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.

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

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

2 John 4-9

I rejoiced greatly on meeting some of your children who live in accordance with the truth, according to the command we have received from the Father. And now, I ask you, Lady – I write to you not a new commandment but that which we had from the beginning – I ask you : let us love one another.

This is love : to walk according to His commandments. And this is the commandment : that you walk in love as you have learnt from the beginning. Many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ Who came in the flesh. They are impostors and antichrists.

Take care of yourselves that you do not lose the fruit of your labours, but receive a perfect reward. Everyone who goes beyond and does not remain within the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 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 or Holy Virgins)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are warned by the Lord through His words in the Scriptures, against believing in the false ways and wrong guidance of the false messengers and prophets of God. There will be plenty of those who mislead others with signs of nature and whatever it is that our feeble human intellect and understanding try to perceive, not realising that the will of God and His plans cannot be perceived by our senses alone.

That is why, even at this time, there are plenty of people out there who seek to mislead the people for their own selfish interests, for personal ambitions and self-glorifications, as there were those who even claimed that they were the messengers of God, or even the Lord Himself, coming down from heaven, as the Second Coming long promised. But all these are frauds, and we must not believe in them.

We tend to be awed by worldly greatness, grandeur, glory and all the things that stimulate our physical senses. However, all these can be distractions in our path, as there will then be those who lead others down the wrong path, by depending on the false glory of the world, trusting in their human power and talents instead of placing their trust in God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of depending on our own human wisdom, intellect, understanding and power, we should put our trust and faith in God, and in His divine Wisdom, which He has imparted to us through the gift of the Holy Spirit, dwelling in our hearts. Thus, the Wisdom of God Himself exists within us. However, many of us ignore God’s Wisdom and instead trust more in our own human instincts, intellects and judgments.

The Wisdom of God is often ignored because we are too preoccupied with the world, all its noise and distractions. The Wisdom of God lies deep in our hearts, buried underneath all the distractions of life. And therefore, how do we then find this Wisdom? It is by learning to focus ourselves amidst the busy schedules and distractions of this life, discerning deep in our hearts, that the Wisdom of God will be able to show us the way.

What do we need to do in order to achieve this? We need to deepen our relationship with God through prayer, by quieting our hearts and minds, focusing them towards God. By doing this, we will be able to discern carefully what we need to do in this life, that we will be able to draw closer to God and walk in accordance with His will.

Let us all follow the examples of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, the two saints whose feast we celebrate today. St. Margaret of Scotland was the Queen of Scotland, and was mother to several kings of Scotland. She was well known for her great piety and exemplary lifestyle. She was very charitable in her life, giving generously to the poor and the sick throughout her kingdom.

And by that examples, St. Margaret of Scotland had inspired many others, including her husband the king, her sons and children. She has a great prayer life and personal devotion to the Lord, and therefore, surely she has allowed God’s Wisdom to be her guide, and this is reflected in her lifestyle and efforts as well.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude, also known as St. Gertrude the Great, was a renowned mystic and Benedictine nun, who was remembered and known for her many works of the faith, her many writings about her visions and mystical experiences, through total surrender to God, and deep spiritual relationship with Him. She devoted herself thoroughly to God, and also was known for her deep devotion to the Most Sacred Heart.

The examples of these two saints should be inspirations for all of us, to put our trust in the Lord’s Wisdom and path, rather than to trust our own limited and error-prone wisdom, intellect and instincts. Let us renew therefore, our commitment to the Lord, and our desire to love Him and serve Him through our every actions in life.

May the Lord be with us always, and may He continue to bless all of our endeavours in life. May God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Gospel Reading)

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

Luke 17 : 20-25

At that time, the Pharisees asked Jesus when the kingdom of God was to come. He answered, “The kingdom of God is not like something you can observe, and say of it, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘See, there it is!’ for the kingdom of God is within you.”

And Jesus said to His disciples, “The time is at hand, when you will long to see one of the glorious days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Then people will tell you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go with them, do not follow them. As lightning flashes from one end of the sky to the other, so will it be with the Son of Man; but first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation.”

Thursday, 16 November 2017 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

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

Psalm 118 : 89, 90, 91, 130, 135, 175

O YHVH, Your word stands forever, firmly fixed in the heavens.

Your faithfulness lasts throughout the ages – as long as the earth You created.

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

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

Favour me with Your smile and teach me Your statutes.

Long may I live, to sing Your praise, may Your ordinances always be my help!