Thursday, 26 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast day of two of St. Paul’s followers and fellow leaders of the early Church, St. Timothy and St. Titus, who accompanied him during certain parts of his apostolic journeys, and with whom he kept correspondences, which are then compiled and become part of the New Testament of our Sacred Scriptures today.

These two were among those whom the Apostles had appointed as the episcopi, overseers or bishops among the people of God. They have been chosen to help in the works of the Apostles, and to be their successors to continue the works that the Apostles had started. From them too, came forth many more successors and bishops, who followed on through time, as those who have given themselves to the service of the Gospel for the sake of mankind’s salvation.

And in the Gospel, Jesus our Lord also appointed seventy-two disciples in addition to the twelve Apostles He had chosen. The seventy-two disciples are those whom God had chosen to assist in the good works which the Lord had appointed them to do. They had been instructed by the Lord to go to every places He was to go, to prepare His way for him, and to bring the Good News to the people in those places.

All of us Christians have also been called to do the same, as Jesus Himself had aptly said, that while the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. The harvest refers to the richness of opportunities in this world for evangelisation and conversion, of many people who have yet to receive the Good News of God, and the many people who are still living in sin and darkness, in the ignorance of the light of Christ.

The labourers of the harvest are all those whom God have called to help gather His harvest, namely those who have answered His call and accepted their new role as the devoted servants of God. They are our priests and bishops, those in the holy orders and religious life, who have given themselves and their whole lives for service to God, in the same manner as St. Timothy and St. Titus, and many other holy saints had been.

There are many things that these servants of God had to do, preaching the Good News, healing the sick and caring for them, as well as for all those who are without hope, downtrodden and rejected by the society. And they will also be accepted in places, but rejected in even more places. There will be many of those who refuse to listen to them, and instead of obeying their precepts, continued to live their old and sinful way of life.

In all of this, we should look upon the examples of St. Timothy, St. Titus and all the holy saints who have devoted their life to God. They went from places to places, ministering for the people who need them, both in physical and also spiritual, but more importantly, they provided for them the sustenance of their faith, showing them examples of how they ought to live their lives in good faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to serve the Lord in our different capacities and opportunities, that as Christians and thus members of the Church, we may be true bearers of the message of God’s Holy Gospels, and awaken in many others, the faith that have laid dormant in their hearts. Let us all inspire one another, and help guide each other on our journey of faith towards the Lord.

May the Lord bless us all, and awaken in us the desire to serve Him, so that some amongst us may be stirred when He calls us, to be His servants, to take up the cross and follow Him, and support and continue the good works of the Apostles and disciples, and their successors. May the Lord help us all and be with us always. Amen.

Thursday, 26 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals; and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid, do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

Thursday, 26 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White
Psalm 95 : 1-2a, 2b-3, 7-8a, 10

Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless His Name.

Proclaim His salvation day after day. Recall His glory among the nations, tell all the peoples His wonderful deeds.

Give to the Lord, you families of nations, give to the Lord glory and strength. Give to the Lord the glory due His Name.

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” He will judge the peoples with justice.

Thursday, 26 January 2017 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Timothy and St. Titus, Bishops (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
2 Timothy 1 : 1-8

From Paul, Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of His promise of eternal life in Christ Jesus, to my dear son Timothy. May grace, mercy and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I give thanks to God Whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my ancestors did, as I remember you constantly, day and night, in my prayers. I recall your tears and I long to see you that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, so like the faith of your grandmother Lois and of your mother Eunice, which I am sure you have inherited.

For this reason I invite you to fan into a flame the gift of God you received through the laying on of my hands. For God did not confer on us a spirit of bashfulness, but of strength, love and good judgment. Do not be ashamed of testifying to our Lord, nor of seeing me in chains. On the contrary, do your share in labouring for the Gospel with the strength of God.

Alternative reading
Titus 1 : 1-5

From Paul, servant of God, Apostle of Christ Jesus, at the service of God’s chosen people, so that they may believe and reach the knowledge of truth and godliness. The eternal life we are waiting for was promised from the very beginning by God Who never lies, and as the appointed time had come, He made it known through the message entrusted to me by a command of God, our Saviour.

Greetings to you, Titus, my true son in the faith we share. May grace and peace be with you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I left you in Crete because I wanted you to put right what was defective and appoint elders in every town, following my instructions.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we mark the commemoration of the great feast day in honour of St. Luke, one of the writers of the Four Holy Gospels, the Gospel according to St. Luke, which was known as one of the most detailed among the four Gospels, filled with rich details about the life of Jesus our Lord, His works, His family and His disciples, and all other testimonies of faith that helped us to know what our Lord had taught us through His Church.

In today’s readings, we heard about the works of the Apostles and the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, from the works of St. Paul the Apostle, who went about to many places, cities, towns and villages throughout the Eastern Mediterranean, crossing back and forth between Greece and the Roman province of Asia, Syria and Judea, he had proclaimed the word of God in many occasions, testifying to the communities in the places he had visited about the Lord and Saviour of the world.

In the Gospel we also heard how Jesus sent His chosen seventy-two disciples who had been appointed to assist the twelve Apostles in the deliverance of the Good News to the people, and these helped the work of the Lord by preparing those people and communities for the coming of the Lord Jesus, that when He came, He would be able to relate better to them and many more of them would listen to Him and be saved.

And as Jesus had foretold, their works and missions were not to be easy, but instead many obstacles and challenges exist on their path. There would be those who welcomed them into their places, and many more would listen to them and be changed in accordance to what the Lord intended for these, but there were also to be many more who would refuse to listen to God’s call, rejecting the call to repentance and mercy.

There would be those who were obstinate and stubborn in following the path of the world, worshipping pagan idols and being devoted to worldly pursuits such as money, power, fame and all other things, and these would come to oppose the Lord and His disciples, and in time, would come to persecute them, to chase them away from their lands, and to torture them, imprison them, and even to make them meet their end in martyrdom.

But without those courageous disciples and Apostles of our Lord, who have given their all to bring the Good News to the people who were still living in ignorance and in the darkness, there would have been no Church, and no salvation and grace for the countless souls who had been saved because of their works. Their blood, the spilling of their blood and the destruction of their mortal bodies served to be the foundation of the Church, as the saying goes, that the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.

How is this relevant for us all, brothers and sisters in Christ? That is because we all are the current day’s Apostles and disciples, whom the Lord had continued to entrust the same mission which He had given to His Apostles and disciples as mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. We may be thinking that their works had been completed and the mission was over, but in reality, the mission God had entrusted to us is still very much real and ongoing.

We may not have to lay down our lives in the manner of the Apostles and the disciples of our Lord at that time in the early days of the Church, but we have to realise that there are places in this world where being a Christian, and believing in our God may equate to suffering and being persecuted even unto death, when even the enemies of the Lord will not show mercy to the faithful.

And there are also still so many of our brethren who still live in the darkness, lacking knowledge and understanding of our Lord and His salvation. And we can devote ourselves in the many ways available to us in accordance with our talents and abilities, and in terms of what we are willing and what we are able to give to our brethren who are in need of guidance and help.

We can start little from ourselves, be good and faithful disciples of our Lord, who shun all forms of fornications and sins, be it of the flesh, or of the mind and the heart. We can be charitable and be generous with all those whom we meet along the way, who need help with sustenance, with care, love and attention, and also most importantly, those who have not received the message and truth about God’s salvation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, may the examples of St. Luke and the other saints, Apostles, disciples and holy martyrs be inspirations for all of us to follow in their footsteps, so that by doing what they have done, and by staying devoted and being faithful in all things, and beginning from whatever little and simple things that we can do in our own surroundings, may we all work together to bring the enlightenment to many others and that many more souls may be saved through our work and dedication. May God bless us all and our endeavours. Amen.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Luke 10 : 1-9

At that time, the Lord appointed seventy-two other disciples, and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place, where He Himself was to go. And He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So you must ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to His harvest.”

“Courage! I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Set off without purse or bag or sandals, and do not stop at the homes of those you know. Whatever house you enter, first bless them, saying, ‘Peace to this house!’ If a friend of peace lives there, the peace shall rest upon that person. But if not, the blessing will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking at their table, for the worker deserves to be paid. Do not move from house to house.”

“When they welcome you to any town, eat what they offer you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them : ‘The kingdom of God has drawn near to you.'”

Tuesday, 18 October 2016 : Feast of St. Luke, Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red
Psalm 144 : 10-11, 12-13ab, 17-18

All Your works will give You thanks; all Your saints, o Lord, will praise You. They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom and speak of Your power.

That all may know of Your mighty deeds, Your reign and its glorious splendour. Your reign is from age to age; Your dominion endures from generation to generation.

Righteous is the Lord in all His ways, His mercy shows in all His deeds. He is near those who call on Him, who call trustfully upon His Name.