Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Monday, 14 March 2016 : 5th Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Daniel 13 : 1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62

There lived in Babylon a man named Joakim, who was married to a very beautiful Godfearing woman, Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter, whose pious parents had trained her in the law of Moses. A very rich man and greatly respected by all the Jews, Joakim was frequently visited by the Jews in his house adjoining a garden.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, in whom this word of the Lord became true, “Wickedness has come forth from Babylon, through the elders appointed judges, who were supposed to govern the people.” These men frequented Joakim’s house, and all who had legal disputes used to come to them.

After the people had left at noon, Susanna would go into her husband’s garden for a walk. The two old men began to lust for her as they watched her enter the garden every day. Forgetting the demands of justice and virtue, their lust grew all the more as they made no effort to turn their eyes to heaven.

One day, as they were waiting for an opportune time, Susanna entered the garden as usual with only two maids. She decided to bathe, for it was a hot day. Nobody else was there except the two elders watching her from where they had hidden themselves. She said to the maids, “Bring me oil and ointments, and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

When the maids had left, the two elders hurried to her and said, “Look, the garden doors are shut and no one sees us. We desire to possess you. If you refuse to give in, we will testify that you sent your maids away for there was a young man here with you.”

Susanna moaned, “Whatever I do, I am trapped. If I give in to your desire, it will be death for me; if I refuse, I will not escape your persecution. I would rather be persecuted than sin in the eyes of the Lord.” Susanna shrieked, but the old men shouted, putting the blame on her. One of them ran and opened the garden doors.

Hearing the noise in the garden, the household servants rushed in by the side entrance to see what was happening. They were taken aback when they heard the elders’ accusation, for never had anything like this been said of Susanna. The next day a meeting was held at Joakim’s house.

The two elders arrived, vindictively determined to have Susanna sentenced to death. They ordered before all the people, “Send for Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter and Joakim’s wife.” They sent for her, and she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. Her family and friends and all who saw her wept.

The two elders stood up and laid their hands upon her head. Completely trusting in the Lord, she raised her tearful eyes to heaven. The elders started making their accusation, “We were taking a walk in the garden when this woman came in with two maids. She ordered them to shut the garden doors and dismissed them.”

“Then a young man came out of hiding and lay with her. We were in a corner in the garden, and we saw this crime from there. We ran to them, and caught them in the act of embracing. We were unable to take hold of the man. He was too strong for us. He made a dash for the door, opened it and ran off. But we were able to seize this woman. We asked her who the young man was, but she refused to tell us. This is our statement, and we testify to its truth.”

The assembly took their word, since they were elders and judges of the people. Susanna was condemned to death. Susanna cried aloud, “Eternal God, nothing is hidden from You; You know all things before they come to be. You know that these men have testified falsely against me. Would You let me die, though I am not guilty of all their malicious charges?”

The Lord heard her, and as she was being led to her execution, God aroused the Holy Spirit residing in a young lad named Daniel. He shouted, “I will have no part in the death of this woman!” Those present turned to him, “What did you say?” They all asked.

Standing in their midst, he said to them, “Have you become fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without due process and in the absence of clear evidence? Return to court, for those men have testified falsely against her.” Hurriedly they returned, and the elders said to Daniel, “Come and sit with us, for you also possess the gifts bestowed by God upon the elders.”

Daniel said to the people, “Separate these two from one another and I will examine each of them.” When the two elders were separated from each other, Daniel called one of them and said, “How wicked you have grown with age. Your sins of earlier days have piled up against you, and now is the time of reckoning.”

Remember how you have passed unjust sentences, condemning the innocent and freeing the guilty, although the Lord has said, ‘The innocent and the just should not be put to death.’ Now, if you really witnessed the crime, under what tree did you see them do it?”

The elder answered, “Under a mastic tree.” Daniel said, “Your lie will cost you your head. You will be cut in two, as soon as the Lord’s Angel receives your sentence from God.” Putting the first one aside, Daniel called the other elder and said to him, “You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, you have long allowed yourself to be perverted by lust.”

“This is how you have dealt with the daughters of Israel, who out of fear have yielded to you. But here is a daughter of Judah who would not tolerate your wickedness. Tell me then, under which tree did you catch them committing the crime?”

The answer came, “Under an oak.” “Your lie has also cost you your head,” Daniel said. “God’s Angel waits to cut you both in two.” The whole assembly shouted and blessed God for helping those who hope in Him. They turned against the two elders who, through Daniel’s efforts, had been convicted by their own mouths.

In accordance with Moses’ law, the penalty the two elders had intended to impose upon their neighbour was inflicted upon them. They were sentenced to death. Thus was the life of an innocent woman spared that day.

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Daniel 13 : 1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 41c-62

There lived in Babylon a man named Joakim, who was married to a very beautiful Godfearing woman, Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter, whose pious parents had trained her in the law of Moses. A very rich man and greatly respected by all the Jews, Joakim was frequently visited by the Jews in his house adjoining a garden.

That year, two elders of the people were appointed judges, in whom this word of the Lord became true, “Wickedness has come forth from Babylon, through the elders appointed judges, who were supposed to govern the people.” These men frequented Joakim’s house, and all who had legal disputes used to come to them.

After the people had left at noon, Susanna would go into her husband’s garden for a walk. The two old men began to lust for her as they watched her enter the garden every day. Forgetting the demands of justice and virtue, their lust grew all the more as they made no effort to turn their eyes to heaven.

One day, as they were waiting for an opportune time, Susanna entered the garden as usual with only two maids. She decided to bathe, for it was a hot day. Nobody else was there except the two elders watching her from where they had hidden themselves. She said to the maids, “Bring me oil and ointments, and shut the garden doors while I bathe.”

When the maids had left, the two elders hurried to her and said, “Look, the garden doors are shut and no one sees us. We desire to possess you. If you refuse to give in, we will testify that you sent your maids away for there was a young man here with you.”

Susanna moaned, “Whatever I do, I am trapped. If I give in to your desire, it will be death for me; if I refuse, I will not escape your persecution. I would rather be persecuted than sin in the eyes of the Lord.” Susanna shrieked, but the old men shouted, putting the blame on her. One of them ran and opened the garden doors.

Hearing the noise in the garden, the household servants rushed in by the side entrance to see what was happening. They were taken aback when they heard the elders’ accusation, for never had anything like this been said of Susanna. The next day a meeting was held at Joakim’s house.

The two elders arrived, vindictively determined to have Susanna sentenced to death. They ordered before all the people, “Send for Susanna, Hilkiah’s daughter and Joakim’s wife.” They sent for her, and she came with her parents, children and all her relatives.

The assembly took their word, since they were elders and judges of the people. Susanna was condemned to death. Susanna cried aloud, “Eternal God, nothing is hidden from You; You know all things before they come to be. You know that these men have testified falsely against me. Would You let me die, though I am not guilty of all their malicious charges?”

The Lord heard her, and as she was being led to her execution, God aroused the Holy Spirit residing in a young lad named Daniel. He shouted, “I will have no part in the death of this woman!” Those present turned to him, “What did you say?” They all asked.

Standing in their midst, he said to them, “Have you become fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without due process and in the absence of clear evidence? Return to court, for those men have testified falsely against her.” Hurriedly they returned, and the elders said to Daniel, “Come and sit with us, for you also possess the gifts bestowed by God upon the elders.”

Daniel said to the people, “Separate these two from one another and I will examine each of them.” When the two elders were separated from each other, Daniel called one of them and said, “How wicked you have grown with age. Your sins of earlier days have piled up against you, and now is the time of reckoning.”

Remember how you have passed unjust sentences, condemning the innocent and freeing the guilty, although the Lord has said, ‘The innocent and the just should not be put to death.’ Now, if you really witnessed the crime, under what tree did you see them do it?”

The elder answered, “Under a mastic tree.” Daniel said, “Your lie will cost you your head. You will be cut in two, as soon as the Lord’s Angel receives your sentence from God.” Putting the first one aside, Daniel called the other elder and said to him, “You offspring of Canaan and not of Judah, you have long allowed yourself to be perverted by lust.”

“This is how you have dealt with the daughters of Israel, who out of fear have yielded to you. But here is a daughter of Judah who would not tolerate your wickedness. Tell me then, under which tree did you catch them committing the crime?”

The answer came, “Under an oak.” “Your lie has also cost you your head,” Daniel said. “God’s Angel waits to cut you both in two.” The whole assembly shouted and blessed God for helping those who hope in Him. They turned against the two elders who, through Daniel’s efforts, had been convicted by their own mouths.

In accordance with Moses’ law, the penalty the two elders had intended to impose upon their neighbour was inflicted upon them. They were sentenced to death. Thus was the life of an innocent woman spared that day.

(Usus Antiquior) Passion Sunday (I Classis) – Sunday, 22 March 2015 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : Violet

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

John 8 : 46-59

In illo tempore : Dicebat Jesus turbis Judaeorum : Quis ex vobis arguet me de peccato? Si veritatem dico vobis, quare non creditis mihi? Qui ex Deo est, verba Dei audit. Propterea vos non auditis, quia ex Deo non estis.

Responderunt ergo Judaei et dixerunt ei : Nonne bene dicimus nos, quia Samaritanus es tu, et daemonium habes? Respondit Jesus : Ego daemonium non habeo, sed honorifico Patrem Meum, et vos inhonorastis me. Ego autem non quaero gloriam meam : est, qui quaerat et judicet.

Amen, amen, dico vobis : si quis sermonem meum servaverit, mortem non videbit in aeternum. Dixerunt ergo Judaei : Nunc cognovimus, quia daemonium habes. Abraham mortuus est et Prophetae; et Tu dicis : Si quis sermonem meum servaverit, non gustabit mortem in aeternum. Numquid Tu major es patre nostro Abraham, qui mortuus est? Et Prophetae mortui sunt. Quem teipsum facis?

Respondit Jesus : Si ego glorifico meipsum, gloria mea nihil est : est Pater Meus, qui glorificat Me, quem vos dicitis, quia Deus vester est, et non cognovimus eum : ego autem novi eum : et si dixero, quia non scio eum, ero similis vobis, mendax. Sed scio eum et sermonem ejus servo. Abraham pater vester exsultavit, ut videret diem meum : vidit, et gavisus est.

Dixerunt ergo Judaei ad eum : Quinquaginta annos nondum habes, et Abraham vindisti? Dixit eis Jesus : Amen, amen, dico vobis, antequam Abraham fieret, ego sum. Tulerunt ergo lapides, ut jacerent in eum : Jesus autem abscondit se, et exivit de templo.


English translation

At that time, Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews, “Which of you shall convince Me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God, hears the words of God. Therefore you did not hear them, because you are not of God.”

The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, “Do not we say it well, that You are a Samaritan, and has a devil in You?” Jesus answered, “I do not have a devil, but I honour My Father, and you have dishonoured Me. But I do not seek My own glory, for there is One who seeks and judges.”

“Amen, amen, I say to you, if any man keeps My word, he shall not see death forever.” The Jews therefore said, “Now we know that You have a devil in You. Abraham is dead, and the prophets too, and yet You said that if any man keeps My word, he shall not taste death forever. Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. And you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I shall say that I do not know Him, then I shall be likened to you, a liar. But I do know Him, and I keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see My day, he saw it, and was glad.”

The Jews therefore said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM.” They took up stones therefore to cast at Him, but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.

(Usus Antiquior) Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 12 October 2014 : Holy Gospel

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew

Matthew 9 : 1-8

In illo tempore : Ascendens Jesus in naviculum, transfretavit et venit in civitatem suam. Et ecce, offerebant et paralyticum jacentem in lecto. Et videns Jesus fidem illorum, dixit paralytico : Confide, fili, remittuntur tibi peccata tua.

Et ecce, quidam de scribis dixerunt intra se : Hic blasphemat. Et cum vidisset Jesus cogitationes eorum, dixit : Ut quid cogitatis mala in cordibus vestris? Quid est facilius dicere : Dimittuntur tibi peccata tua; an dicere : Surge et ambula?

Ut autem sciatis, quia Filius Hominis habet potestatem in terra dimittendi peccata, tunc ait paralytico : Surge, tolle lectum tuum, et vade in domum tuam. Et surrexit et abiit in domum suam. Videntes autem turbae timuerunt, et glorificaverunt Deum, qui dedit potestatem talem hominibus.

English translation

At that time, Jesus entering into a ship, passed over the water and came into His own city. And behold they brought to Him one paralytic man lying in a bed, and Jesus seeing their faith, said to the paralytic man, “Be of good heart, son, your sins have been forgiven.”

And behold, some of the scribes said within themselves, “He has blasphemed.” And Jesus seeing their thoughts said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?”

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has the power on earth to forgive sins,” He then said to the paralytic man, “Arise, take up your bed and go into your house.” And the paralytic man arose, and went into his house. And the multitude seeing it, feared and glorified God who had given such power to men.

Friday, 10 October 2014 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are given a plain, clear and stern warning, that we have a clear choice in life, whether we choose to obey the Lord and His will and walk in His ways, or we can choose to walk in the ways of this world, following the whim of our desires and wants in life, and thus we gain the enjoyment of this worldly life, but we lose out in the life of the world to come.

Those who are not righteous and who allow themselves to be taken over by the lies of Satan will perish, and the curse of sin will be with them. They will not have any part in the inheritance of the Lord, the promise of eternal life and happiness which He had revealed through Jesus and sealed through the loving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. And all who believe in Him will be saved.

That is because, brothers and sisters in Christ, that we have fallen into sin and evil ever since the very first time when we disobeyed the Lord, and through that we have lost our right to receive the inheritance which God had promised mankind. Men were not made to suffer the consequences of sin and suffer death and pain. Men were destined for happiness as the greatest and most beloved of God’s creations, but instead, in the free will which He had given us, we chose to pick the temporary pleasures of the flesh rather than the eternal pleasure of the soul.

But God did not give up on us, for He is indeed our loving Father and Creator, who would not suffer to see us fall into eternal damnation with the devil who had brought us to our downfall. Instead, He gave us a new opportunity through the covenant which He had made with Abraham, our father in faith and the father of many nations. The faith and devotion which he showed in life had gained justification and righteousness for him and those who are his descendants.

However, being descendants of Abraham by virtue of birth does not guarantee us salvation, as Jesus once rightly said to the people of Israel who were defiant against Him, that even God could raise the children of Abraham from mere rocks, when they boasted of their status and their supposed privilege as the children of Abraham. That was because while they claimed to be children of Abraham by birth, their actions suggested otherwise. Abraham himself would be ashamed to have them as his descendants!

As the Holy Scriptures had mentioned, that all of us mankind who have done God’s will and obeyed Him in the things which He had asked from us, even though we may not be counted among the tribes of Israel, but if we have done as God had commanded us, just as Abraham had done, then we deserve and are indeed counted together among the children of Abraham, and hence we will also deserve the inheritance promised by God to us.

God also renewed the covenant which He had first established with Abraham, after his descendants reneged on their part of the covenant due to their unfaithfulness, and in order to fulfill the promise made to men at the beginning of time, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and God, as our Saviour. Christ became the hope to all who remain faithful in the Lord and reject the ways of Satan.

For Jesus Christ followed the will of God His Father perfectly, and obeyed even until suffering death, for the sake of all of us mankind. That while the old Adam and the descendants of Abraham disobeyed God and spurned His love, the new Adam, that is Christ, is perfect in obedience and love for God, so that through Him mankind is made well again, and worthy of the inheritance promised to them, because Christ had taken flesh, and the Word was made Man.

Nevertheless, as we can see in the Gospel, there are always dissenters who refused to believe in the truth of Christ and they preferred to follow the whims of their flawed humanity, and preferred to be lead by the lies and comforts promised by Satan, just as their ancestors had done before. This was what happened, when the Israelites refused to believe in the miracles of Jesus, accusing Him of casting out demons by the power of demons because in their hardened heart, they failed to see Christ as He was.

Thus, brothers and sisters, the readings of this day serve as a stern reminder to all of us, that we should keep all of our ways within what the Lord had instructed us, and we should not allow ourselves to be bought off by the tricks and the lies of Satan, who will tirelessly indeed continue his assaults on us, to wrench us away from the safety and salvation in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If we stay faithful, and do all that is good and righteous, then we will be counted among the children of Abraham, and the Lord who had established His new covenant with us, by the shedding of His Blood on the cross, will make us inheritors of our promised rewards. However, if we do not remain faithful and turn our back on Him, then He will also turn His back against us, and we will be cast away from His presence into eternal damnation.

Lastly, Jesus our Lord also reminded us of a very important fact, when the people accused Him of using devil to fight against other devils. He pointed out how a house will not be able to remain standing if it is divided against each other. Thus, if all of us the children of God are not able to remain united, either because of hatred, jealousy, prejudice, arrogance or many other lies and evils Satan planted in our hearts, then we are in great danger to succumb to the assaults of Satan against the people of God.

Thus, let us today renew our commitments to the Lord, that we will be truly faithful to Him, and that we will work together as one whole community of the Church, to resist together and rebuke Satan together as one. May Almighty God guard us always, protect us from the evil one, and awaken in us the faith of our father in faith, Abraham, His faithful servant, that we may all partake fully in the inheritance promised to us. God bless us all. Amen.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014 : 4th Week of Lent, Memorial of St. Francis of Paola, Hermit (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

Isaiah 49 : 8-15

This is what YHVH says : “At a favourable time I have answered you, on the day of salvation I have been your help; I have formed you and made you to be My covenant with the people. You will restore the land, and allot its abandoned farms. You will say to the captives : Come out; and to those in darkness : Show yourselves.”

They will feed along the road; they will find pasture on barren hills. They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the scorching wind or the sun beat upon them; for He who has mercy on them will guide them and lead them to springs of water. I will turn all My mountains into roads and raise up My highways.

See, they come from afar, some from the north and west, others from the land of Sinim. Sing, o heavens, and rejoice, o earth; break forth into song, o mountains : for YHVH has comforted His people and taken pity on those who are afflicted. But Zion said : “YHVH has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.”

Can a woman forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child of her womb? Yet though she forget, I will never forget you.

 

Sunday, 12 May 2013 : 7th Sunday of Easter (First Reading)

Acts 7 : 55-60

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus at God’s right hand, so he declared, “I see the heavens open and the Son of Man at the right hand of God.”

But they shouted and covered their ears with their hands and rushed together upon him. They brought him out of the city and stoned him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning him, Stephen prayed saying : “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Then he knelt down and said in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he died.