Wednesday, 29 October 2014 : 30th Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s most important message and lesson from the Scriptures to us is the nature of our faith and how important it is to our salvation and to the salvation of our souls. Few would be saved indeed, just as Christ had mentioned it, but not because they are not faithful in the Lord. Many indeed among the people did not have faith in God and even despise His offer of salvation, however there are equally many of those who do have the faith in them, and yet this faith is dead or not living.

Why is this so? That is because faith cannot be just mere statement or creed. It cannot be limited to just reciting the Creed as we always do during the Sunday or major celebrations of the Holy Mass, as mere recitation and saying of the words that we believe in God and in His laws and commandments without being accompanied by true and complete devotion to that faith through our concrete action in life, is meaningless and empty. And an empty faith does not lead to salvation, but instead to condemnation.

That is because the faith that is empty, is no better and in fact is the same as the faith of hypocrites, namely like the faith of the Pharisees, the elders of Israel, the teachers and scribes of the Law, who promoted external and superficial devotions to the Law and the ways of the Lord, but without fully understanding the purpose and meaning, as well as the potential use for the Law, and therefore their faith remained just as that, empty and superficial.

This is the same as what Jesus said to the people, in His parable of the master of the house and the guests, when He said that the door is narrow and that it will be difficult for many if not most people to pass through it to enter into the promised kingdom of heaven and everlasting life. That is because we are unable to enter the door because of the desire and the pride that made us all bloated, filled with self-righteousness and self-praise, our desire and greed, our jealousy and all the negativities that prevent us from truly reaching out to the Lord our God.

This is also similar to the story and parable which Jesus had told the people as well, on how difficult it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God compared to that of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Somewhere in Jerusalem there was actually this gate where the gate is so low that whoever pass through it, humans and camels alike have to lower their heads or else they would knock their heads over the gate and would not be able to enter the gate.

The rich and proud man was unable to enter because for him it was humiliating and demeaning that he should lower and bow his head while he enter through the low gate, and meanwhile, the camel had no problem passing through it, because what it did is simply that it lowered its head and body, so that it was able to pass through the gate readily, even though it was larger in size than the rich and proud man.

The same therefore applies to the case of why it was so difficult for many people to pass through the narrow gate into the house. That is because the narrow gate represents the challenges that we need to face in life in order for us to follow the Lord and to obtain salvation in Him. We do not like it difficult or when challenges come our way, and we prefer to have the path to be smoothened for us, and yet there is no such thing when we decide to follow the Lord.

Many people professed to have the faith, just like the people who professed that they have seen the works of the Lord and even ate and drank with Him, but when we asked again, on whether they truly have faith in the Lord, can we say with confidence that they have such love for God? Most of us stay on with something or someone only when things are favourable for us, but when things start to go downhill, it is our human nature to abandon the things and go to seek greener pastures.

Thus, it is the same with most of the people, who cared only to be satisfied in body and to have it easy, and to avoid all sorts of difficulties and problems. Once difficulty and challenges come their way, they would evacuate and go to pick other things. Thus their faith in God is likely to be superficial and not real. Their faith and devotion will quickly evaporate once they are faced with challenges in life, the temptations of the flesh and the world, and the opposition of Satan. Thus it is imperative that we reject Satan and have control over our own desires.

So what should we do brothers and sisters in Christ, how do we then pass through that narrow door and into salvation in God? It is by being vigilant at all times against the temptations and the works of Satan, and then in addition by following what St. Paul had suggested in the letter he wrote to the Church and to the faithful in Ephesus.

St. Paul suggested obedience and sincere love for God through the good understanding and observation of the Law, as the way for us to seek God and His salvation. Obeying God as His servant, we cannot be divided in our hearts. We cannot be half-hearted, or even worse if our faith is superficial only. We have to be committed to the Lord and remain true to His path to the end of days.

If we do all these, the Master of the House of God, that is Jesus, will welcome us with His great love, forgiving us from our sins and iniquities and replacing from within us the selfishness and reluctance and doubt that prevented us from truly seeking and reaching out to the Lord. The Lord who sees all these will know that we truly understand His laws and commandments, and thus will justify us in faith.

May the Almighty God bring us into new life and salvation in Him, and give us strength and understanding so that we may always walk in His path, not tempted and not to fall from the path which leads us directly to God. Let us cast away all forms of wickedness and evil, as well as all all doubt from our hearts. This is so that we may believe and love the Lord with all of our strength, with all of our soul and with all of our beings.

May more and more souls come to the Lord to seek His forgiveness and mercy, and to attain salvation and eternal life in God. Let us not end up like those who refused to listen to the Lord and follow His ways, gaining temporary satisfaction at the price of the corruption and sin of their souls, hearts and body. God be with us all, now and forever. Amen.

 

First Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/28/wednesday-29-october-2014-30th-week-of-ordinary-time-first-reading/

Psalm : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/28/wednesday-29-october-2014-30th-week-of-ordinary-time-psalm/

Gospel Reading : https://petercanisiusmichaeldavidkang.com/2014/10/28/wednesday-29-october-2014-30th-week-of-ordinary-time-gospel-reading/

Sunday, 12 October 2014 : 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Matthew 22 : 1-14

Jesus went on speaking to them in parables : “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven : A king celebrated the wedding of his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding feast, but the guests refused to come.”

“Again he sent other servants, ordering them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they paid no attention and went away, some to their fields, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.”

“The king became angry. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the crossroads, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.'”

“The servants went out at once into the streets and gathered everyone they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests. The king came in to see those who were at table, and he noticed a man not wearing the festal garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in without the wedding garment.’ But the man remained silent.”

“So the king said to his servants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the dark, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Know that many are called, but few are chosen.”

Alternative reading (shorter version)

Matthew 22 : 1-10

Jesus went on speaking to them in parables : “This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven : A king celebrated the wedding of his son. He sent his servants to call the invited guests to the wedding feast, but the guests refused to come.”

“Again he sent other servants, ordering them to say to the invited guests, ‘I have prepared a banquet, slaughtered my fattened calves and other animals, and now everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they paid no attention and went away, some to their fields, and some to their work. Others seized the servants of the king, insulted them and killed them.”

“The king became angry. He sent his troops to destroy those murderers and burn their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is prepared, but the invited guests were not worthy. Go instead to the crossroads, and invite everyone you find to the wedding feast.'”

“The servants went out at once into the streets and gathered everyone they found, good and bad alike, so that the hall was filled with guests.”

Saturday, 16 August 2014 : 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Stephen of Hungary (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White

Psalm 50 : 12-13, 14-15, 18-19

Create in me, o God, a pure heart; give me a new and steadfast spirit. Do not cast me out of Your presence nor take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Give me again the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will show wrongdoers Your ways and sinners will return to You.

You take no pleasure in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, You would not delight in it. O God, my sacrifice is a broken spirit; a contrite heart You will not despise.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Song of Songs 3 : 1-4a

On my bed at night I looked for the one I love, I sought him without finding him; I called him and he did not answer. I will rise and go about the city, through the streets and the squares; I will seek the love of my heart…

I sought him without finding him; the watchmen came upon me, those who patrol the city. “Have you seen the love of my heart?” As soon as I left them, I found the love of my heart.

Alternative reading

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-17

Indeed the love of Christ holds us and we realise that if He died for all, all have died. He died for all so that those who live may live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again for them.

And so from now on, we do not regard anyone from a human point of view; and even if we once knew Christ personally, we should now regard Him in another way.

For that same reason, the one who is in Christ is a new creature. For Him the old things have passed away; a new world has come.

Monday, 21 July 2014 : 16th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, Priest and Doctor of the Church (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Priests)

Micah 6 : 1-4, 6-8

Listen to what YHVH said to me, “Stand up, let the mountains hear your claim, and the hills listen to your plea.”

Hear, o mountains, YHVH’s complaint! Foundations of the earth, pay attention! For YHVH has a case against His people, and will argue it with Israel. “O My people, what have I done to you? In what way have I been a burden to you? Answer Me.”

“I brought you out of Egypt; I rescued you from the land of bondage; I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you.”

“What shall I bring when I come to YHVH and bow down before God the Most High? Shall I come with burnt offerings, with sacrifices of yearling calves? Will YHVH be pleased with thousands of rams, with an overabundance of oil libations? Should I offer my firstborn for my sins, the fruit of my body for my wrongdoing?”

“You have been told, o man, what is good and what YHVH requires of you : to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Thursday, 10 July 2014 : 14th Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Hosea 11 : 1-4, 8c-9

I loved Israel when he was a child; out of Egypt I called My Son. But the more I have called, the further have they gone from Me – sacrificing to the Baals, burning incense to the idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; yet little did they realise that it was I who cared for them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with leading strings of love, and I became for them as One who eases the yoke upon their neck and stoops down to feed them.

My heart is troubled within Me and I am moved with compassion. I will not give vent to My great anger; I will not return to destroy Ephraim for I am God and not human. I am the Holy One in your midst and I do not want to come to you in anger.

Monday, 23 June 2014 : 12th Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are brought to an important lesson in life which our Lord wants us to remember at all times. Before we judge or think badly about someone, let us first take a look at our own selves and judge ourselves, that we know the fact, how all of us are in fact equally sinful, equally guilty, and equally wicked, and that we have no right to judge anyone else for we too can be judged in the same way that we have been judged.

In that way, therefore, we should not judge the people of Israel and Judah that we heard in the first reading either. The kingdom of Israel and Judah fell because of the disobedience and the wickedness of their people, who had left behind the Law of God and followed their own ways, committing evil at every turn. But if we judge them for such, will we not be judged similarly as well? We too, at different moments of our lives, failed to live up to our faith and commit things wicked in the sight of God.

But the first reading today is a vivid reminder of what happened if we remain persistent in our faith and not be repentant. The northern kingdom of Israel in particular had been very wicked and unrepentant, that despite the many prophets sent to them, they continued to engage in their rebellion against God, and as a result, they were exiled from the Land given to them and scattered among the nations.

The kingdom of Judah too did not escape the repercussions of their sinfulness and disobedience, since although prophets had been sent to them, as Israel had been, the people refused to listen to these prophets and instead of judging themselves first and repenting from their sins, they judged the prophets, hunting them down and killing them in cold blood. In this, they persisted in their rebelliousness and perish.

Thus, that too, will be our fate, if we remain in our obstinate behaviour and insistence on keeping our sinful ways and our wickedness. We must realise that we have sinned and we are unworthy of the Lord, but instead of blaming others and ourselves, and worse, instead of blaming God, we should really reflect on our own actions, on our own deeds and on our own words, whether in them, we have lived our faith really well, or whether our slander and our actions have hurt others and cause wicked things to occur before God and men.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, let this day be a day of reminder for us, that we may begin on a committed path of life, one that is no longer judgmental and critical for others, but instead, one that is committed to help one another and strengthen one another in faith, and affirm each other in love. May our actions always be based on love, and let us always be with one another, to help each other to reach the Lord together as one. God be with us all. Amen.