Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are told through the Scriptures of the many wonders of God, His many works and all that He has done for our sake all these while because of His great and unending love for each and every one of us. He has blessed us all His people at all times despite of our frequent and constant disobedience and sinfulness.

As we heard from our Gospel passage today, through the parable of the evil judge that the Lord Jesus used to explain on this matter, we can see how even an evil, wicked and selfish judge could still bend to the desires of an old woman who went to him constantly and nagged at him incessantly in trying to get him to help her to get her case settled and to fight for her case. The evil judge eventually acceded to her requests and listened to her.

By comparing the behaviour and attitude of the evil and wicked judge, with that of the Lord, our God, we can then see just how if an evil person knew how to do something that is right even for a less than righteous and noble reason, then all the more that God, Who loves us all very dearly and treats us as very precious in His sight, will bless us and take care of us, especially when we ask of Him for a specific grace and help.

Yet, many of us chose to turn away from Him and ignore all the love, care and compassion which He has shown us all these while. And this is mainly caused by our own preoccupation in life, in our relentless pursuits for worldly satisfactions and joys, for the pleasures of the body and for the fulfilment of our desires, be it for money, for fame, for glory and prestige in the society among many others.

We often put trust in our own abilities and strengths, and we do not remember God and His love even in times of difficulties. And when we encounter challenges and difficulties, we then often blame God and became angry at Him for having allowed us all to endure through those difficult challenges and trials. It is then that we need to remember again what we have heard from the Book of Wisdom in our first reading today.

Through that passage from the Book of Wisdom, we are reminded of how God has provided for all of His faithful ones throughout the ages, as how He wished it to be and how He has fashioned all things in accordance with His will. God has been with His people Israel regardless of how they have treated Him, freed them from their slavery in Egypt and provided for them throughout all the many years of their Exodus, even when they rebelled against Him and chose to worship the pagan gods instead of Him.

How have we ourselves lived our lives so far, brothers and sisters in Christ? Have we been ungrateful, unappreciative and ignorant of how great God’s love and kindness towards us have been? Have we allowed pride and our desires to get in our way of being able to love God and to be faithful to Him? Perhaps then it is right that today we should look upon the examples of two of our holy predecessors in faith who have dedicated themselves to the Lord, to be our own inspirations.

St. Margaret of Scotland was the queen of Scotland who was renowned for her upright and virtuous life, her just and loving attitudes towards us, her compassion for the poor and the needy throughout the kingdom. She was very charitable and devoted, performing many charitable works and also instilled great love for God among her family members and her sons, who would become the kings of Scotland.

Despite her privileged status and birth, St. Margaret of Scotland did not let all of those to prevent or stop her from being filled with God’s love, sharing the love of God with her brethren just as the Lord has loved and blessed her first. Through her, we can indeed see just how God performed His wonderful works of love in this world, through St. Margaret of Scotland herself, and also therefore, through us all, by our own actions, words and deeds.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was a Benedictine religious sister and mystic who was renowned for her visions as well as for her great spiritual life and connections to God. St. Gertrude spent much of her time in prayers and contemplations, loving God to the best of her abilities and devoting her time and effort to glorify Him at all times. She also wrote extensively, some of which still survived to this day. Through her writings, many others became inspired by the great faith and love that she had for God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having heard of the inspiring life of these two saints, let us all be inspired and be strengthened in our own lives, that we may also dedicate ourselves to God, and love Him with all of our hearts and with all of our strength because ultimately, He has loved us all first so wonderfully and dearly, that He took up the Cross, suffered, was crucified and died, out of love for us and for the sake of our salvation.

May the Lord enkindle in each and every one of us a strong love for Him, love that imitates and matches the same love which He Himself had shown us. May He bless us all and continue to guide us all through our lives and in all of our good endeavours. Amen.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Luke 18 : 1-8

At that time, Jesus told them a parable, to show them that they should pray continually, and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain town there was a judge, who neither feared God nor people. In the same town there was a widow, who kept coming to him, saying, ‘Defend my rights against my adversary!'”

“For a time he refused, but finally he thought, ‘Even though I neither fear God nor care about people, this widow bothers me so much, I will see that she gets justice; then she will stop coming and wearing me out.'”

And Jesus said, “Listen to what the evil judge says. Will God not do justice for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night, even if He delays in answering them? I tell you, He will speedily do them justice. But, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”

Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Psalm 104 : 2-3, 36-37, 42-43

Sing to YHVH, sing His praise, proclaim all His wondrous deeds. Glory in His holy Name; let those who seek YHVH rejoice.

Then He smote all the firstborn, the first fruits of their manhood. He led Israel out of the alien land, laden with silver and gold, and none were left behind.

For He remembered His promise to Abraham, His servant. So He led forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with singing.

Saturday, 16 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland, and St. Gertrude, Virgin (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)

Wisdom 18 : 14-16 and Wisdom 19 : 6-9

While all was in quiet silence and the night was in the middle of its course, Your Almighty Word leapt down from the royal throne – a stern Warrior to a doomed world. Carrying Your fearful command like a sharpened sword and stretching from heaven to earth, He filled the universe with death.

All creation in its different forms was fashioned anew at Your command, in order to protect Your people. The cloud covered the camp with its shadow, dry land emerged where water had been. A safe passage was opened through the Red Sea, the tempestuous flood became a green plain where the whole nation of those protected by Your hand passed across, witnessing Your astounding deeds.

They were like horses led to pasture, or like frolicking lambs, praising You, their Lord, Who had delivered them.

Friday, 16 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded by the Scripture passages we listened to, of the coming of the time of reckoning for us all, the moment when the Lord will judge us based on our lives and what we have done in them and what we also have not done in the same lives He has granted to each and every one of us, at the time of judgment, both the particular judgment and the last judgment.

In today’s Gospel passage, the Lord warned His disciples that there would be important decisions to be made in life, where there would be consequences when the wrong choices were made. And this could happen any time, and the time would not be of our own choosing, but the Lord’s good time. He mentioned various historical examples, beginning with Noah, and then to Lot and his wife, and then finally to the moment of the end times.

At the time of Noah, the people lived wickedly and refused to obey God in their actions and ways. They lived in sin and continued to rebel against God, and all were wicked save for Noah and his family, who alone kept faithfully the devotion to God. Noah was asked to build a great Ark by God, to save the creatures of the Lord including his own family.

At the same time, if any one of the people of Noah’s time were willing to repent their ways and believe in God’s premonitions made through Noah, they could have also joined him in the Ark, and be saved. Instead, they refused the opportunity and probably mocked Noah for following God’s commands in building such a huge Ark. This was because they did not see the truth and reality from God. As a result, they all perished in the Great Flood.

Then, for the case of Lot and his family, he lived for a time in the city of Sodom, which together with Gomorrah were populated with people who were wicked and sinful in nature. When two Angels came into their midst disguised as two men, the people of the town came to Lot demanding him to pass to them the two men for them to fornicate with.

As a result of their refusal to repent and continued desire to sin, they were destroyed by a rain of fire and brimstone from heaven. Lot and his family were rescued by the Angels to escape the great destruction and catastrophe. Yet, Lot’s wife as mentioned in the Gospel passage today, fell into temptation, and she turned back to look at Sodom, despite the warning from the Angels not to do so, and thus she also perished, becoming a pillar of salt.

In all of these, God wants each and every one of us to know the reality of His love and mercy, which He gives freely to be taken up by us. If we are willing to be forgiven, then we will be forgiven, and only if we are willing to make the effort to receive God’s mercy through repentance and sincere efforts to make ourselves a better person and avoid sinning any further. And we should not wait, as our time can be up any time, and if it is too late for us to change direction, we can only regret.

Today, we celebrate the feast of two saints, whose lives are truly exemplary. And we should model our lives based on their examples. St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude are great and holy women who were truly devoted to the mission entrusted to them. They exhibited great examples of faith that each and every one of us should also emulate in our own lives.

St. Margaret of Scotland was the queen of Scotland remembered for her great piety and generous charitable acts, ruling justly with her husband, the king of Scotland, caring for both the physical and spiritual well-being of the people of Scotland over whom she was queen. She helped to reform the Scottish church and bring everything in line with the way and form of the universal Church, establishing churches and paths for pilgrims, and caring for the poor and the needy in her kingdom.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude, also known as St. Gertrude the Great was a renowned mystic who devoted her whole life to God after a life-changing experience. She received many more visions throughout her life, and she was noted for her great spirituality and piety. St. Gertrude’s holiness inspired many others to follow in her examples in faith, and her particular devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus was a precursor to the now popular devotion.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, let us all model ourselves upon the examples of the holy men and women, saints of God. Let us all turn our hearts and minds to the Lord, and redirect our efforts to serve Him with true faith and dedication. May the Lord bless us always and may He empower us to live faithfully in His presence. Amen.

Friday, 16 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Luke 17 : 26-37

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the day the Son of Man comes. In those days people ate and drank and got married; but on the day Noah entered the Ark, the flood came and destroyed them all.”

“So it was in the days of Lot : people ate and drank, and bought and sold, and planted and built; but on the day Lot left Sodom, God made fire and sulfur rain down from heaven, which destroyed them all. So will it be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”

“On that day, if you are on the rooftop, do not go down into the house to get your belongings; and if you happen to be in the fields, do not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to save his life will lose himself, but whoever gives his life will be born again.”

“I tell you, though two men are sharing the same bed, it might happen that one will be taken, and the other left; though two women are grinding corn together, one might be taken and the other left.” Then they asked Jesus, “Where will this take place, Lord?” And He answered, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.”

Friday, 16 November 2018 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Holy Virgins)

Psalm 118 : 1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18

Blessed are they whose ways are upright, who follow the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they who treasure His word and seek Him with all their heart.

I seek You with my whole heart; let me not stray from Your commands.

In my heart I have kept Your word, that I may not sin against my Lord.

Be kind to Your servant, that I may live to follow Your word.

Open my eyes that I may see the marvellous truths in Your law.