (Palm Sunday Year C)

When the hour came, Jesus took His place at the table and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I was eager to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”

Then they passed Him a cup, and when He had given thanks, He said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves; for I tell you that, from now on, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Jesus also took bread, and after giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My Body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

And after the supper, He did the same with the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant, sealed in My Blood, which is poured out for you. Yet the hand of the traitor is with Me on the table. Know that the Son of Man is going the way marked out for Him. But alas for that one who betrays Him!”

They began to ask one another which of them could do such a thing. They also began to argue among themselves which of them should be considered the most important. And Jesus said, “The kings of the pagan nations rule over them as lords, and the most hard-hearted rulers claim the title, ‘Gracious Lord.'”

“But not so with you; let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. For who is the greatest, he who sits at the table or he who serves? He who is seated, isn’t it? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”

“You are the ones who have been with Me, and stood by Me, through My troubles; because of this, just as the kingship has been given to Me by My Father, so I give it to you. You will eat and drink at My table at My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones and govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”

“Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like grain, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have recovered, you shall strengthen your brothers.” Then Peter said, “Lord, with You I am ready to go even to prison and death.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day before you have denied three times that you know Me.”

Jesus also said to them, “When I sent you without purse or bag or sandals, were you short of anything?” They answered, “No.” And Jesus said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and a bag as well. And if anyone is without a sword, let hm sell his cloak to buy one. For Scripture says : ‘He was numbered among criminals.’ These words have to be fulfilled in Me, and now everything written about Me is taking place.”

Then they said, “See, Lord, here are two swords!” But He answered, “That is enough.”

After this, Jesus left to go as usual to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. When He came to the place, He told them, “Pray that you may not be put to the test.” Then He went a little further, about a stone’s throw, and kneeling down He prayed, “Father, if it is You will, remove this cup from Me; however, not My will but Yours be done.” And an angel from heaven appeared to give Him strength.

As He was in agony, He prayed even more earnestly, and great drops of blood formed like sweat and fell to the ground. When He rose from prayer, He went to His disciples, but found them worn out with grief, and asleep. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Get up and pray, so that you may not be put to the test.”

Jesus was still speaking when a group appeared, and the man named Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, and Jesus said to him, “Judas, with a kiss do you betray the Son of Man?”

Those with Jesus, seeing what would happen, said to Him, “Master, shall we use the sword?” And one of them struck the HIgh Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus stopped him, “No more of this!” He touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus spoke to those coming against Him, the chief priests, officers of the Temple and elders; and He said to them, “Did you really set out against a robber? Do you need swords and clubs to arrest Me? Day after day I was among you, teaching in the Temple, and you did not arrest Me. But this is the hour of the power of darkness; this is your hour.”

Then they seized Him and took Him away, bringing Him to the High Priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. A fire was kindled in the middle of the courtyard, where people were gathered, and Peter sat among them. A maidservant noticed him. Looking at him intently in the light if the fire, she exclaimed, “This man also was with Him!” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

A little later, someone who saw Him said, “You are also one of them!” Peter replied, “My friend, I am not!” After about an hour another asserted, “Surely this man was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”

Again Peter denied, “My friend, I don’t know what you are talking about.” He had not finished saying this, when a cock crowed. The Lord turned around and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word that the Lord had spoken, “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter went outside, weeping bitterly.

And the guards, who had arrested Jesus, mocked and beat Him. They blindfolded Him, struck Him, and then asked, “Who hit You? Tell us, prophet!” And they hurled many other insulting words at him.

At daybreak, the council of the elders of the people, among whom were the chief priests and the scribes, assembled again. Then they had Jesus brought before them, and they began questioning Him, “Tell us, are You the Christ?” Jesus replied, “You will not believe, if I tell you, and neither will you answer, if I ask you. Yet from now on, the Son of Man will have His seat at the right hand of the MIghty God.”

In chorus they asked, “So you are the Son of God?” And Jesus said to them, “You are right, I am.” Then they said, “What need have we of witnesses? We have heard it from His own lips.

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

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.”

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.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Then intervened a member of the Jewish supreme council, a good and righteous man named Joseph, from the Judean town of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the decision and action of his fellow members, and he lived uprightly in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God. 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.

It was Preparation Day, and the star which marks the beginning of the Sabbath was shining. So the women, who had come with Jesus from Galilee, followed Joseph to see the tomb, and how His body was laid. And returning home, they prepared perfumes and ointments. And on the Sabbath day, they rested, as the Law required.

 

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Luke 23 : 1-49

The whole council rose and brought Jesus to Pilate. They gave their accusation : “We found this Man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and claming to be Christ the King.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You said so.” Turning to the chief priests and the crowd, Pilate said, “I find no basis for a case against this Man.” But they insisted, “All the country of the Jews is being stirred up with His teaching. He began in Galilee and now He has come all the way here.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked if the Man was a Galilean. Finding the accused to come under Herod’s jurisdiction, Pilate sent Jesus over to Herod, who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. Herod was delighted to have Jesus before him now; for a long time he had wanted to see Him because of the reports about Him, and he was hoping to see Jesus work some miracle. He piled up question upon question, but got no reply from Jesus.

All the while, the chief priests and the scribes remained standing there, vehemently pressing their accusations. Finally, Herod ridiculed Him and with his guards mocked him. And when he had put a rich cloak on Him, he sent Him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod, who were enemies before, became friends from that day.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the elders and the people, and said to them, “You have brought this Man before me and accused Him of subversion. In your presence, I have examined Him and found no basis for your charges; and neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to me. It is quite clear that this Man has done nothing that deserves a death sentence. I will therefore have Him scourged and then release Him.”

On the Passover, Pilate had to release a prisoner. Therefore, shouting as one man, they protested, “No! Away with this Man! Release Barabbas instead!” This man had been thrown into prison for an uprising in the city and for murder.

Since Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he appealed to the crowd once more, but they shouted back, “To the cross with Him! To the cross!” A third time Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done? Since no crime deserving death has been proved, I shall have Him scourged and let Him go.”

But they went on shouting and demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their shouts grew louder. So Pilate decided to pass the sentence they demanded. He released the man they asked for, the one who was in prison for rebellion and murder, and he handed Jesus over in accordance with their wishes.

When they led Jesus away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the fields, and laid the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. A large crowd of people followed Him; among them were women, beating their breasts and grieving for Him, but Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me! Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women without child! Happy are those who have not given birth or nursed a child!'”

“And they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if this is the lot of the green wood, what will happen to the dry?

Along with Jesus, two criminals also were led out to be executed. There, at the place called the Skull, He was crucified together with two criminals – one on His right and another on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And the guards cast lots to divide His clothes among themselves.

The people stood by, watching. As for the rulers, they jeered at Him, saying to one another, “Let the Man who saved others now save Himself, for He is the Messiah, the chosen One of God!” The soldiers also mocked Him and, when they drew near to offer Him bitter wine, they said, “So You are the king of the Jews? Free Yourself!”

Above Jesus there was a inscription in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, which read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

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.”

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.

The captain, on seeing what had happened, acknowledged the hand of God, “Surely this was an upright Man!” he said. And all the people who had gathered to watch the spectacle, as soon as they saw what had happened, went home beating their breasts.

But those who knew Jesus remained there, at a distance, especially the women, who had followed Him from Galilee; they witnessed all this.

Thursday, 4 December 2014 : First Week of Advent, Memorial of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we heard the readings of the Holy Scriptures, it is very clear that is a very strong message which those passages can show us and lead us in how we live out our faith. Today’s readings are about our foundations of faith and the foundations of our lives. It is our choice to have either a strong foundation and security, or to have a weak and shaky foundation and thus risking our own faith and our lives.

And it was also mentioned that, our foundation truly should be in the Lord, who is the Rock of salvation and the Rock of all. He is the strong and unbending Rock who will not be moved by anything, and He is the perfect foundation for us all. No one who put their complete trust and faith in God will be disappointed, for their Lord will secure them and care for them such that, none of them will be lost, no matter how strong the storms of this life can be.

Yes, this world of ours, and all of our lives in this world, no matter how different they are, are filled with many storms. These storms represent the difficulties and challenges which we will encounter on our path, and some of them are serious while some others are less serious but yet still a challenge for us all. In order for us to get to our ultimate destination, we have to go through these storms and endure them to reach safety in God.

What are some of these challenges and difficulties in life, brothers and sisters in Christ? They are the temptations of this world, the many temptations and offerings, which although not all of them may be necessarily bad and evil, but many of these can steer us away from our devotion to God and mislead us into following the evil one and our own human desire and selfishness.

It is in our nature to be selfish and thinking about our own good and benefits, as well as seeking for the pleasures of life. This is our human nature, brethren, and it is easy for us to be trapped in it, if we are not careful. If we allow them to take over us and conquer us, it is indeed then just the same as what the Lord mentioned as the house which was built on the foundation of sand, as when the storm comes, it will wreck the house as its foundation is weak.

This is what will happen, if we place our trust in ourselves, in our own power, in our own possessions and in the things and ways of this world. We are mere humans, brethren, and we are truly fragile. When things that are unexpected come our way, it is very often that we succumb and fall prey to the situation, and this is also the cause of much of the sorrows in this world.

Let me ask you, brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times is it in our world, that mankind had committed violence and acts of hatred, out of their fear and worry about themselves, out of their insecurities and problems? Many of this world’s tyrants and dictators were so worried of losing their power and control, and all that they had attained, their wealth and possessions, that they did all they could to preserve those, and the result is hardships, oppressions and wars.

How many of us lose our friendships or loved ones because of our fear, our worries, and especially our jealousy? It is very often for many of us to covet others’s things and privileges, because we fear and we think that in these things lie our strength and our hope. Then we are sorely mistaken, brethren. For all the things of this world are temporary in nature. Imagine, if someone is to store all his riches and treasures, all the rich cloths and goods in a storehouse and it suddenly burst into fire one day. And imagine if someone stores all of his or her wealth and possessions in a bank, or trusted them to the stock market, and one day the bank goes bankrupt or the stock market crashes.

All these show that while we mankind think that we are mighty and powerful, and if we think that we can put our trust in ourselves only, then we have to rethink it through. Trusting in mankind’s power is risky and fragile, just like a house built on sand. The wealth and possessions, fame and power that we built up in this world is not going to be carried over to the world that is to come.

Remember that Jesus said, build up our wealth in God and not in this world? This means that rather than worrying and fearing about what we need and what we have in this world, we should rather trust everything to God, knowing that He will care for us and provide for us everything that we need. Use our energy and strength instead on giving others the love, care and help which they deserved! And let me share with you the life of a saint whose feast day we celebrate today, and whose actions may inspire us to live deeper in trust to our God.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John of Damascus, or St. John Damascene, a philosopher and teacher of the Faith, who lived in a difficult time, as during his lifetime, the place where he stayed had been overrun and under the reign of the unbelievers. Yet, regardless of all these and all the difficulties he faced, he continued to serve the Lord in various ways and became a great source of inspiration for many in the matter of the Faith.

Through his writings he revealed the great wonders of the Lord to the people, and they became rich sources of the Tradition of our Faith. And when there were heretics among the faithful who sought the destruction of holy images and icons, in contravention to the true beliefs of the Faith, St. John of Damascus was not fearful to oppose such heresy, even if that means opposing the rulers of the world, the Roman Emperor of the East, who happened to support the heretics’ faith.

The actions and perseverance of St. John Damascene is an inspiration for all of us in how we ought to live our faith. More often than not, our lives in this world will be difficult and filled with many challenges, but if we put our complete trust in the Lord rather than in our own power and judgment, then we are bound to receive the great graces and favours of our Lord, who will guard us and protect us.

Yes, therefore, following the examples of St. John Damascene, the way of a Christian is to be true brothers and sisters to one another, showing mercy and love to those who need them, to be forgiving and loving in all things, and to be completely and fully devoted to our Lord. If we put our trust in the Lord, we shall never be disappointed, for the Lord is the Rock of our salvation, and if troubles come our way, and we anchor ourselves strongly in Him, nothing can harm us, for He will guard and protect us. God, be with us all and bless us all the days of our lives. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/12/03/thursday-4-december-2014-first-week-of-advent-memorial-of-st-john-damascene-priest-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 23 November 2014 : 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Memorial of Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and St. Columban, Abbot (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the great feast day and solemnity of the Church, that is the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ the King, King of all creation and of all the universe. This celebration also marks the ending of our liturgical year, as next Sunday we will begin the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, and this Sunday is the last great celebration of a liturgical year in the calendar of the Church celebrations.

And the theme of the Kingship of Christ ties closely to the future promised coming of our Lord Jesus into this world. The readings for this period, including the readings for today’s solemn occasion therefore is a reflection of this truth and this fact, that God will come again at a time He has appointed, and He will come again to judge all the living and the dead, as we believe in our Faith. In this we hope, as He will come again to gather us from the nations and bring us to His eternal love and glory.

As the Lord mentioned in the first reading, taken from the Book of the prophet Ezekiel, even though mankind and the people of God had sinned and therefore suffered its consequences, being torn apart as a people and scattered through the nations, He did not abandon them, but still loved them all the same. At the time of the prophet Ezekiel, the northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by the Assyrians and its people brought into slavery and exile. The same had also happened to the southern kingdom of Judah, which population was brought to Babylon in a period known as the Babylonian captivity.

While those things had happened because of the sins of the people, who were not faithful to the covenant of the Lord, but it does not mean that God did not give them a second chance. If only that they would repent and change their sinful and evil ways, and adopt the ways of the righteous, then the Lord who is their Lord and Shepherd will gladly welcome them back into His embrace.

The psalm today is the renowned Psalm on ‘the Lord is my Shepherd’, which shows the nature of God as our loving Shepherd, as our Guide and as the provider of everything that we will ever need. And while we follow our Shepherd, who is the Lord, we will have no need to fear anything, as neither the power of the evil one nor the powers of this world and the evils in it have any power over us if we are ever faithful and solidly attach ourselves to our Lord and our Shepherd.

This is the nature of our Lord and Master’s Kingship, that is a Shepherd Kingship, not one where the king enslaves everyone to do his bidding and will, but instead a servant leadership. Remember what Lord Jesus did on the day of the Last Supper, when He acted as a servant, washing the feet of all His disciples. He taught the Apostles that a leader should lead by giving examples and serving others entrusted under his care, and not to lord over the other or even to oppress them.

And like a shepherd, who cares gently and tenderly for his sheep, our Lord’s kingship is one of service and love. He guides His sheep, that is all of us into the right paths and provide us all that we need. We need not fear the powers of evil and death if we stick closely to our Lord, as He is the only One who can bring harm to our soul. Though the powers of this world may be able to harm our body, they cannot do anything to harm our soul.

That is because, the faithful, though persecuted and oppressed by the world, they will be greatly rewarded at the Last Judgment, and their souls will be saved. We have no need to fear, brothers and sisters, if we follow the Lord. Persevere and remain faithful. Remember that in another part of the Gospel, Jesus said that those who seek to preserve themselves in this world will lose it, but those who do not mind to lose themselves will gain eternal life?

Through Christ, we have been made justified and righteous, as He is the new Adam by virtue of His incarnation as Man, as the prime example of the faithful and the just. The first Adam, our ancestor, had been unfaithful, and he followed his own personal greed and desire, and being thus taken in by Satan’s lies, and disobeying God, he had sinned, and sin entered into the hearts of men.

Jesus therefore is the role model for all of us, as the new Adam, who led a life opposite of the first Adam. While the first Adam was unfaithful and sinful, Christ the new Adam was completely faithful and devoted to God, free of any taints of sin in life. And meanwhile the first Adam thought first about himself and succumbed to his desires, Christ the new Adam thought first not of Himself, but of the One who had sent Him into the world, and obeyed the will of His Father perfectly and fully, that He brought about our salvation from sin and death.

And thus, in the second reading today, taken from letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, it was mentioned that for the obedience and the actions Christ had taken, as our King, and yet as a humble and servant King, God was pleased to subjugate all things and all peoples under His authority, that is precisely what He will do in the end of time, the Last Judgment, as the Judge to judge all the living and the dead.

At the end of time, our Lord Jesus will come to judge us all, and nothing that we have done or we have not done will not be uncovered. He knows everything about us, and there is nothing that we can hide from Him. Not even the deepest of our hearts’ secrets will remain hidden before God. The Book of Life and the other books mentioned in the Book of revelation and the Gospels contain all of our actions, our deeds and our words, every single things that we have committed.

Remember, brothers and sisters in Christ, that our Lord as our King, has two aspects, just as all the other kings also have. First, our King shows us mercy and love, His desire for all of us to be reunited with Him. However, as King, He also has to mete out justice and judgment, which must be impartial. Thus, while He is merciful and loving towards us, but He hates our sins, the taints and blemishes which separate us from the perfection of His love.

In the Gospel we heard how Jesus detailed on what will happen at the Last Judgment. All will come before the Lord their King, and He will judge them equally based on their actions. There were two groups of people at that judgment, and the judgment results are clear cut. It is either that they have done what is right in the eyes of God, or if they have done what is wicked, or failed to do what is right in the sight of God.

This should then bring our attention to the nature of sin. The most common sin known to us, is the sin of action, that is sins committed by doing things abhorrent and wicked before God and men, such as stealing, murder, jealousy, coveting others’ belongings, disobedience against God, fornication of the flesh and many others. However, many of us often do not realise or forget that there is another type of sin that is equally bad, and this is the sin of omission.

What is the sin of omission? As the name said, it is sin committed when we are perfectly in place and capable of doing something good, and yet we consciously choose not to do so, and instead, we often care for ourselves first, succumbing to our ego, pride and greed. Just as the first Adam, we have the tendency to be selfish, to think of ourselves first, and to satisfy our own needs first. And while he got the knowledge he wanted, he sinned.

What did Jesus say to those whom He judged to be on His left? He cursed them and condemned them because they have had many opportunities to do good things and to help the many people around them who are in need, and yet they ignored them and went on doing their own businesses, caring only about themselves. Their ignorance and refusal to lift up and raise their hands to help, had been accounted for, and these weighed in against them at the final judgment.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, what we can we do to improve ourselves and to ensure our salvation? It is by following the example of our Lord Himself, who is King, Lord and Master of all the Universe, and yet, He was humble, obedient and loving in all of His actions. He served those entrusted to Him, and also loved the poor, the meek and lowly, the ostracised and the castaways of the society. He showed His mercy and love to sinners, the prostitutes and tax collectors.

In following the actions and ways of Jesus our Lord and King, we will be able to do what is right, and give to our brethren in need, the love and support which we should give to them, especially whenever we are in position to give our help and our love. Do not forget also, that we must therefore avoid the sin of omission, which means that we should not be complacent or lazy whenever we are able to commit good deeds for the sake of our brethren.

Today, we also celebrate the feast day of both Pope St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr, and also St. Columban, an abbot. The actions of these saints were in accordance to the actions of Christ, and they showed care and love for their friends and neighbours around them. Pope St. Clement I was the Pope in the early Church, one of the first direct successors of St. Peter the Apostle as the Bishop of Rome. Meanwhile, St. Columban was an abbot who lived during the early Dark Ages.

Pope St. Clement I was one of the earliest Popes, and records suggested that he was directly chosen by St. Peter to be one of his successors together with Pope St. Clement’s immediate predecessors. He was pious and devoted to God, and he tirelessly worked for the sake of the faithful. He was a man of prayer and love, often caring for those less fortunate under his care. He provided for them spiritually as well as in material, as far as he could.

It was told that he was exiled under the orders of the Roman Emperor Trajan, who sent him to the far corners of the Empire at Chersonessos, to work in a mine there. He carried out his work dutifully without fear, and when there was a draught in the mine, he prayed to God, and immediately a clear spring appeared, to the delight of his fellow exiles and workers.

It was clear from these examples, that Pope St. Clement I is another role model we can follow, as he truly practiced his faith, and when he was able to, he helped those around him by using the grace God given him, the grace of prayer and faith, which he used to bring goodness to the others poor, oppressed and exiled from their houses.

Meanwhile, St. Columban was an Irish missionary, who travel widely across Europe and Christendom at the time, spreading the faith in various locations, serving and helping others around the places during his journeys. St. Columban established many monasteries around Europe and Christendom, becoming eventually an abbot himself.

The works and dedications of St. Columban might have been different from that of Pope St. Clement I, but nevertheless, what he had done, was also done to help the least of the society, those who have been lost to the darkness, and by giving places to the faithful who sought to devote themselves more to God in prayer, he had done much great goodness for the Lord and His people.

Hence, as we end our liturgical year with this celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King, and with the understanding that upon baptism, we too have shared in the Kingship of Christ, let us all be ever more resolute in truly living our faith, so that in all that we do, and in all that we say and in our actions, we may be loving towards our brethren, especially those who are in need of our help.

Let us be like our Lord and King, who did not boast and be proud of His authority and kingship, but rather remain humble and serve those who had been entrusted to Him. Through our baptism, we share in the kingship of Christ, and we have to realise that all of us have the responsibility to take care of one another, to keep each other in the path of the Lord. May our Lord and King watch over us always, and help us, so that we may remain ever faithful, and in the end, when He comes again, He may find us righteous and just, and thus are worthy of His eternal kingdom. God be with us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-first-readi/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-psalm/

 

Second Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-second-read/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/sunday-23-november-2014-34th-sunday-of-ordinary-time-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe-memorial-of-pope-st-clement-i-pope-and-martyr-and-st-columban-abbot-gospel-read/

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 23 November 2014 : Homily and Scripture Reflections

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we come to celebrate the last Sunday after Pentecost, the final Sunday before the season of Advent, we are always reminded of the fact that time is ticking and opportunity for us is running out, in order to secure our inheritance and salvation in God. The readings for this Sunday always focuses on the coming future, on the fact of the future coming of Jesus our Lord when He comes again to judge all the living and the dead.

As we always recite at the Creed, we believe that our Lord Jesus who have died and risen from the dead, and then ascended into His glory in heaven, He will come down in glory at the end of time, to judge the living and the dead. This is the final judgment, or the Last Judgment, when all the people will be divided and separated based on what they have done or what they have not done.

We fully believe in this, and we keep our faith in this. Yes, it is the hope for the coming of Christ, when He will again dwell among us and bring all those who are faithful to Him, to be united with Him in perfect love, harmony and glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, we have been made righteous before God, and if we all are truly faithful to Him, we shall be richly rewarded.

However, it is highlighted in the readings of this day, that we have to pray and pray often, that God will strengthen us and our spiritual defenses, so that we will not fall prey to the attacks and the lies of the devil. There will be a lot of challenges and false leads that will threaten to derail us away from the true path towards salvation, and we have to be careful in choosing our steps.

As mentioned, there will be false prophets and those who claimed to be the Christ, in order to mislead us and to fulfill their own selfish desires, and indeed these serve not God but themselves and Satan. There had been many cases both in the past and present, of those claiming to be the Lord who comes again into the world, declaring the coming of the end times, in their doom-filled messages.

Many of these tried to drive fear into the hearts of men, by claiming that God’s coming is around, and claimed to be the messengers of divine will. Unfortunately, many of the people of God were weak in their faith and they failed to understand the truth which the Gospel today highlighted. The coming of the Son of Man, that is the Great Judge, our Lord Jesus Christ, will be sudden and unexpected, fast and rapid like that of a lightning.

Yes, His coming into this world will come unannounced and even though there will be clear signs that He is to come again, as mentioned in the Gospel, no human being or worldly authority may ever claim to know the wisdom and knowledge of God with relation to the second coming of Christ. That is because Jesus Himself mentioned in another part of the Gospel, that only the Father knows the Son and therefore, vice versa, only the Son knows the Father.

This means that, whatever God has planned, He has planned everything thoroughly and meticulously, including our salvation from the hands of evil and death. Only He knows the fullness of truth of His plans for us. And Jesus also said that, the Son reveals to those whom He wants to reveal to. Who do you think that Jesus reveals part of His truth to? It is to the Church of God, through the Apostles, those beloved servants of Christ who were with Him and knew what He had done.

It is why a very important aspect of our faith is that we have to adhere closely to the teachings of the Church and reject all forms of temptations and falsehoods of the world, as the Church has that deposit of the Faith, which it had carefully guarded through the years and generations, that through the Church, God will have a strong anchor in this world, around which His faithful may cling to and remain faithful.

And finally, the Gospel today highlights what is required from us. Jesus was very clear, when He spoke of what will happen at the end of time. Those who had done what is good to those who are weak, downtrodden, abandoned, ostracised and disadvantaged against will receive rich rewards, for when they do so, they showed their love for their fellow men, just as what the Lord had asked us all to do.

Those who did not do so, and preferred to let the poor and the weak to suffer, while they enjoyed themselves, will be punished, and the Lord is sternly clear, that our action upon our brethren in need makes the difference between whether we will be judged among the sheep, the righteous ones, or to be judged among the goats, the wicked and unfaithful ones.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we end this liturgical year and approach the beginning of Advent, let us all reconsider how we all live out our lives. If we have done what the Lord had asked us to do, then well done, and we ought to continue living justly and righteously, not letting carelessness or our human frailties to cause us to be diverted from the path towards salvation.

Then, if we can still consider ourselves to be counted among those on the left, among the wicked, then while we still have the time, let us all take action. Our faith cannot just be mere words or observations alone. Remember that faith without action is dead, and a dead faith is meaningless and useless for us. The Lord who sees our dead faith will chide and rebuke us for our lack of action and judge us to be among the damned, if this is the case.

Remember, the Lord will come again at a time unknown to us, and He will come like a thief, unannounced and sudden. This is a reminder for us not to delay or postpone in changing our lives and our actions, if we have not done so. Otherwise, when He suddenly appears again in His glory, at a time unknown to us, we shall be caught unprepared and be judged to be among damned.

Hence, let us all be proactive in our faith, helping one another as we make our journey towards the Lord. Let our actions speak loudly of our faith, showing our Lord, Master and Judge, that we have all been faithful and devoted, and are worthy of His kingdom and promised inheritance. May Almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, bring us back to Him, our Good Shepherd, that we may forever enjoy the fullness of His love and care in the bliss of eternal heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

 

Epistle :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/usus-antiquior-twenty-fourth-and-last-sunday-after-pentecost-ii-classis-sunday-23-november-2014-epistle/

 

Gospel :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/19/usus-antiquior-twenty-fourth-and-last-sunday-after-pentecost-ii-classis-sunday-23-november-2014-holy-gospel/

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-Fourth and Last Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 23 November 2014 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Offertory

Psalm 129 : 1-2

De profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine : Domine, exaudi orationem meam : de profundis clamavi ad Te, Domine.

English translation

From the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord. Lord, hear my prayer, from the depths I have cried out to You, o Lord.

Secret Prayer of the Priest

Propitius esto, Domine, supplicationibus nostris : et, populi Tui oblationibus precibusque susceptis, omnium nostrum ad Te corda converte; ut, a terrenis cupiditatibus liberati, ad caelestia desideria transeamus. Per Dominum…

English translation

Be propitius, o Lord, to our supplications, and accept the offerings and prayers of Your people. Turn all our hearts unto You, that, being delivered from earthly desires, we may pass on to the enjoyments of heaven. Through our Lord…

Communion

Mark 11 : 24

Amen, dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis, credite, quia accipietis, et fiet vobis.

English translation

Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive, and it shall be done unto you.

Post-Communion Prayer

Concede nobis, quaesumus, Domine : ut per haec sacramenta quae sumpsimus, quidquid in nostra mente vitiosum est, ipsorum medicationis dono curetur. Per Dominum…

English translation

Grant us, we beseech You, o Lord, that, through this sacrament which we have received, whatever is evil in our hearts may be restored by its gift of healing. Through our Lord…

Monday, 17 November 2014 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Religious (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are shown that those who are faithful in God and those who have endured persecution for that faith will be rewarded greatly and wonderfully by the Lord. In the first reading, from the Book of the Revelations or Apocalypse of St. John the Evangelist, in the vision of the end of times which he received from the Lord at the island of Patmos, it was written about the Lord commending the Church in Ephesus, for their perseverance in faith.

In that revelation, the Lord sent His messages, praise and also warning to the faithful in the various principal Churches of the early Christianity. The Church in Ephesus had persevered amidst the difficulties and persecutions they had to endure, but yet they also have lapsed in some aspects of their faith, and they had not been completely faithful to the Lord, and the Lord wanted to remind them that fact.

In the Gospel is the story of how Jesus healed the blind man from his affliction, enabling him to see once again. In that story, we hear how the blind man knew that Jesus was coming towards him, and he asked humbly and with great persistence, calling Him as the Son of David. This is significant, consider that he could not even see, but yet he knew that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of David, and the One who would bring mankind to salvation.

Why is this so, brothers and sisters? In another occasion, when Jesus also healed another blind man, He mentioned how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who opposed and criticised Jesus in His every actions by their hypocrisy and strict observance on the Law, were truly blind even though they physically could see with their eyes.

The blind man on the contrary, can truly and perfectly see, even though he may appear to be blind. That is because, ultimately, our true eyes lie in our hearts. The eye of our hearts is the one that truly sees all around us and also at the same time, show who we are inside of us. If our eyes on our head that can see visually all things around us, fail to see truth, then it is useless.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, they were not able to look at the truth or face the truth, that the One whom they have opposed all that time, was the One who had been promised by God to be their salvation. Yes, Jesus came to this world out of the love of God, to save all mankind, even those who hated and rejected Him. He came into this world to dispel the darkness that veiled men’s hearts, the true eyes of theirs, so that they can see once again.

The blind man recognised the light of Christ from within his heart, as even though he was unable to see, but the presence of Christ is known to him. The eyes of his heart can see clearly amidst the darkness. Meanwhile, the jealousy, pride and arrogance of the Pharisees had clouded and blinded their eyes, closing the doors of their hearts from the possibility of them accepting Jesus as their Lord.

Therefore, it is a call to all of us, so that we may abandon and reject all forms of wickedness and evil from our lives, that we do not follow the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law to their doom. Those people were not able to recognise the Lord and accept Him because of their jealousy and hatred for Him, seeing Him as a great rival to their worldly power and influence. They have seen much in world, and the temptations and seductions of Satan swayed their heart over, and they were corrupted.

The blind man, who was not able to see for many, many years, if not the whole of his life, was pure and innocent, for he was not able to see the tempting things in the world, and therefore, he was able to recognise God when He came. This means that our eyes that see many things around us, are the gateways to our hearts. And if they are corrupted, our hearts inside us too will likely to be corrupted as well.

Therefore, we have to be careful in our actions, and we have to discern well everything that we are to say or do. Let our eyes not corrupt us and resist the temptations of pride, of greed, of anger, of jealousy and of any other negativities with which the devil is trying to subvert us against the Lord. Let us break through the veil of darkness which covers our hearts, that from there, we may be like the blind man, who sincerely and genuinely seek the Lord, knowing that He is there.

Yes, our loving God is always there for us, and it only takes us to ask Him, and seek Him with all of our hearts, for us to gain His graces. Remember what He told His disciples? Ask and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you? Therefore, let us all ask God for His grace, that we may recognise Him and His presence in our lives, and through our interactions with those around us.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today is also the feast of a holy woman, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, whose life can be a great inspiration to all of us. St. Elizabeth of Hungary was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary during the High Middle Ages. She was of the royal blood and of very high social class, betrothed and married to the family of another ruler, and yet in all of her actions, she was very devout and charitable.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary was the patroness of many religious works, evangelisation and mission efforts, and especially, the patroness of many charitable organisations. She donated much money and funds to help the poor, and occasionally also took part in directly helping the poor themselves. She was widowed later on, and after her widowhood, she devoted herself completely to the Lord.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary donated whatever she had in her possession to charity and for the sake of the poor. She also devoted herself as a religious nun, and gave her all to God from then onwards, just as she had devoted herself earlier on through her actions. This is an example we can and indeed should follow, as with love and charity, our faith will be strong, and a strong faith will help us to keep our vision straight and clear, avoiding and resisting all the temptations and false promises of the evil one.

May Almighty God, who gave us the grace and blessing in St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a holy woman and a person of charity and love, a person of true faith and devotion, help us to also be able to walk in her path, that all of us will have our faith in Him strengthened and at the end of time, we will be found righteous and be worthy of the glories of heaven. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/monday-17-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-elizabeth-of-hungary-religious-first-reading/

 

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/monday-17-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-elizabeth-of-hungary-religious-psalm/

 

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/16/monday-17-november-2014-33rd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-elizabeth-of-hungary-religious-gospel-reading/

Saturday, 15 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

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

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Gospel the parable mentioned by Jesus on an evil and proud judge, and a persistent old woman who continued to pester that particular judge to stand up for her case. And that judge, even though he did not fear God nor man, and did not listen or submit to anyone, eventually gave in to the old woman who continued to pester him and plead with him to advance her case.

This parable is a clear message to all of us, that we cannot be complacent in our faith. Besides that we need to act with concrete and genuine love, and live our faith fully through our deeds and actions, we also have to have a good and healthy prayer life. Prayer is for us a connection and a highway that links us to our Lord. It is a two-way conversation between Him and us, through which we can listen to Him and He too can listen to us speaking directly towards Him.

What our Lord Jesus mentioned to us today in the parable is that, if that evil judge, despicable, wicked and irresponsible as he was, not fearing God nor men, could eventually succumb to the pressures of the old woman, just so that she would no longer pester him, how much more will our loving God then harken and listen to our prayers and petitions?

However, be reminded, brothers and sisters, that our prayers and petitions do not equate with what demands we have in this life, and they do not equate with our desires and wants, that means, these do not include our desires for many things, from material wealth to other things. God is loving and He will listen to us, but He also knows our needs and our greatest details till the greatest secrets we keep in the depths of our hearts.

Therefore, our Lord is not held hostage to our wishes and demands, and He is not obliged to fulfill all of our wishes, and neither is He subordinate to us and our will. And He does what seems to fit His will. But this does not mean that He is a heartless God who does not care about us, as if we are in genuine need, He will know it, and He will want to help us.

On our part therefore, we have to act like the old woman who persistently pursued the evil judge in order to have her wishes fulfilled. But did she ask for her own selfish wish? No, it is so that she can have justice shown to her, for she had been wronged. It is the same therefore for all or us, that we have to take out two things from this day’s Scripture readings.

First, we have to persist in our prayers, to pray without cease, on regular basis, constantly contacting and talking with the Lord our God, like the old woman pestering the evil judge for his attention and help. But the difference is that, if the evil judge hated the woman’s persistence and pleas, our Lord who is loving and kind to us, will never be tired of listening to our constant pleas and prayers. Instead, He will listen to them and then act as it is right according to Him and His own will for us.

And then second, all of us must realise that God loves us all and He wants us to be righteous and just in all things. He wants us to have love and faith in ourselves, so that in all of our actions we will no longer put forward our desires or greed, but instead to submit to the greater will of the Lord. And therefore, in that, in our prayer life too, we have to realise that our prayers are not merely just list of petitions and demands against the Lord.

Prayer is all about keeping in contact with our Lord, from heart to heart, an intimate and personal relationship we must have and nourish between us and our God. In prayer, we should air our concerns and wishes, but at the same time, we must also open our ears wide in order to be able to listen to the word of God which He spoke softly deep in our hearts.

Therefore, we ought to learn to listen and to listen well, so that our hearts be cleared from all forms of hubris and pride, of desire and greed that we may truly be transformed from creatures of sin and darkness, into the children of the light, of our Lord who is Love. This is what we need to do, and there is today a saint, whose feast day we celebrate this day, and whose life examples may be an inspiration to all of us.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Albert of Cologne, also more famously known by his epithet ‘the Great’ as St. Albertus Magnus or St. Albert the Great. He was a Dominican friar and then bishop in the High Middle Ages era Germany, who was renowned particularly for his faith, for his zeal, for his numerous works and writings, as well as for his great contributions to the growth of the spiritual aspect in many of the faithful, both whom he directly and indirectly touched.

St. Albert the Great is honoured with the title of the Doctor of the Church, to be among the few so honoured as such. His works in both philosophy and theology were of great importance to the Church and to the faithful. His dedication to the advancement of the Lord’s teaching and cause was truly remarkable and commendable, and he was also devoted to helping the people of God, both through his works and through his writings.

Through the examples of St. Albert the Great, we can see how if we devoted ourselves in deep prayer and develop our spirituality in the way of St. Albert the Great, we can truly be like him. St. Albert the Great spent much of his time in prayer and devotion to God, and through that devotion, he produced many good works that benefit not just himself, but countless others around him.

And in the first reading, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist advised us all how we should live out our lives, to be righteous and just before God, by loving one another sincerely and genuinely, and most especially, to show our love and care to our brothers and sisters around us, who needs our love the most. Thus these are the two pillars of our faith, namely our loving actions to one another, and our strong and devoted prayer life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us therefore from now on, renew our commitment to the Lord and ask for the intercession of St. Albert the Great, that our faith too may be strengthened by God just as his was strengthened. May we all grow stronger and more devoted in our prayer life, so that we may not be lost but remain in close and intimate contact with the Lord our loving God, at all the moments of our lives. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/saturday-15-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-albert-the-great-bishop-and-doctor-of-the-church-first-reading/

Psalm :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/saturday-15-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-albert-the-great-bishop-and-doctor-of-the-church-psalm/

Gospel Reading :

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/13/saturday-15-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-albert-the-great-bishop-and-doctor-of-the-church-gospel-reading/

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today it is highlighted to us another virtue in our faith life, that is the value of humility and gratitude in our lives, and how important these are in shaping our lives. For the Lord our God, who loves us so much, had decided to forgive us our sins and show His mercy to us sinners, even though more often than not, our sins were such that they should have been unforgivable as they were so wicked in nature.

As mentioned in the first reading today, taken from the letter of St. Paul written to Titus, while he was in captivity in Rome, mankind were once foolish and misguided, and we were once wholly submissive to our desires and our human needs, that we always seek to better ourselves and find what is good for ourselves, even at the expense of others.

It is difficult for us to obey others, and already it is difficult for us to obey the earthly authorities who made their presence and authority felt, and thus not to say about the authority of our Lord, whom many of us failed to notice in our lives. We are fearless and not repentant of our rebelliousness, because we did not recognise the Lord who is around us and within us, and who is watching everything that we do in this life.

It is therefore difficult for us in our nature to look beyond ourselves, and for many of us, pride and arrogance has walled us in, into ourselves as our desire feeds our pride and that pride further feeds our desire, in a vicious cycle that never ends, and eventually uncontrolled, it will lead to a great danger for us. We will not be able to do the will of God if we continue to remain and linger within this darkness within ourselves.

The Gospel today shows how Jesus healed ten lepers, who sought for His help, and He told them to show themselves to the priests, as was written in the Law, on how they ought to show their purity to the priests before they could be admitted back into the society. God’s power worked along the way, and they were healed while on the way to the priests.

Yet, this was where the behaviour of the one Samaritan who was healed, differed greatly from the other nine, who was also healed. The nine lepers was healed, and they joyfully realised that fact, and gladfully went on their way, presumably and most likely, to return to their old lives, and resumed whatever it was that they had lost. Meanwhile, the Samaritan also realised that he was healed in body, but unlike the other nine, he turned back, knowing who it was that had made him clean once again.

The Samaritan turned back and returned to the Lord Jesus, who praised Him for His faith, and said how his faith had made him whole once again. It is because of his faith that he recognised how Jesus has the power to make him clean, and he had placed his full trust in God, and not in himself. This is the attitude many of us had to adopt and emulate, and we have to abandon our ways, which are more often than not, like the other nine who rejoiced and did not give thanks to God.

How many of us in our lives, and in our daily actions forget to give thanks to those who helped us in various ways? And how many of us in fact, in total lack of gratitude and appreciation even caused pain to those who have helped us, or asked even more from them to satisfy our ever-growing desires? It is difficult indeed for mankind to resist such temptation, as we always try to grab at things beyond our means, and we complain when we cannot obtain them.

It is often that we need the grace of humility, temperance and satisfaction, at what God had given and provided us with His love. In the psalm today, the famous and renowned psalm on the Good Shepherd, we are shown how the Lord is our Good Shepherd, who leads us away from danger and darkness, and providing for us in all that we need, so that all of us who believe in Him, will not be disappointed, but gain eternal life and happiness.

He guides us on our way, so that we may not lose our path and fall into darkness. This very life we have, and all the goodness we have in it, are all the blessings of the Lord, and we ought to be grateful and thankful for that love. Yet, do we realise how often it is that we complain against the Lord, when things seemingly did not go our way? How often is it that we are angry at the Lord for seemingly not fulfilling what we have asked for?

We have to therefore, learn from the faithful Samaritan, the people who were often marginalised and ostracised by the Jews as being pagans and unbelievers, as barbarians unworthy of salvation. And yet, it was the Samaritan who humbly sought Jesus to give Him thanks for having healed him from his leprosy. The Jews, just as the other nine lepers, failed to do so.

We should emulate the example of the Samaritan, seeking God’s love and mercy at all times, and realising the love which He has for us, our Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep. And today, we have the example of another shepherd, a holy saint, martyr and bishop whose example we should indeed follow. This is St. Josaphat the martyr, also known as St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, a Bishop who lived in the early modern time Lithuania during the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was a bishop whose see was reunited with the leadership of the Roman Pontiff, the Pope, after it had been separated for many hundreds of years due to the Great Schism between the Western and Eastern Christianity. As such, St. Josaphat had a very difficult time in managing his flock, as many of them remained loyal to the old and rebellious ways, and refuse to follow their bishop and shepherd in obedience to the Vicar of Christ.

Nevertheless, St. Josaphat remained faithful and devoted, working tirelessly to serve God’s people, even serving those who were openly in rebellion against him. He preached to them the word of God and urged them to remain faithful, and also to follow the teachings of the true Faith. In the end, however, those who were opposed to St. Josaphat rose up and murdered him in cold blood, throwing his body in a river.

The body of St. Josaphat was recovered and brought with honour to Rome, where it received the honour of being buried at the hallowed ground of the Basilica of St. Peter. Later on, with the intercession of St. Josaphat himself, his archenemy, a rival bishop who set up his position in direct opposition to St. Josaphat, repented his sins and was reunited with Rome.

Today, brothers and sisters in Christ, inspired by the examples of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych the martyr and faithful bishop, let us all work together as one people, one Church of God. Let us help one another, in union with our bishops and those whom the Lord had placed over us, as representatives of His authority, so that we may learn of humility and obedience to God’s will.

Let us all pray to the Lord, that He will grant us grace, to diminish in our pride and desires, and grow stronger in our humility and desire to seek the Lord. Let us learn to obey fully the will of God and seek the fullness of His eternal love and mercy, like the Samaritan leper who was healed from his afflictions, giving thanks to God for that love shown to him, and was praised by the Lord for his faith. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/11/wednesday-12-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-josaphat-bishop-and-martyr-first-reading/

Psalm : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/11/wednesday-12-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-josaphat-bishop-and-martyr-psalm/

Gospel Reading : 

https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/11/wednesday-12-november-2014-32nd-week-of-ordinary-time-memorial-of-st-josaphat-bishop-and-martyr-gospel-reading/

Thursday, 6 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 15 : 1-10

At that time, tax collectors and sinners were seeking the company of Jesus, all of them eager to hear what He had to say. But the Pharisees and the scribes frowned at this, muttering, “This Man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus told them this parable :

“Who among you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, will not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and seek the lost one till he finds it? And finding it, will he not joyfully carry it home on his shoulders? Then he will call his friends and neighbours together, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found my lost sheep!'”

“I tell you, in the same way, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner, than over ninety-nine decent people, who do not need to repent. What woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one, will not light a lamp, and sweep the house in a thorough search, till she finds the lost coin?”

“And finding it, she will call her friends and neighbours, and say, ‘Celebrate with me, for I have found the silver coin I lost!’ I tell you, in the same way, there is rejoicing among the angels of God over one repentant sinner.”

 

Homily and Reflection : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/05/thursday-6-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-homily-and-scripture-reflections/

Wednesday, 5 November 2014 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded of the need for us to be prepared in our faith and in our lives, that we will be ready when the Lord comes again. We cannot be idle in our faith and we cannot be slack, as our faith is not just by mere words or proclamations, nor can it be an empty faith, for an empty faith is no good at all. Rather, we must have a living faith that is founded upon action, and love in those actions.

Our faith must be carried on through our life, and we must therefore be prepared for the day of judgment. Before every time we act we must also think it through thoroughly first, just as Jesus mentioned in the parable He taught the people, on the matter of kings fighting a war with another king. A careful deliberation and preparation will help us, just as it helped the kings, to carry out a wisely thought and considered option in life.

Why is this so important? That is because many of us acted in this life without proper consideration and even without thinking first. Many of us acted at the whim of our desires and wants, which often resulted in acts of incredible selfishness that cared for only ourselves, and frequently causing a disadvantage if not even pain and suffering for others around us.

By following our own desires, the desires of our hearts, and following in the corruptions of Satan, we are not true to our faith, as our faith requires us to be truly faithful to the Lord. Jesus said that when one is not ready to forgo his links and connections to the world and to people who are dear to us, in order to follow the Lord with all of our hearts and strength, then we are not ready to become His disciples.

Jesus did not mean that we must segregate or detach ourselves from our loved ones, our families and friends, and others known to us. He did not mean that we should hate them or anything of the sort. On the contrary, He wants us to love them and embrace them, just as much as we love Him. As I have often mentioned, there can be no perfect love for God if we do not love our neighbours and those around us, and vice versa, that there can be no perfect love for our neighbours if we do not first love the Lord our God with all of our might.

What He meant was that if our attachment to those around us prevent us from loving God sincerely and completely, then we have to do something about it. For example if our relatives and families, or our friends are doing things that are considered wicked and horrendous in the sight of God, then we have to stand up to it, and we have to do what is right, that is to remind them that they should not do such wickedness and stop sinning.

And this may cost us our relationship with them, and our friendship with them too. And this is a risk we have to take. We have a choice, brothers and sisters in Christ, either to conform to their actions, and save our relationships, keeping our friendship with them, at the cost of perhaps most likely their souls, for they committed sin before God and did not repent.

How about us in that case? Because we did not act as we should have done, and refused to follow the Lord’s commandments, bringing souls of men into jeopardy and damnation, we too will have to answer for our lack of action, as we caused them to fall into hell and thus lost to God. If we had done our part to remind them of their sinfulness, they might have the chance to change their ways and become better.

Thus, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are indeed reminded of the need for us to be proactive in our faith, and to take action whenever it is possible for us. This is part of our duty and responsibility as the member of the Church of God. We must be fully ready to take up our crosses in life, following the Lord in His ways. And one way to do that is indeed to remind our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, despite of our relationships, to keep faithful in the Lord.

Let us all together be as what St. Paul said in the letter which was read as our First Reading today, to be children of the Light, and therefore we ought to do as what the children of the Light should do, that is to shun all forms of sins and fornications of the body and the soul. We have to help one another in this, as all of us are predisposed to sin, and we are all vulnerable to temptations of the flesh and of this life.

At times, the soft approach to remind one another may not work, so it may be necessary at times to bring sense back to us, and to awaken us from our sinfulness and back into the light. May our Lord Jesus therefore give us strength, both to resist the temptations of sin and the body, and also to have the strength to be able to overcome our hesitation when we see someone whom we knew, who commits a sin before God, that for his or her own good, that someone may be delivered from the gates of damnation into salvation in God. God bless us all. Amen.

 

First Reading : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/04/wednesday-5-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

Psalm : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/04/wednesday-5-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

Gospel Reading : 
https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/11/04/wednesday-5-november-2014-31st-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/