Saturday, 12 November 2022 : 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 we heard from the Scriptures the words of the Lord reminding us of the great love of God that He has shown and bestowed upon us, as our loving Father and Creator. We can really trust in the Lord and have faith in Him because He alone truly cares for us so deeply, that He still patiently awaits us and reaches out to us from time to time, no matter how long it has been since we listened to Him and how we have constantly disobeyed Him from time to time again. The Lord wants each and every one of us to be once again reunited with Him, by our reconciliation with Him and our rediscovery of the path of righteousness that He has led us into.

In our first reading today, we heard from the Epistle of St. John the Apostle speaking to the faithful all around Christendom, calling on all of them to provide for one another with love and care, especially for the missionaries who went from places to places in spreading the Word of God and His Good News of salvation. At that time, early Christian missionaries travelled from place to place without much support and help, save that from God and His strength, and also from the kindness and generosity of the people whom they were visiting, including that from the local Christian communities that had by then been established. Without these support and help, the early Christian missionaries would have indeed found it difficult for them to carry out their mission efficiently.

For they were up against many difficulties and challenges, and also persecution by both the Jewish authorities, the Pharisees and elders, the chief priests, as well as the local governors and the Roman authorities among others. Yet, those missionaries carried out the will of God and continued to labour hard for the sake of their fellow brothers and sisters, because they embody the love of God and His kindness and mercy, just as He has shown us all earlier on. Thus, just as God has loved us all and showed us His love and kindness, thus, we too should be loving and kind, caring and helpful to one another. Those missionaries shared the love of God with their fellow brethren, to those who have not yet known God’s love, and especially those who have been lacking in love.

Therefore it is just right that we support them in whatever way we can, and not only that, but in our own lives and actions, in our every words, actions and deeds, we should show this same love to one another as well, or else we are no better than hypocrites, who profess to believe in God and yet do not act in the manner that is compatible to that belief, or even outrightly contradictory in nature in our way of living of our lives. Unless we make the conscious effort to live our lives in accordance with God’s will, and ask the Lord for His guidance and strength, then we will end up having a lot of challenges and difficulties in going through this journey of faith through life. Sometimes we also do not realise that all that we need, is actually just to ask God for help.

As we heard in our Gospel passage today, the Lord used a parable to highlight this to His disciples and to all of us. He spoke of an evil judge who was wicked, proud and arrogant, and feared no one, even God, and yet, that evil judge was bound and persuaded to give in to the persistent demands made by an old woman, who kept on looking for him and persistently sought him to settle her case and issues, and she was so persistent that despite the wicked judge fearing no one, even he was compelled to do as the old woman asked and desired, if only because by doing so, he would be spared from the woman’s ever continued and incessant demands on him to settle her case in court. By using that example, the Lord wanted to make it clear to us, that if the old woman could make the evil judge to turn towards her, all the more then the Lord, Who loves us dearly, will listen to us, if we call on Him.

However, many times we find that we do not call on Him, or seek Him, and for many reasons at that. Many among us do not know God well, and we do not have that close and intimate relationship with Him, and He is not the One we turn to first. Instead, we turn towards the many worldly means all around us. We end up depending on those things instead of on God, and some among us also feared God more than we love Him, because we are afraid that He will punish us for our sins. Again, all of these show that we do not truly know God well, as if only that we know Him well, then we will know and realise just how beloved and how fortunate each and every one of us have been, to be blessed as such with God and His love.

That is why, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is important for many of us is that we need to open our hearts and minds, our whole beings to God’s love. It is precisely because many of us have been so self-centred, selfish and proud, filled with ego and greed, giving in to the temptations all around us that we were unable to recognise the love of God present in our midst, and we are also therefore devoid of that love in our own lives and actions. If only we can learn to love the way that God has loved us all thus far, we will truly be transformed and changed, no longer the wicked creatures of our worldly attachments and desires, but truly becoming worthy people and children of God, a people filled with God’s love, light and hope.

Today, we should all be inspired by the examples set by St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, the saint and martyr whose feast we are celebrating. His great examples in being faithful and loving to God, faith in Him, and also his love and care for his flock, those people entrusted to him by God, all should inspire us all to become better and more dedicated disciples and followers of God ourselves. St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was the Archbishop of Polotsk over the territories in what is now Belarus and parts of northern Ukraine, where back then there were divisions among the faithful people of God between those who were in Communion with the Pope in Rome and those who were in rebellion against the authority of the Vicar of Christ.

St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was one of the bishops who led the faithful who wished to reconcile themselves to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope and restore the unity of the Church, as part of the efforts known as the Union of Lublin. However, that reunification of the churches did not solve all the problems and divisions that existed, as quite a few among the clergy and the people resisted the efforts at reunification, and struggle to maintain their divisions and independence. St. Josaphat Kuntsevych laboured hard to minister to all of his flock and bridge the differences among his flock, including reaching out to those who resisted the efforts of reunification. He continued working hard despite all the opposition he encountered, and which led to his martyrdom as the mob rose up against him and murdered him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore be inspired by the faith and good examples set by St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, and learn to love more generously in our lives, to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters with love, and to love our God with all of our hearts, our strength and our efforts. Let us all be courageous in asking the Lord for help too when we need it, for His guidance and strength, power and encouragement. May the Lord be with us all and be with His Church, so that all of us will always grow ever more in faith and love in Him. May God bless our good works and efforts, now and always. Amen.

Saturday, 12 November 2022 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told His disciples a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my opponent!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Saturday, 12 November 2022 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 111 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! Blessed is the one who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commands. His children will be powerful on earth; the upright’s offspring will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are for his family, there his integrity will remain. He is for the righteous a light in darkness, he is kind, merciful and upright.

It will be well with him who lends freely, who leads a life of justice and honesty. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered and loved forever.

Saturday, 12 November 2022 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

3 John 5-8

Beloved, you do well to care for the brothers and sisters as you do. I mean those coming from other places. They spoke of your charity before the assembled Church. It will be well to provide them with what they need to continue their journey, as if you did it for God.

In reality, they have set out on the road for His Name without accepting anything from the pagans. We should receive such persons, making ourselves their cooperators in the work of the truth.