Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures reminding us about the matter of welcoming God into our midst, as we heard in our Gospel passage today, of the Lord speaking to His disciples on how they should welcome Him like that of a little child. And He made this comparison because a young child’s faith, unlike that of adults, is truly pure and genuine and not masked by other worldly desires.

That is why He reminded His disciples that they should welcome Him in the manner that those little children have welcomed Him. In that occasion, when the people brought little children to the Lord, His disciples wanted to prevent them and push the children away from Him, but the Lord rebuked them for doing something like that. For He wanted them to know that the Lord truly loves everyone without exceptions and His love for them is such that no one should ever be prevented from coming to Him.

And in the same way, we should not let ourselves to be prevented from coming towards God and loving Him, although the reality is such that we often keep God away from us and this is caused by our own preoccupations and attachments to the many temptations and desires present in this world. We are often too busy thinking about other things to be able to think about God or to love Him, because we love ourselves and the world so much more than we love Him.

That is why many of us are struggling in our faith, and we are unable to love God as we should have loved Him. We are unable to reach out to God with the fullness of sincerity and genuine love, as long as we allow ourselves to be tempted and pulled away from God’s loving and tender care. But God has always continued to love us all regardless, and He has always been faithful to the Covenant which He had made with us all.

In what He revealed to us all through His prophet Zechariah in our first reading today, we have heard just how much He loves each and every one of us, His beloved people, and how He wants to restore us and to bless us tremendously once again. God has always thought about us and committed Himself to us all by giving us again and again the wonders of His love, and there is no greater gift than the gift of His own beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For through Christ, God has given us all the surety of salvation and new life in Him. Through Christ, God has showed us all what it truly means to love, and to love generously and tenderly, giving us His all in love, even if it means for Him to take up the unimaginably heavy burden of the Cross and enduring all those sufferings just so that He can save us from certain destruction because of our sins.

Are we able to love God in the same way that He has loved us all? Perhaps we should look at the examples set by His saints, those who have lived and gone before us, leading the path for us in holiness. And today we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, a great saint and a very important Church father, one of the very influential leaders of the early Church, as one of the original Doctors of the Church.

St. Jerome was renowned for his great dedication to God, spending many years and decades in solitary isolation, loving God and devoting himself in prayer to God through an ascetic lifestyle. And it was also then that St. Jerome completed the Latin translation of the Scriptures, from the Greek Septuagint Scriptures into what would eventually be known as the Latin Vulgate Bible.

Through his many years of dedication to the Lord, St. Jerome showed us all what it truly means to love God with all of his heart and strength, and it was indeed certainly not easy, as he had to endure so many challenges, temptations and difficulties throughout his life. Yet, he made the effort to resist those temptations and strive to love God as best as he could. Are we able to do the same in our own lives, brothers and sisters in Christ?

Let us all draw closer to God and let us love Him sincerely from our hearts, doing our very best to serve Him and to be His beloved children once again. May the Lord continue to bless us in all of our endeavours and may He continue to guide us in our journey of faith. Amen.

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 46-50

At that time, one day, the disciples were arguing about which of them was the most important. But Jesus knew their thoughts, so He took a little child and stood him by His side. Then He said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in My Name, welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, welcomes the One Who sent Me. And listen : the one who is found to be the least among you all, is the one who is the greatest.”

Then John spoke up, “Master, we saw someone who drives out demons by calling upon Your Name, and we tried to forbid him, because he does not follow You with us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him. He who is not against you is for you.”

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 101 : 16-18, 19-21, 29 and 22-23

O Lord, the nations will revere Your Name, and the kings of the earth Your glory, when the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in all His splendour. For He will answer the prayer of the needy and will not despise their plea.

Let this be written for future ages, “The Lord will be praised by a people He will form.” From His holy height in heaven, the Lord has looked on the earth to hear the groaning of the prisoners, and free those condemned to death.”

Your servants’ children will dwell secure; their posterity will endure without fail. Then the Name of the Lord will be declared in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem, when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship Him.

Monday, 30 September 2019 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 8 : 1-8

The word of YHVH, the God of hosts was directed to me in this way, “I am intensely jealous for Zion, stirred by a burning anger for her sake. YHVH says : I will return to Zion and live in her midst. Jerusalem shall be called the city of faithfulness and the mountain of holiness.”

YHVH, God of hosts speaks, “Old men and women will again sit in the squares, each with a stick in hand on account of their great age. The squares of the city will be filled with girls and boys playing.”

YHVH, God of hosts declared, “If that seems impossible in the eyes of those who have returned from exile, will it be impossible for Me as well?” – word of YHVH. YHVH, God of hosts says, “See, I am going to save My people, bringing them from the east and from the west; and they will live in Jerusalem. They will be My people and I shall be their God, in truth and in justice.”

Saturday, 30 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the words of the Scriptures speaking to us first of all from the prophet Zechariah who spoke about God’s dwelling amongst His people, for they are His people and He is their God. Many people would come to seek God and to be His people, and He would be their God.

Then in the Gospel today we heard Jesus our Lord speaking about the betrayal that would happen to Him, as His own disciple would betray Him to the chief priests, namely Judas Iscariot. Yet the disciples failed to understand this, even after Jesus had repeated the same prediction a few times. That is because they were not able to open their hearts and minds to welcome God’s truth into them.

In our world today there are still a lot of people who have not yet known God or understood His truths and teachings. And in fact, within the Church itself, for various reasons, there are still many of the faithful who have not possessed an adequate understanding of the faith, who do not live the faith as how it should have been lived.

That is why, there is a need for all of us Christians to be closely attached to the Word of God, through which we gained the knowledge of our faith, by the guidance from the Church, that we may better appreciate and understand what our faith is really about, and what is required from us all as Christians. And this Word of God, is the Holy Scriptures, God’s very own words as passed down to us through His prophets and messengers.

It is through the Scriptures that all of us read about the history of our salvation, beginning from the time when mankind first fell into sin and darkness, and then how God had, in numerous occasions, intervened for the sake of humanity, saving them from their distress, among them include the saving of Noah from the Great Flood that destroyed all the wicked men, and His salvation of the Israelites from the slavery in Egypt.

And we can know all these because of our exposure and regular immersion with the texts from the Holy Scriptures. It is apt and fitting today that we also celebrate the feast of St. Jerome, one of the great Church fathers, an ascetic and pious man, who was remembered especially for his translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible into the Latin Vulgate Bible, giving more people access to the wealth of messages and knowledge contained within the Book of the Word of God.

All of us need to ask ourselves, and reflect on how much effort we have put into ensuring that we constantly and regularly make the effort to read and understand the Holy Scriptures. Certainly, many of us had not done what we should have done, and as expected from us, because many of us would have found it even a waste of time and meaningless for us to read the Bible, less so to understand its passages.

Yet, without understanding the Scriptures, it will be difficult for us as Christians to understand what it is that God wants us to do in our lives. Consequently, we will end up getting more and more distant and separated from God, and then lose our way in this journey of life, easily falling into the traps that Satan and his allies have prepared for us, that we may end up facing our downfall through sin.

Let us all therefore follow the examples of St. Jerome, who devoted himself thoroughly to the Lord, in studying His will and commandments, and even unto translating the entire Scriptures for the benefit for the people of God. Let us all spend more and more time dedicating ourselves to read the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures, with the guidance of the Church and adhering to the teachings of the Church, that we may draw ever closer to the Lord.

May God be with us all, and may He continue to allow the faith in us to grow and deepen as we spend more and more time in dedication to Him. May the Word of God be our guide and inspiration in life. Amen.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 9 : 43b-45

At that time, while all were amazed at everything Jesus did, He said to His disciples, “Listen, and remember what I tell you now : The Son of Man will be betrayed into the hands of men.” But the disciples did not understand this saying; something prevented them from grasping what He meant, and they were afraid to ask Him about it.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Jeremiah 31 : 10, 11-12ab, 13

Hear the word of YHVH, o nations, proclaim it on distant coast lands : He Who scattered Israel will gather them and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock.

For YHVH has ransomed Jacob and redeemed him from the hand of his conqueror. They shall come shouting for joy, while ascending Zion; they will come streaming to YHVH’s blessings.

Maidens will make merry and dance, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy for sorrow.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 : 25th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Zechariah 2 : 5-9, 14-15a

Raising my eyes again, I saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, “Where are you going?” He answered, “I am going to measure Jerusalem, to find its width and its length.”

As the Angel who spoke to me came forward, another Angel met him and said, “Run and tell this to that young man : ‘Jerusalem will remain unwalled because of its multitude of people and livestock.’ For this is the word of YHVH : I, Myself, will be around her like a wall of fire, and also within her, in glory.”

“Sing and rejoice, o daughter of Zion, for I am about to come, I shall dwell among you,” says YHVH. “On that day, many nations will join YHVH and be My people.”

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today from the Holy Scriptures we have received the message that each and every one of us ought to be serious and sincere in our faith and devotion to the Lord, and not to be lukewarm and ignorant as what the people of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum had done. These were the cities in the region of Galilee where Jesus did most of His works and ministries in, healing people from their diseases and performing many other miracles among them.

And yet, these people found it difficult in themselves to believe in what Jesus had come to say to them. They were adamant in their lack of faith in Jesus, and in true commitment to His ways, as many of them came to follow Him because of what they saw in Him, as a miracle worker and wonder bearer, Who was able to made them to be awed and satisfied, but yet, when difficult times came, they abandoned Him readily and walked away from Him.

God had done so much for our sake, and yet, we often are ignorant of His love. He has blessed us with so many blessings and graces, even to the point of giving to us the greatest of His gifts, that is the gift of His perfect love, in His own Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus came into this world in order to save it, and to bring forth into the world the truth which He was telling them, that God has come into the world to dwell among His people, and be saved together with His glorious resurrection.

For He had given His all to heal us mankind from our injuries and wounds, He had voluntarily given up Himself to be the One to bear the burden of our sins, disobedience, wickedness, all of which should have led us to be punished and to fall into eternal damnation. Instead, He had decided to willingly bear those burdens upon themselves, that we may survive and not perish, and that all those who have accepted their salvation in God may find the way to be reunited with Him in eternal life.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, all of us are called to reflect on our own lives, and see what we have done thus far in order to be a true and good Christian, for each and every one of us. Have we been truly devoted and be committed to Him in our own way of life? Have our actions show love, care and concern for our brethren just as Jesus Himself had cared for us and loved us?

It is important that we should heed the examples of the holy saints and all those who have committed themselves to the Lord, that we know the path that we ought to undertake in order to proceed forward towards the Lord. These people have tried their best to make use of whatever God had given them and blessed them with, and use these for the benefit of their brethren.

St. Jerome was a great saint of the Western Christendom, who lived at the time of the Roman Empire after the Christian faith had been legalised in its existence, and the faith itself was spreading very rapidly among the people. St. Jerome was a convert to the faith, who then came to embrace the calling which God had made for him, following the Lord with all of his heart and effort as a priest and as a monk, who worked hard to evangelise to the people of God, particularly through his many writings.

He wrote extensively on many matters regarding the faith, and was most renowned through his work on the translation of the Greek Septuagint Bible into the Latin Vulgate Bible. As many of the people in the western part of Christendom did not speak or read Greek, the translation was crucial in providing the basis from which the word of God in the Sacred Scriptures were then on accessible to the people of God through the Church.

From his contributions, many souls have received the word of God, understood what God’s intentions were for them, and many of these have repented their sins and left behind their old ways of worldliness, greed, hatred and wickedness. They have therefore been saved through the good works of St. Jerome and his many successors, all those who have devoted themselves and their lives as true and genuine Christians.

We too, brothers and sisters in Christ, are able to do the same. Indeed, we have been given the same gifts as those that God had given His holy saints. But now the choice and the decision lie in our hands alone, whether we want to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others, by doing what God had commanded us to do, by giving ourselves to the cause of the Lord through our dedication to help His Church and by generously giving to our brethren in need.

May God help us in our endeavours, as well as in our journey to become ever closer to Him, that we all may draw ever more righteousness and justice from our deep and personal relationship with our God. May St. Jerome and the many other holy saints of our God pray for us all, that each and every one of us may be saved and may find righteousness and justice in the presence of God. Amen.

Friday, 30 September 2016 : 26th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White
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.”