Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard of the end and conclusion of the story of Job, the suffering servant of God. Modern Biblical scholars contended that Job did not necessarily represent a historical figure, but rather, a figurative representation of us as God’s people and followers, who live in this world, and are therefore, exposed to all sorts of temptations and from the attacks by the evil one, Satan.

Satan tried to tempt Job and to strike at him, making bets with the Lord, that if he struck at Job, surely Job would fall into temptation and in his anger, he would abandon his faith in God and curse Him. But Job remained faithful and true to his faith, and he did not allow all the sufferings he encountered to be obstacles and hindrances in the way of his faith. He remained firmly faithful and believed that all of what he had to endure, was part of God’s will and plan.

And in the end, God executed His plan and saved His people from the darkness of their sufferings and despair, as He showed clearly in the example of Job, as mentioned in our first reading passage today. We heard how Job was healed from all of his afflictions, and even had his possessions and blessings returned to him, not just what he once had, but in fact double of what he had before.

Through this, God wanted His people to know, that in Him alone there is hope and true salvation, liberation and freedom from all of our troubles, from all the challenges, difficulties and all sorts of obstacles that we may encounter in one way or another in our respective lives. Indeed, the path will be a challenging and difficult one, just as Job’s multitudes of sufferings and pains showed us, but in the end, if we remain faithful to God, our rewards will be great and everlasting.

In the Gospel passage today, the Lord also spoke to us the same message of hope, with the bold proclamation of the defeat of Satan as foretold by the Lord Jesus Himself before His disciples. It was a premonition of what would happen, at the time of Jesus, when the Lord finally put His plan to save His people into its fulfilment and perfect completion, by the crucifixion in which, He gathered all of His people and took up all of their sins and faults, and died for their sake, in an act of perfect love and self-sacrifice that became the source of our salvation.

By the loving sacrifice of Christ on the cross, we have been made free and saved from our fated destruction at the hand of death and sin. And that marks the ultimate defeat of Satan and all of his diabolical plans to bring about our downfall through sin. Through His loving sacrifice, He destroyed forever the dominion of sin over us mankind, and opened for us the path to eternal life and salvation in Him.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, all of us are called to have faith in God just as Job and all the faithful servants of God, those who went before us have done. Indeed, there will be plenty of obstacles and challenges facing us, just as faced by those who have shown their courage and commitment, piety and dedication, but as long as we anchor ourselves strongly in our faith, and in our willingness and desire to love God, God will protect us and guide us on our journey.

Today, we celebrate together the feast day of St. Bruno of Cologne, a holy and devout priest, servant of God, who founded the religious order of the Carthusians. St. Bruno was a great teacher of the faith, inspiring many with his deep love for God and great piety, in all of his actions, words and dealings. His great and deep humility also touched many people who had the opportunity to know him.

St. Bruno dedicated himself to a life of service to God, in poverty and simplicity, in how he declined appointment to the office of bishop and in his commitment to serve the greater cause of the Lord. St. Bruno entrusted himself completely to the love of God, and gave himself fully to Him in love, inspiring many others who followed in his footsteps and thus marking the foundation and growth of the early Carthusians.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we able to trust the Lord and to give ourselves so completely as Job, St. Bruno and the many other holy men and women of God had done? We are all challenged in this manner, reminding us that as Christians, we ought to give our best to the Lord, in all of our whole being. May the Lord help us, and with the intercession of St. Bruno, guide us in our journey of faith towards Him. Amen.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Luke 10 : 17-24

At that time, the seventy-two disciples returned full of joy. They said, “Lord, even the demons obeyed us when we called on Your Name.” Then Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. You see, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the Enemy, so that nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the evil spirits submit to you; rejoice, rather, than your names are written in heaven.”

At that time, Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and made them known to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been Your gracious will. I have been given all things by My Father, so that no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

Then Jesus turned to His disciples and said to them privately, “Fortunate are you to see what you see, for I tell you, that many prophets and kings would have liked to see what you see, but did not see it; and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Psalm 118 : 66, 71, 75, 91, 125, 130

Give me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust in Your commands.

It is good for me to have been afflicted, for I have deeply learnt Your statutes.

I know, o YHVH, that Your laws are just; and there is justice in my affliction.

Your ordinances last to this day, for all things are made to serve You.

Give me knowledge; I am Your servant, who desires to understand Your statutes.

As Your words unfold, light is shed, and the simple-hearted understand.

Saturday, 6 October 2018 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests or Saturday Mass of Our Lady)

Job 42 : 1-3, 5-6, 12-16

This was the answer Job gave to YHVH : “I know that You are all powerful; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. I spoke of things I did not understand, too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I retract all I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent.”

YHVH blessed Job’s latter days much more than his earlier ones. He came to own fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-donkeys. He was also blessed with seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Dove, the second Cinnamon, and the third Bottle of Perfume. Nowhere in the land was there found any woman who could compare in beauty with Job’s daughters. Their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation.

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, through what we have heard in the Scriptures today, all of us see the importance of faith in our lives. For there will always be the pressures and temptations for us to lose the faith or to resist the faith, falling into sin as the people of Israel had demonstrated in the past.

In the first reading today, taken from the Book of the prophet Baruch, the prophet recalled the sins which the people of Israel had committed in various occasions in the past, in disobeying the Law and commandments of God, worshipping the pagan idols and offering sacrifices to those idols. They have tested the patience of God and even persecuted the Lord’s messengers and prophets.

And all of these happened even though God had performed many miracles and mighty deeds before them, where all of them witnessed the great power of God. Beginning from the time of the Exodus when God freed His people from the slavery in Egypt, when God showed forth His might by sending ten great plagues to strike at the Egyptians, who eventually had no choice but to let the Israelites to go free.

When the Egyptians tried to reassert their control over the Israelites, the Lord delivered His people from their hands, making them walk through the Red Sea on dry land, while crushing the chariots and armies of the Egyptians to the bottom of the sea as He set the sea against them and buried them under the waves. Yet, despite all of these that God had done for His people, they ended up betraying Him, and even setting up a golden calf idol over them.

The people of Israel had seen many wonders and miraculous deeds done by the Lord. Yet, they turned their backs to Him, and acted with impunity in disobeying the laws and commandments God had given to them. They fell because in them, the roots of the faith were not firm or strong, and temptations of the world, the temptations of pleasure and human greed ended up making them to fall into sin.

Their hearts were closed against God’s words and truth, because they were blinded by worldliness, by those same temptations and prejudices I mentioned earlier. That was why even though the people in Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida had seen all the wonders and miracles of the Lord Jesus, but they failed to believe that Jesus was the Messiah and the Lord long awaited by His people.

This is a reminder to all of us as Christians that we all need to be truly faithful in all of our deeds, in our every actions and words, so that in everything we will always declare the glory of God, and walk faithfully in His path. And perhaps we should follow in the footsteps of St. Bruno, the holy man whose feast we celebrate today. He is also known as St. Bruno of Cologne, the founder of the Carthusian religious order.

St. Bruno was a renowned educator of the faithful, as a philosopher and theologian who educated the future leaders of the Church, from Popes to Cardinals, to bishops and abbots. Yet, he remained humble, and refused the promotion to the episcopate as a bishop when the opportunity came, renouncing any ambitions or desires for self-gratification or advancement.

St. Bruno truly had a great and true faith in God, as he was dedicated to the reform in the Church, and in teaching the people of God the truth about Him. And by showing his faith through real action and commitment, he has inspired many others who followed in his footsteps, becoming good Christians in their own stead. This is why it is so important for us all as Christians to be role models in faith, so that we will be beacons of light for others, for our fellow brothers and sisters in faith to follow.

Otherwise, we may end up falling into the temptations of this world, and failing to sin. Let us do our best, following the examples of our holy predecessors in faith, so that in everything we say and do from now on, we will always bring greater glory to God. May God be with us all and may He always bless our endeavours. St. Bruno, holy man of God, pray for us all. Amen.

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Luke 10 : 13-16

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Alas for you, Chorazin! Alas for you, Bethsaida! So many miracles have been worked in you! If the same miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would already be sitting in ashes and wearing the sackcloth of repentance.”

“Surely for Tyre and Sidon it will be better on the Day of Judgment than for you. And what of you, city of Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? You will be thrown down to the place of the dead. Whoever listens to you listens to Me, and whoever rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me, rejects the One Who sent Me.”

Friday, 6 October 2017 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Bruno, Priest (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Psalm 78 : 1-2, 3-5, 8, 9

O God, the pagans have invaded Your inheritance; they have defiled Your holy Temple and reduced Jerusalem to rubble. They have given Your servants’ corpses to the birds, and the flesh of Your saints, to the beasts of the earth.

They have poured out the blood of Your faithful, like water around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. Mocked and reviled by those around us, we are scorned by our neighbours. How long will this last, o YHVH? Will You be angry forever? Will Your wrath always burn to avenge Your rights?

Do not remember against us the sins of our fathers. Let Your compassion hurry to us, for we have been brought very low.

Help us, God, our Saviour, for the glory of Your Name; forgive us, for the sake of Your Name.