Friday, 22 September 2017 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded by St. Paul through his Epistle to St. Timothy, that all of us ought to remain true to our faith, and keep ourselves in the path of God’s righteousness. It will not be an easy journey for us, as our way will be filled with difficulties, temptations and all sorts of obstacles, as St. Paul had mentioned, in our struggles with money, possessions, worldly ambitions and other tempting pursuits.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if we are not careful and if we are not vigilant with how we live our lives, we may end up falling for those temptations and slip into sin. It is easier for us to do what the world demanded from us than to walk faithfully in the way of the Lord. And the temptation is always there, pulling us away from God and His righteousness. Now, the question is, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to give in to the temptations, or are we going to stand up for our faith?

To be a good and devoted Christian, therefore, we cannot be a lukewarm disciple of the Lord. We cannot be a passive and inert Christian. That means, we cannot be conforming and be permissive in our actions and deeds in life. We cannot be thrown from side to side, just because we have no strong root of our faith. That is what will exactly happen to us, if we do not have that firm foundation in the Lord. We will be like a ship battered by the winds and the waves, and we will sink.

Nonetheless, for many of us, our faith is not a priority, and we are often distracted by our pursuit of fame, renown, personal and worldly glory, wealth and possessions, trying to gain more for ourselves all those things, which end up causing us to be drifting away from God, because He is not the priority in our minds and hearts. We end up becoming filled up with greed and desires, with ambition and haughtiness.

Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all reflect upon our lives, and think carefully about how we should proceed with those lives from now on. Are we going to continue living as we have lived, becoming slaves to our desires and human greed, to our ambition and love for the world? For money and for renown? For pleasures of the flesh and for power, glory and worldly goods?

Or do we rather change our ways for the better, discarding all those wickedness we have done, and all of the failures we have made, all the greed and human ambition, and instead we seek the Lord, the true Source of our joy and happiness. For we all have to realise that there is nothing in this world that can truly satisfy us, no matter how enjoyable and pleasurable they may be, as ultimately, all of them are merely temporary.

We should not be so fixated with whatever joys and good things we may find in the world, and become obsessed with gaining more of them for our own selfish gains and wants. If we make these as our treasures, let us all remember that first of all, those things do not last, and can be destroyed by fire, by water, by worldly forces and disasters, by wars and all other human deeds. Yet, if our treasure is in the Lord, we do not need to worry, since that treasure will truly last forever.

The folly of seeking worldly joy and happiness is evident, since no mortal man will bring forth his or her worldly treasures, their money and possessions, and all other things they have when they die. They will leave behind everything, and come before the Lord naked and empty without any status, possessions or wealth, and God will judge them not based on how rich or powerful they are, but rather by how much they have obeyed Him and done what He had taught them to do.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we have heard the message from the Scriptures regarding this matter. Let us all as Christians seek to be ever better disciple of our Lord, persevering through the temptations of this world, and grow ever better and deeper in our commitment and devotion to our Lord. May the Lord give us the strength to continue faithfully living and walking in His path, that eventually we will find our way to His eternal glory. Amen.

Friday, 22 September 2017 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 8 : 1-3

At that time, Jesus walked through towns and countryside, preaching and giving the Good News of the kingdom of God. The Twelve followed Him, and also some women, who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases : Mary called Magdalene, who had been freed of seven demons; Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward; Suzanna; and others, who provided for them out of their own funds.

Friday, 22 September 2017 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 48 : 6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20

Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers ring me round – those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches?

For no ransom avails for one’s life; there is no price one can give to God for it. For redeeming one’s life demands too high a price, and all is lost forever. Who can remain forever alive and never see the grave?

Fear not, when someone grows rich, when his power becomes oppressively great; for nothing will he take when he dies; his wealth and pomp he will leave behind.

Though he praised himself in his lifetime, “All will say that I have enjoyed life,” he will join the generation of his forebears, who will never again see the light.

Friday, 22 September 2017 : 24th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Timothy 6 : 2c-12

Teach and stress these things. Whoever teaches in some other way, not following the sound teaching of our Lord Christ Jesus, and true religious instruction, is conceited, and understands nothing. This one is crazy about controversies and discussions, that result in envy, insults, blows and constant arguments between people of depraved minds, and far from the truth. For them, religion is merely for financial gain.

In reality, religion is a treasure, if we are content with what we have. We brought nothing into the world and we will leave it with nothing. Let us, then, be content with having food and clothing. Those who strive to be rich fall into temptations and traps. A lot of foolish and harmful ambitions plunge them into ruin and destruction.

Indeed, the love of money is the root of every evil. Because of this greed, some have wondered away from the faith, bringing on themselves afflictions of every kind. But you, man of God, shun all this. Strive to be holy and godly. Live in faith and love, with endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith and win everlasting life, to which you were called, when you made the good profession of faith, in the presence of so many witnesses.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, which is related to the Feast which we have just celebrated the day before, that is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And while yesterday we rejoice in the glory of the Holy Cross and the triumphant victory which our Lord Jesus Christ had won because of His sacrifice on the Cross, today we remember that behind the Cross, precisely at the foot of the Cross, was Mary, the mother of our Lord.

For Mary was ever faithful and devoted to her Son, Whom she followed throughout His life and ministry in this world, ever loving Him and caring for Him at all times, even to the point of following Him to the Cross at Calvary. It must have been painful and unbearably excruciating for a mother to have to witness her Son being made to suffer, tortured and rejected by the people whom He had loved, and the pain which Mary had felt upon seeing the nails piercing the hands and the feet of her Son must have been tremendous.

This was what the prophet Simeon had foretold to Mary and Joseph, at the time when they brought the Baby Jesus to the Temple to be presented to the Lord. He foretold that a sword would pierce the heart of Mary, the mother of our Lord, but through that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. It is the thought which Mary always had for her Son, ever placing Him at the forefront of her mind, and the care and love He had for her, which she now shows us from her wounded heart.

Therefore, today, all of us look upon Mary, the Mother of our Lord and God, whom her Son had entrusted to us as our Mother, and vice versa, that we have also been entrusted to her as her adopted children. And in her we see the sorrowful eyes which have gazed on the suffering of her Son, as He took up His cross, walking the long path from Jerusalem to Calvary, seeing her Son rejected and trampled upon, loathed and made to suffer, bearing the burdens of our sins, the entirety of mankind’s unimaginably huge burden of sin.

Therefore, that is why the sorrow of Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows is clear, even unto this very day, because even though God had loved us and He even willingly laid down His life for our sake, sacrificing Himself on the cross for us, but we continue to sin and commit what is evil in the sight of God, refusing to obey God and His laws, and continuing to do what is against the Law of God.

Every single sin that we commit, every single one of our failure in doing what we could have done to obey God’s will, are every wounds that have been inflicted on our Lord Jesus Christ, the wounds and the whiplashes that tore at His Body, which made Him to suffer and to bleed. And all of these brought more sorrow to our loving mother, who loves each and every one of us just as she loves her Son.

Yet, we mankind continue to walk down our path towards destruction, by our ignorance of the Lord’s ways and teachings, by our refusal to repent and to turn away from all of our sinful ways. That is also why Mary made so many appearances in various times and places, including at Fatima, which centenary of her Apparition we celebrate this year.

Every time Mary, our mother made her appearance, she called upon her children to repent from their sins and to turn away from their wicked ways. She showed them the horrors of hell and what awaits those who are not faithful to God. That is because each and every one of us are precious to her, for she is our mother, and she loves us just as she loves and tenderly cares for her Son Jesus. She does not want even a single soul to end up in the damnation of hell.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect on the great sorrows of Mary, our loving mother and the mother of our Lord, who have witnessed just how great the love God had for us, that for our sake, He was willing to die for us, that each and every one of us may have life in us, let us all therefore spend some time to think about what we have done in our lives thus far, and what we have not done in accordance with God’s ways and teachings.

Let us from now on turn ourselves wholeheartedly and completely towards the Lord, our God, and through the guidance shown upon us by His mother Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows, may all of us be able to find our way to the salvation and eternal life found in Him alone. Let the sorrowful heart of our loving mother Mary remind us of the need for us to reject all forms of sin, and live with faith, zeal and devotion from now on.

May all of us draw our attention to the Blessed Mother Mary, and through her may all of us find our most direct path to her Son. May the Lord continue to bless us and be with us all the days of our life. Amen.

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 19 : 25-27

At that time, near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister Mary, who was the wife of Cleophas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw the mother, and the disciple whom He loved, He said to the mother, “Woman, this is your son.”

Then He said to the disciple, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home.

Alternative reading

Luke 2 : 33-35

At that time, the father and mother of Jesus wondered at what was said about the Child. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, His mother, “Know this : your Son is a Sign; a Sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a Sign of contradiction; and a sword will pierce your own soul, so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.”

Friday, 15 September 2017 : 23rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 30 : 2-3a, 3bc-4, 5-6, 15-16, 20

In You, o YHVH, I take refuge, may I never be disgraced; deliver me in Your justice. Give heed to my plea, and make haste to rescue me.

Be a Rock of refuge for me, a Fortress for my safety. For You are my Rock and my Stronghold, lead me for Your Name’s sake.

Free me from the snare that they have set for me. Indeed You are my Protector. Into Your hands I commend my spirit; You have redeemed me, o YHVH, faithful God.

But I put my trust in You, o YHVH, I said : “You are my God.” My days are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, from those after my skin.

How great is the goodness which You have stored for those who fear You, which You show, for all to see, to those who take refuge in You!