Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of God contained in the day’s Scripture passages, again we are further reminded of the future that is to come as the Lord reminded His people, of the day of reckoning and judgment of all creation. He was reminding them all that when the time comes, some will be deemed as righteous while others will be sent to their fated damnation, and while some enter into the glory of God in heaven, others will go to the eternal suffering in hell.

This is a reality for all of us to ponder upon, and it should be a means of check of our own path in life. Have we lived our lives thus far in ways that will see us ending up by the side of God? Or have we instead walked down the path towards darkness and annihilation? The Lord made it clear that by the time of the coming of the judgment, it will be too late for some of us to regret that we have not done better to allow us to enter the glorious kingdom of God.

But unfortunately many of us fall into the temptations of worldly things, of worldly glory and of the false idols of money, possessions, of fame and glory, of renown and affluence, of pleasures of the body and the mind among many others. As a result, we became attached to those that led us down the path of sin, and we become indifferent and ignorant of God’s truth and love for us. We are distracted by our sinful ways.

And we are easily tempted, brothers and sisters in Christ, as the desires, the greed and the pride within our hearts and minds are always ready to overcome us and to lead us into the path of sin. The devil knows this very well, and that is why, seeking our destruction and annihilation, he is always ever ready with all of his wicked forces to try and bring us down through this path, by tempting us with all the distractions of life.

In the Book of Wisdom all of us are reminded that all those worldly things that I have mentioned earlier are nothing more than just mere creations of God, and yet we tend to glorify them and treasure them even more and much more than how we treasure God and His love in our own lives. And these are painfully visible and real through our own daily actions and through the way we have lived our lives.

Let us ask ourselves, brothers and sisters in Christ. How many of us have spent a lot of time trying to accrue for ourselves more of the worldly goods, money, possessions of all sorts, influence and power in the community, and then because we have been so preoccupied and busy with all that, we end up forgetting about God and distancing ourselves from Him in our busy attachments to the world.

That is how we fall into the trap of the devil, and how we end up being dragged ever deeper into the darkness. Let us therefore today look up to the examples of faith set by our saint today, St. Albert the Great, a holy and devout servant of God and bishop, who was truly exemplary and whose life should be a great inspiration to each and every one of us in how we should be living our lives with faith.

St. Albert the Great was a member of the Dominican Order and was renowned for his great intellect and wisdom, and he was a renowned intellectual and teacher in the Church, throughout his many years of teaching and scholarship, research and writing about the many aspects of the faith. One among his students was none other than another great saint, St. Thomas Aquinas, both of them equally well-known for their faith and dedication to God.

Yet, for all his intellect and wonderful knowledge, St. Albert the Great used all of his strength and being to serve God with all of his heart, to minister to the people entrusted to him and leading them down the path of God’s salvation. He was also a humble person who did not seek any glory for himself, and he preferred to remain in the low rather to let himself be known or be glorified for his works and actions.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, having seen the great faith and humility shown by St. Albert the Great in his life, of his allowance of God’s grace and wisdom to flow and work through him, let us all follow in his footsteps and walk on God’s path from now on. Let us all seek to trust God with ever more zeal and devotion, and let us all be ever closer to Him and love Him with ever greater faith and fidelity. Let us die to our pride and human desires, and let us grow in humility and faith. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

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 it, 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 meal 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, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Psalm 18 : 2-3, 4-5

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of His hands. Day talks it over with day; night hands on the knowledge to night.

No speech, no words, no voice is heard – but the call goes on, throughout the universe, the message is felt to the ends of the earth.

Friday, 15 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Bishops)

Wisdom 13 : 1-9

The natural helplessness of humans is seen in their ignorance of God. The experience of good things did not lead them to the knowledge of Him Who is. They were interested in His works, but they did not recognise the Author of them.

Fire, wind, air, the sphere of the stars, rushing water and the lights in the sky were held as the rulers of the world. If, charmed by such beauty, they took them for gods, let them know how far superior is their sovereign. And if they were impressed by their power and activity, let them understand from this how much mightier is He Who formed them. For the grandeur and beauty of creatures lead us to ponder on their Author, greater and more magnificent.

No doubt these people are not to be blamed severely, for possibly they strayed though they searched for God and desired to find Him. They pondered over the created things that surrounded them and were captivated by the sight of such beauty. Even so they are not to be excused, for if they were able to explore the world, why did they not discover first the world’s Sovereign?

Thursday, 6 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded through the Scriptures on the importance of unity among us Christians, in our Church and in our faithful communities, all those who profess the faith in God, and all of us who believe that Christ is truly our Lord and Saviour. If there is no unity in us, then division and conflict will quickly come into our midst, and as we have seen throughout the history of man, we ended up raising up against one another.

In the first reading today we heard of the moment when St. Paul was tried by the Sanhedrin as he was being brought to answer for the charges levied against him by the Jewish authorities. This was to be St. Paul’s last journey, just before he embarked on his last trip to Rome where he would be martyred. The Sanhedrin were divided among themselves, between the faction of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Both of these factions were very influential and powerful among the Jewish people, as the Pharisees represented the priestly and spiritual caste who preserved the traditions, laws and customs of the people while the Sadducees represented the intellectuals and all those with secular power, and both of them were diametrically opposite to each other in the way they think and argue.

As a result, the moment St. Paul made use of the opportunity to expose the bitter division among the two groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees immediately ended up in a very vicious and brutal conflict with each other. They were so divided amongst each other that they were unable to overcome their differences even against a common enemy, St. Paul himself. We see how the two groups bickered and fought, ultimately because of their own ego and pride.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, division is something that did not come from God, for in God lies nothing less than the perfect Unity, the Unity and Harmony between Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, God in the Three Divine Persons but One Godhood. This is what all of us firmly believe in, the believe in the Most Holy Trinity of God, the Unity that He reflects on His own Church and therefore, all of His beloved ones, all of us.

Therefore, that is why the Lord Jesus prayed that there would be unity in the Church and among His disciples and followers, just as He and His heavenly Father are One. Unity comes from God but divisions come from the devil. And ever since mankind first sinned and disobeyed God, and preferred to follow the temptations of evil, they have lost that perfect unity with God and became divided among themselves and divided away from the harmony and unity of God.

All these divisions came about because of our pride and ego, our selfishness and greed within us, which prevented us from being able to appreciate God’s harmony and unity in our midst. Instead of God being at the centre of our lives, we put ourselves and our own selfish desires as the focus of our lives, as the aim and the ambition of our lives. That is how we become divided among ourselves, as our ambitions, ego and pride clash with one another and we refuse to give in.

That is why, today all of us are called to break away from the lure of these temptations to ambition, ego and pride that cause divisions among us, and re-centre ourselves to God, focusing ourselves on Him and His love from now on. That is how we regain the unity among ourselves, bitterly divided and conflicted among ourselves as Christians, in what we have seen in the many splinters and breakaways in the Body of Christ, the Church all these while.

Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Norbert, a great bishop and a renowned preacher and servant of God who devoted his whole life to God, in the love he showed to the poor and the needy. St. Norbert worked tirelessly among the people of God, devoting all his effort, time and attention to serve the good of the Lord’s people. St. Norbert gathered like-minded men who wanted to serve the Lord in what was to become the Canons Regular of Prémontré. He was also instrumental in the ending of some bitter divisions and troubles in the Church at his time.

In what St. Norbert has shown, by focusing ourselves on God and by putting Him ahead of everything else, and by our dedication and commitment, we can bring true unity, harmony and peace to ourselves, and to get rid from ourselves the divisions and troubles that come with our selfishness, ego and pride. Let us all turn to God from now on, and commit ourselves to serve Him from now on, each and every day. Amen.

Thursday, 6 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 17 : 20-26

At that time, Jesus prayed to God His Father, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who through their word will believe in Me. May they all be one, as You Father are in Me and I am in You. May they be one in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”

“I have given them the glory You have given Me, that they may be one as We are One : I in them and You in Me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity; and the world shall know that You have sent Me, and that I have loved them, just as You loved Me.”

“Father, since You have given them to Me, I want them to be with Me where I am, and see the glory You gave Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent Me.”

“As I revealed Your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal it, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and also may be in them.”

Thursday, 6 June 2019 : 7th Week of Easter, Memorial of St. Norbert, Bishop (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 15 : 1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

Keep me safe, o God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, “O Lord, my inheritance and my cup, my chosen portion – hold secure my lot.”

I bless the Lord Who counsels me; even at night my inmost self instructs me. I keep the Lord always before me; for with Him at my right hand, I will never be shaken.

My heart, therefore, exults, my soul rejoices; my body too will rest assured. For You will not abandon my soul to the grave, nor will You suffer Your Holy One to see decay in the land of the dead.

You will show me the path of life, in Your presence the fullness of joy, at Your right hand happiness forever.