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!

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

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

Wisdom 7 : 22 – Wisdom 8 : 1

Because Wisdom, who designed them all, taught me. In her is a spirit that is intelligent, saintly, unique, manifold, subtle, active, concise, pure and lucid. It cannot corrupt, loves what is good and nothing can restrain it; it is beneficent, loving humankind, steadfast, dependable, calm though Almighty. It sees everything and penetrates all spirits, however intelligent, subtle and pure they may be.

Wisdom, in fact, surpasses in mobility all that moves, and being so pure pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God, a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; nothing impure can enter her. She is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of God’s action and an image of His goodness.

She is but one, yet Wisdom can do all things and, herself unchanging, she renews all things. She enters holy souls, making them prophets and friends of God, for God loves only those who live with Wisdom. She is indeed more beautiful than the sun and surpasses all the constellations; she outrivals light, for light gives way to night, but evil cannot prevail against Wisdom.

Wisdom displays her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things rightly.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 : 33rd 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 listened to the Lord’s words in the Scriptures, about what we as Christians should do in order to live as true and devoted Christians. We should heed the Gospel passage today where Jesus related to the disciples, the parable of the silver pounds.

In that parable, we witnessed the contrast between the wise and diligent servants who invested the silver pounds and gained back more than what were given to them, and the lazy servant who did not do anything with what he had been given with, but instead, hiding it and therefore gained nothing. This should be understood in relation to our own lives, to how we as Christians should live our lives in this world.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the silver pound represents the gifts of the Lord, God Who is represented in that parable as the lord who became king in a faraway land, as he who had given his servants part of his wealth to be taken care of. Some were given more while others were given less, but they were all entrusted with the silver pounds after all.

God gave us all talents and abilities, different from one to another person. Some has more and some has less, but in the end, all of these are still the precious gifts of the Lord, the greatest of which is this very life and the breath we take in and out every single moment we are alive. He has given us many possibilities, chances and opportunities that come with whatever He has blessed us with, and now, just as the servants in the parable, we are given a choice on what we are to do with these gifts which have been given to us.

Are we going to keep these to ourselves? Are we going to use the gifts and talents we have for our own selfish benefits? Then perhaps we should look on what happened to that lazy servant who kept and hid the silver pound and did nothing to it. In the end, whatever it was that had been entrusted to him was taken away and given to those who had shown that they deserve it more.

In the same manner, if we do nothing that will bring about joy, love and happiness to our brethren around us who need them, we are not growing at all in the sight of God, but stagnant and wicked, and what it was which God has blessed us all with, He will withdraw and give to those who are more deserving of it. This is a reminder to all of us that we as Christians cannot be passive or be lukewarm in our faith. Instead, we have to be truly committed, and we have to really give our very best and dedicate ourselves to love and serve the Lord our God and His people.

Today, we celebrate the feast of two holy women whose lives have been exemplary and good, as model Christians for us all to follow and to be inspired with. St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude has shown us all, and many others in the past centuries, how we all ought to carry ourselves as Christians in the world, and what we should contribute for the sake of our brethren in need.

St. Margaret of Scotland was an English princess who married the King of Scotland and therefore became the Queen of that country, and was renowned for her great piety and devotion to the Lord. She helped to instigate religious reform and renewal in Scotland, and became a great role model on piety and charity among her people.

She spent much of her time in prayer and in charitable works, often spending time with the poor and the less fortunate in her kingdom, and praying at the Holy Mass and other devotional events in many occasions. She helped to guide her husband the King and her sons, three of whom eventually also became the King of Scotland. She helped to ensure that the king ruled with justice and with firm adherence to the faith in God.

Meanwhile, St. Gertrude was a great German religious sister, a member of the Benedictine order widely praised and renowned for her great piety and works, through her many visions and mystical experiences, through which she shared with many others, religious and laity alike, how one ought to become closer to God through prayer and devotion, particularly towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as one of its early proponents.

The examples of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude should inspire us all to become ever more dedicated as Christians, that we should give ourselves to the effort to love and care for each other, and be welcoming to our brethren who are coming to seek the Lord, and also to repent from our past and sinful ways, and be thoroughly converted to God.

May the Lord help us all, and by the intercession of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, may God forgive us all our sins, and may He awaken us the strong and unquenchable desire to love Him and to seek Him all the days of our lives. Amen.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 : 33rd 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 19 : 11-28

At that time, Jesus was then near Jerusalem, and the people with Him thought that God’s reign was about to appear. So as they were listening to Him, Jesus went on to tell them a parable. He said, “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to assume regal authority, after which he planned to return home.”

“Before he left, he summoned ten od his servants and gave them ten pounds of silver. He said, ‘Put this money to work until I get back.’ But his compatriots, who disliked him, sent a delegation after him with this message, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.'”

“He returned, however, appointed as king. At once he sent for the servants, to whom he had given the money, to find out what profit each had made. The first came in, and reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver has earned ten more pounds of silver.’ The master replied, ‘Well done, my good servant! Since you have proved yourself faithful in a small matter, I can trust you to take charge of ten cities.'”

“The second reported, ‘Sir, your pound of silver earned five more pounds of silver.’ The master replied, ‘And you, take charge of five cities!’ The third came in, and said, ‘Sir, here is your money, which I hid for safekeeping. I was afraid of you, for you are an exacting person : you take up what you did not lay down, and you reap what you did not sow.'”

“The master replied, ‘You worthless servant, I will judge you by your own words! So you knew I was an exacting person, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow? Why, then, did you not put my money on loan, so that, when I got back, I could have collected it with interest?'”

“Then the master said to those standing by, ‘Take from him that pound, and give it to the one with ten pounds.’ But they objected, ‘Sir, he already has ten pounds!’ The master replied, ‘I tell you, everyone who has will be given more; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for my enemies who dis not want me to be their king, bring them in, and execute them right here in front me.'”

So Jesus spoke, and then He passed on ahead of them, on His way to Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Gertrude, Virgin (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saints and Virgins)
Psalm 150 : 1-2, 3-4, 5-6

Alleluia! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in the vault of heaven. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him for His own greatness.

Praise Him with trumpet blast; praise Him with lyre and harp. Praise Him with dance and tambourines; praise Him with pipe and strings.
Praise Him with clashing cymbals; praise Him with clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praise to the Lord. Alleluia!