Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we celebrate the feast of one of the Lord’s twelve principal disciples, also known as the Apostles. And on this day, we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle, who was also one of the Four Evangelists together with St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. St. Matthew was once known as Levi, who was a tax collector that the Lord Jesus called to be His disciple.

The Lord called Levi to follow him and leave behind his post, and Levi listened to the Lord, and invited Him to his house along with many of the other tax collectors. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law disapproved of this act, and they thought badly of the Lord because they saw Him as associating with the people they condemned as sinners and being unworthy of God. But the Lord rebuked them and said that He came into this world precisely to seek those who are sick, sick because of sin.

And Levi left behind his post and profession, and became a disciple of the Lord from then on. That was how he became St. Matthew eventually, one of the Twelve Apostles, a committed disciple of the Lord who followed Him throughout His ministry and through the moments of His Passion, suffering, death and resurrection. He witnessed all that the Lord has done, and was part of the Great Commission which the Lord commanded all of His disciples.

They were all commissioned and sent into the world, to preach the Good News and the truth about God’s salvation. And the Apostles and the other disciples went to various places throughout the world spreading the Word of God. St. Matthew went to the Jewish communities throughout Judea and other parts of Israel, and was likely focused on ministering among the Jewish communities at that time.

That was also why St. Matthew wrote his Gospel a few decades after the death of Christ with the particular slant and purpose, aimed to target the Jewish populations to bring to them the truth of God explaining in particular the aspect of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, as the One Whom God has promised for time immemorial through His servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers of the Israelites, and also through king David, the great king of Israel.

In the way he wrote his Gospel, he wanted to deliver the truth of God towards His own people, in explaining with the context understood by the Jews at the time. He did his best through the power of his pen and by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help guide the people of God to the truth. In addition, he also carried out missionary works like that of the other Apostles and eventually, was martyred for his faith as well.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day all of us are called to reflect on the life and the works of St. Matthew the Apostle, in all the hard work that he had done for the sake of the people to whom he is ministering and evangelising towards. Are we able to dedicate ourselves to the Lord in the way St. Matthew has dedicated his? We must not forget how St. Matthew even left everything behind to serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

It does not mean that we have to leave everything behind as St. Matthew has done, but rather, we have to give our heart totally to God and focus our attention in Him. We have to do our best in our every actions, words and deeds to give greater glory to God, and become the witnesses of His truth to all others not just by words alone but through our every actions and even small gestures that we take every single day.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day let us all renew our commitment to the Lord and let us all be ever closer in our relationship with Him. Let us all entrust ourselves, our hearts, our minds and indeed our whole being to God without any more reservations. Let us all be ever more faithful and be more Christian-like in everything. May God bless us all now and forevermore. Amen.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Matthew 9 : 9-13

At that time, as Jesus moved on from the place where He cured a paralytic man, He saw a man named Matthew, at his seat in the custom house; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And Matthew got up and followed Him.

Now it happened, while Jesus was at table in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners joined Jesus and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is it, that your Master eats with sinners and tax collectors?”

When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people do not need a doctor, but sick people do. Go, and find out what this means : What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Saturday, 21 September 2019 : Feast of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Ephesians 4 : 1-7, 11-13

Therefore, I, the prisoner of Christ, invite you, to live the vocation you have received. Be humble, kind, patient and bear with one another in love. Make every effort to keep among you, the unity of spirit, through bonds of peace. Let there be one body, and one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God, the Father of all, Who is above all, and works through all, and is in all.

But to each of us, divine grace is given, according to the measure of Christ’s gift. As for His gifts, to some, He gave to be Apostles; to others, prophets, or even evangelists; or pastors and teachers. So, He prepared those who belong to Him, for the ministry, in order to build up the Body of Christ, until we are all united, in the same faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Thus, we shall become the perfect Man, upon reaching maturity, and sharing the fullness of Christ.

Saturday, 24 August 2019 : Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of one of the principal disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Twelve Apostles of the Lord, namely that of St. Bartholomew, who was also known as Nathanael as mentioned in our Gospel passage today. In that passage we heard about the moment when the Lord called Nathanael to become one of His followers, revealing Himself on Who He truly is, the Saviour promised to the world.

The Lord called Nathanael and reassured him that He truly is the Messiah, although initially Nathanael doubted Him for having come from the humble village of Nazareth in Galilee, where no one great has been prophesied to be born, but the Lord showed him that He truly is God Who knows everything and all things, Who has brought into this world the truth with which He would save this world and all the people He loves.

And Nathanael came to believe in the Lord and followed Him wholeheartedly to the very end, becoming one of His Apostles and went through the many moments throughout the Lord’s earthly ministry and beyond, and later on throughout the evangelical and missionary ministry he embarked on in proclaiming the truth of God to the people in many faraway places, known as St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

St. Bartholomew was accredited with many missions to places as far as India, Armenia among other places, spreading the Good News of the Lord to the people in those places who have not yet heard the truth of the Lord. He persevered even through the many challenges and persecutions he had to face throughout his ministry, and even through the rejections and oppositions he endured all those years.

Eventually, it was told that he was martyred in a city in Armenia where he was hung and flayed alive after according to some Apostolic traditions, he managed to convert the king of Armenia to the Christian faith. The opponents of the faith struck out against him and persecuted him, and St. Bartholomew died as a martyr, bravely and faithfully defending his dedication to the Lord to the very end.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us have now heard about the life and dedication of the Apostle St. Bartholomew, in his commitment to the Lord all the years of his life. But do we all also realise that each and every one of us are also called to walk in the path set before us by the Apostles? Just as St. Bartholomew had dedicated himself completely and trusted the Lord completely, in performing the missions which He had entrusted to him and the other Apostles, all of us are also called to do the same mission and work.

For the works of the Church and the mission God had entrusted the Church and His Apostles are truly still far from done. We are all called to walk in their footsteps and continue their work of evangelisation and ministering to the people of God. We are all called to be witnesses of our faith in everything we say and do, and we are expected to live our lives with faith, to be exemplary in our actions and our deeds, with all of our dealings and interactions with one another.

And as what we perhaps have experienced in our own lives and what the Apostles and the story of saints and martyrs have shown us, we are likely to endure challenges and oppositions, persecutions and rejections in our lives as we live our lives with faith, and often we will have to be torn because of those whom we love who cause us hurt and pain just because they disagree with our way of life filled with faith.

Are we able to endure such sufferings and challenges, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we able to go through those difficult times and moments and yet still remaining true to our faith in God? The Apostles have shown us, the martyrs and the many other saints of God have proved to us that it is possible for us to live a truly Christian life and persevere on despite the difficulties we may face in our respective lives.

In our first reading today, the reading from the Book of Revelations should become a great source of inspiration to us, as St. John saw in his vision the coming of the great New Jerusalem, the Holy City of God, on which was written the names of the Apostles of the Lord, on each of the twelve gates of the great city. This is a reassurance and promise from God, that all of those who have been faithful to Him and devoted themselves to Him, from the Apostles to all of us, will not be forgotten, but instead will receive the fullness of joy and true happiness, glory and satisfaction in God in due time.

Let us all be encouraged and be strengthened in faith, that from now on we will no longer be lukewarm in living our faith, but instead grow to be better in faith and in our good works and deeds, all done for the greater glory of God. May the Lord through the intercession of His Apostle, St. Bartholomew and the other Holy Apostles, saints and martyrs continue to guide us in our own respective journeys of faith in life. Amen.

Saturday, 24 August 2019 : Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

John 1 : 45-51

At that time, Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law, and the prophets : He is Jesus, Son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”

Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming, He said of him, “Here comes an Israelite, a true one; there is nothing false in him.” Nathanael asked Him, “How do You know me?” And Jesus said to him, “Before Philip called you, you were under the fig tree, and I saw you.”

Nathanael answered, “Master, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” But Jesus replied, “You believe because I said, ‘I saw you under the fig tree.’ But you will see greater things than that. Truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened, and the Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Saturday, 24 August 2019 : Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle (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 YHVH 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.