Sunday, 16 September 2018 : Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 2 : 14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, to profess faith, without showing works? Such faith has no power to save you. If a brother or sister is in need of clothes or food, and one of you says, “May things go well for you; be warm and satisfied,” without attending to their material meeds, what good is that? So, it is, for faith without deeds : it is totally dead.

Say to whoever challenges you, “You have faith and I have good deeds; show me your faith apart from actions and I, for my part, will show you my faith in the way I act.”

Sunday, 13 September 2015 : Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 2 : 14-18

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, to profess faith without showing works? Such faith has no power to save you. If a brother or sister is in need of clothes or food and one of you says, “May things go well for you; be warm and satisfied,” without attending to their material needs, what good is that? So it is for faith without deeds : it is totally dead.

Say to whoever challenges you, “You have faith and I have good deeds, show me your faith apart from actions and I, for my part, will show you my faith in the way I act.”

Monday, 1 September 2014 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are reminded yet again on the importance of understanding the will and the nature of God, and how He worked His wonders and good works in our lives, learning to trust more of His love and kindness and casting away from our hearts all forms of prejudice, bias, judgmental attitude and self-righteousness.

We mankind are all prone to all of these, as we have been created with much abilities and gifts given to us. Among all of creations, we are special in that we have such an intellect and ability to discern the right and the wrong, partly because our ancestors committed sin by eating the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In that, we all are aware of the things around us and we are able to discern, but because our intellect, the human intellect, and our human wisdom are not divine in nature, what we have in us, in our minds are limited and flawed by its nature. That is how we fall into the trap of prejudice, bias and judgmental attitude towards others, thinking that we are righteous over other peoples, and in our selfishness, which is part of our nature, we condemn and judge others based on our own standards.

It is common for us to look at someone and judge them based on their character, on what we observed from them, in terms of what clothes they are wearing, what accessories they are wearing, and what company of friends and background someone has. We judge others based on what we observe from them, and we tend to look at the exterior, on appearances to make our judgments, and once we have judged, it is hard for us to remove that bias and prejudice from our minds.

The same happened to Jesus, who went to His own hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. He went there to continue doing the good works He had done during His ministry in this world to fulfill and accomplish the long promised salvation for the people of God, the Messiah and Saviour who had eventually come to bring all of His people into a new life in harmony with God and His will.

Yet, as we all know, Jesus among men were seen as a mere carpenter’s son, the son of a simple and humble yet hardworking carpenter named Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, and through this, became His foster-father. Yet, the people even when presented with the truth, that Jesus was in fact the Messiah and the Son of God, and Joseph was His foster-parent refused to change their bias and prejudice, choosing to reject Him rather than listening to His truth.

Why is this so? Because every men are by nature selfish and they are always concerned about themselves and their own self-preservation. This is our nature, and it is not easy to change unless through a determined effort and understanding of the teachings which Jesus had passed down to us. Those people in Nazareth must be thinking, that how is this Son of a humble and simple carpenter, a noteworthy job and yet one that did not bring about much respect due to its low position in the hierarchy of the society, can be the Messiah.

They thought not in divine terms but in the terms of men and the world. They judged Jesus for His supposed simple and low-rank birth to a carpenter and from there they developed the prejudice that prevented them from truly listening to the words which Jesus had to say. And this did not happen to just Jesus, as many of the prophets as mentioned also suffered the same fate, rejected especially by those who knew them and those who shared their homes with these prophets.

We always like to presume that we know it all, and we know all about those around us by just looking at them and we judge them based on how they look and how they act in the society. And Jesus wanted to tell us that this attitude is wrong. We must never be judgmental to others as we too can be judged if we judge others. And that we should look deeper and not just be focused on the appearances, but also on what are inside a person’s hearts and minds.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect on our own lives, on whether we have done what the people of Nazareth had done, in prejudicing and in being judgmental against others. Let us all change our ways if we had done so, and become better children and servants of our Lord. Let us stop our selfishness and judgmental attitudes, and from there let us all instead work together with one another, so that we may live in harmony and love together, and love sincerely and love tenderly.

May Almighty God be with us, guide us on our way, and strengthen the love and faith which He had planted in our hearts, awakening in us the desire to love one another and to love our God, our Lord and Creator, He who also loves us so much that He gave us Jesus, His Son to be our Saviour and Redeemer. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 : 6th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

James 1 : 19-27

My beloved, be quick to hear but slow to speak and slow to anger, for human anger does not fulfill the justice of God. So get rid of any filth and reject the prevailing evil, and welcome the Word that has been planted in you and has the power to save you.

Be doers of the Word and not just hearers, lest you deceive yourselves. The hearer who does not become a doer is like that one who looked himself at the mirror. He looked and then promptly forgot what he was like. But those who fix their gaze on the perfect law of freedom and hold onto it, not listening and then forgetting, but acting on it, will find blessing on their deeds.

Those who think they are religious but do not restrain their tongue, deceive themselves and their religion is in vain. In the sight of God, our Father, pure and blameless religion lies in helping the orphans and widows in their need and keeping oneself from the world’s corruption.