Friday, 4 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we heard about our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son whom our Lord had sent into this world to be our Saviour, on whose hands had been given the full and complete authority to absolve us all from our sins, and to bring us into salvation. And then in the Gospel we heard about how Jesus spoke of the parable of the new and old wineskins, and about the nature of Himself as the Bridegroom of the Church and the faithful.

We heard how the Lord is the Head of the Church, which is His Body, in which all the faithful and all those who have been gathered by the Lord as His flock made up. All of the faithful are part of the Church, the Body of the Lord, for everyone shares together in the banquet of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist.

This means that when we commit ourselves to God and to His ways, as the members of His Body, His Church, all of us have been brought from the dominion of this world into a new and everlasting dominion that is in the Lord. This is perfectly described by Jesus, through the parable of the new and old wineskins as well as the new and old coats.

The parable spoke about the incompatibility of the old and new ways of life, with the old wineskins and the old coats representing the older way of life, while the newer patches and pieces and wines refer to the new way of life, corresponding to our past lives filled with sins and wickedness, and the new way of following our Lord and His commandments, loving one another and loving our Lord respectively.

And because the Lord is the Head of the Church, by nature, all of us who belong to Him and are members of His Body, the Church, just like the organs of our body, should be in tune and in tandem with the activities of the Head, just as our brains control everything that happens in our bodies. And this means that in all of our actions, our words and all of our dealings, we must conform to the way of the Lord, and obey Him in all of His decrees and commandments.

We should not say things or act in ways that are contrary to the Lord’s ways or else we are creating scandals for our faith and for the Church. After all if we preach about the Lord to those who are around us, and expect them to believe in us, while we ourselves are not practicing what we preach, and worse that we even commit and do things that are contrary in meaning and spirit to what we preach, then who would believe in us?

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is imperative that all of us realise how much more that we can do for the sake of the Lord and for the sake of His people around us, in particular those who are still lost in the darkness of the world. We have to realise how much more we can do to help them and bring them into the light through our own actions and through our own faith.

When people see us as the shining beacons of the faith and as examples of the Lord and all that He had taught us, then they too may be moved in their hearts to follow our footsteps, and then be saved together with us. If we are concerned with them, then surely we will try our best to help them to become part of the Church and to share together the Most Precious gift of our Lord’s Body and Blood with them, by calling them to sincere and real repentance and to receive the mercy and forgiveness of God for their sins, so that all mankind, and as many souls as possible may be saved.

May Almighty God bless us all, and may He, the Head of the Church, help us all the members of His One Body, to remain united and to remain attached to His grace and be always worthy of the salvation which He had promised all of us who remain faithful to Him. God be with us all always. Amen.

Friday, 4 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 5 : 33-39

At that time, some people asked Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and say long prayers, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why is it that Your disciples eat and drink?”

Then Jesus said to them, “You cannot make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them. But later the bridegroom will be taken from them, and they will fast in those days.”

Jesus also told them this parable : “No one tears a piece from a new coat to put it on an old one; otherwise the new will be torn, and the piece taken from the new will not match the old.”

“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and be spilt, and the skins will be destroyed as well. But new wine must be put into fresh skins. Yet no one who has tasted old wine is eager to drink new wine, but says, ‘The old is good.'”

Friday, 4 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 4, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His Name.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Friday, 4 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 1 : 15-20

He is the image of the unseen God, and for all creation He is the Firstborn, for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible : Thrones, rulers, authorities, Powers… All was made through Him and for Him. He is before all and all things hold together in Him.

And He is the Head of the Body, that is the Church, for He is the First, the First raised from the dead that He may be the first in everything, for God was pleased to let fullness dwell in Him. Through Him God willed to reconcile all things to Himself, and through Him, through His Blood shed on the cross, God establishes peace, on earth as in heaven.

Thursday, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day, we heard the Lord who showed to His Apostles and inspired them to be the fishers of men. Through the miracle of the fish caught on the net, God showed them what they would do to bring glory to God and what they would do to bring many lost souls to the grace and the presence of God. And through all these, God wants to show us what all of us can do to be part of this mission He had given all of us as well.

The example shown in the Gospel today represents the world as it was, and also even now, as it is today. The Apostles fishing for the fish represent the disciples and followers of the Lord, members of His Church, which is represented by the boat. Indeed, the Church of God is often likened to a boat, an ark, similar to the Ark of Noah of old. The Church is the new Ark bringing all mankind to the salvation from God, away from all the storms and troubles of the world of darkness and sins.

The fishes refer to all of us, big and small, of different kinds and shapes, all of us mankind with all of our uniqueness and specialties, and from our various origins and backgrounds. And all of us are gathered together into the net into the boat, that is the Church of God, by the hard works of the Holy Apostles and the disciples of Christ. This is the mission which God had given to them before He went back to heaven at His Ascension, and this mission continues still even to this day.

Why is this so, brothers and sisters in Christ? This is because there are still so many people who have not yet heard of the truth of Christ, of His Good News and salvation, which He readily provided for all those who trusted in Him. God wants to save all of us, and through His servants, He brought the wonderful salvation to all of us. Many people still live in darkness and in the ignorance of the revelation of truth, which God had made to them, and they still dwelled in their old, sinful lives.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we all have to realise what a great love and devotion that the Lord our God has for all of us. When the disciples had not been able to get any fishes throughout the entire night, they were tired and exhausted, and they certainly would have wanted to give up the fishing entirely. Who after all, in a right mind, would want to try again after many hours of fruitless effort?

But the Lord did not give up on mankind, for He told the disciples to cast out into the deep, in Latin, ‘Duc in Altum’, which means that cast into the deep, placing the net further out and deeper into the waters. Thus, instead of backing out or giving up, the Lord went on to push even harder and worked even harder for our salvation. It is only by reaching out further and with greater effort that many of the souls can be saved.

Today, we celebrate the feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great, San Gregorio Magno, one of the greatest Popes that the Church had that he was honoured as the few Popes who were granted the title ‘Great’. But this greatness did not come about from his status or standing in the society, and neither did it come from wealth or any forms of worldly possessions.

He was great because of the contributions which he had made for the sake of the Church and for the sake of the faithful ones entrusted under his care as the chief shepherd of all of Christ’s flock. He was credited with the great reform of the faith, especially in terms of Christian monasticism and lifestyle, regulating the way how the faithful lived their lives faithfully, and then more importantly, in the way how the faithful worship the Lord.

Pope St. Gregory the Great was credited with the reform in the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, codifying and developing the parts of the Holy Mass that truly bring the Holy Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ truly real and alive in the Mass, and making the Holy Mass itself like the personification of heaven brought down to the earth.

Pope St. Gregory the Great’s greatest contribution is in the area of Church and worship music, where his name was immortalised in the Gregorian Chant, the immemorial and immeasurable treasure of the Faith and the Church, which we still use even until today in our worthy praise of the Lord in the noble and holy celebration of the Mass.

Through all these contributions, and principally through the Gregorian Chant, indeed Pope St. Gregory the Great had shown us great examples on how to be a devoted and faithful servant of God, in reaching out to the lost souls and those who have dwelled long in the darkness of this world. Indeed, to reach out further into the deep, ‘Duc in Altum’, as an inspiration for us to also do the same for the sake of our brethren in need.

Therefore, let us all walk in the footsteps of Pope St. Gregory the Great and the Holy Apostles and disciples of Christ. Let us all increase further the reach of the Church and get as many as possible to the salvation which our Lord is offering us, and gather them together as one people, all rescued from sins and the darkness of the world. May God our Father unite us all in His grace and love, and bring us all into the joy of eternal life. God bless us all. Amen.

Thursday, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Luke 5 : 1-11

At that time, one day, as Jesus stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, with a crowd gathered around Him listening to the word of God, He caught sight of two boats, left at the water’s edge by fishermen, now washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to pull out a little from the shore. There He sat and continued to teach the crowd.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon replied, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if You say so, I will lower the nets.” This they did, and caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

They signalled their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came, and they filled both boats almost to the point of sinking. Upon seeing this, Simon Peter fell at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Leave me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For he and his companions were amazed at the catch they had made, and so were Simon’s partners, James and John, Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. You will catch people from now on.” So they brought their boats to land and followed Him, leaving everything.

Thursday, 3 September 2015 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 97 : 2-3ab, 3cd-4, 5-6

The Lord has shown His salvation, revealing His justice to the nations. He has not forgotten His love nor His faithfulness to Israel.

The farthest ends of the earth all have seen God’s saving power. All you lands, make a joyful noise to the Lord, break into song and sing praise.

With melody of the lyre and with music of the harp. With trumpet blast and sound of the horn, rejoice before the King, the Lord!