Friday, 13 October 2017 : 27th Week of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 11 : 15-26

At that time, some of the people said, “Jesus drives out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the chief of the demons.” Others wanted to put Him to the test, by asking Him for a heavenly sign.

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, “Every nation divided by civil war is on the road to ruin, and will fall. If Satan also is divided, his empire is coming to an end. How can you say that I drive out demons by calling upon Beelzebul? If I drive them out by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive out demons? They will be your judges, then.”

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God; would not this mean that the kingdom of God has come upon you? As long as a man, strong and well armed, guards his house, his goods are safe. But when a stronger man attacks and overcomes him, the challenger takes away all the weapons he relied on, and disposes of his spoils.”

“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters. When the evil spirit goes out of a person, it wanders through dry lands, looking for a resting place; and finding none, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds the house swept and everything in order. Then it goes to fetch seven other spirits, even worse than itself. They move in and settle there, so that the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 : 22nd Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

1 Corinthians 3 : 1-9

I could not, friends, speak to you as spiritual persons but as fleshly people, for you are still infants in Christ. I gave you milk and not solid food, for you were not ready for it and up to now you cannot receive it for you are still of the flesh. As long as there is jealousy and strife, what can I say but that you are at the level of the flesh and behave like ordinary people.

While one says : “I follow Paul,” and the other, “I follow Apollos,” what are you but people still at a human level? For what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are ministers and through them you believed, as it was given by the Lord to each of them. I planted, Apollos watered the plant, but God made it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God Who makes the plant grow.

The one who plants and the one who waters work to the same end, and the Lord will pay each according to their work. We are fellow-workers with God, but you are God’s field and building.

Friday, 30 January 2015 : 3rd Week of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about the parables which Jesus taught to His disciples, which He taught to them as the way to understand the true meaning of the faith. In the various parables of Jesus, we can clearly see the rich discourse and meaning behind the stories and the tales which Jesus told His disciples and followers. All of these were crafted to suit the understandings of the people, who were mostly farmers, shepherds, fishermen and people from the poor strata of the society.

Many of these people were uneducated, and they were not able to read, and neither could they understand difficult and complicated concepts. Therefore, to lecture them on the Law of God and His many precepts would not go anywhere, as they would not be able to understand them a single bit if done this way. That is why, Jesus told them about God through the use of parables, through stories in which the farmers, shepherds and fishermen would be able to relate, as Jesus used terms and explanations according to what they did in their everyday works and lives.

Today Jesus talked about the parable of the kingdom of God being likened to a mustard seed that when planted grows to become a great tree, even though it was once the smallest of seeds. This is to clearly show how the kingdom of God is like. It is not just like some imaginary or utopian kingdom somewhere else beyond our reach. It is not just in our imagination, as the kingdom of God is truly real, and it is all within us all, the believers who are faithful to our Lord, who had brought His kingdom upon us.

The kingdom of God is like a seed planted within each and every one of us. But it will remain dormant as long as nothing is done to make sure that it grows and becomes vibrant and living within us. But if we indeed put the effort to make a difference, by throwing and casting away all that is evil, then we will allow the kingdom of God to grow within us.

What is the kingdom of God, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is not the same as any worldly kingdoms or realms. It is realised when all of us live according to the way of the Lord, that is love, peace, harmony and friendship between all the peoples, all of whom are devoted to the Lord their God, and their loving Father. The kingdom of God is where all of us lives together, all following and obeying the will of God, where no evil exists anymore, and where all of us are reunited with our loving God.

That was the figurative meaning of the mustard tree that Jesus had told His disciples. The mustard tree grows so large, that birds of the sky come and take shelter in its branches. Thus, the kingdom of God ought to grow wide and strong, and encompass all the peoples, all the creations of God, all mankind who had once been lost to God, to the darkness of this world.

In the first reading, St. Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews mentioned about us all having received the faith, and if we hold fast and stay true to that faith, then we shall have nothing to worry about. As long as we do not abandon the faith we have, and as long as we put our trust in God, our Lord will be our guide and protection. For if we look at the Gospel today, we have to note that our Lord had revealed to us His truth through what He had told His disciples in private.

What He had revealed to His disciples, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we too have received through the Church, which preserved the fullness of the truth of our Lord. But there are many others who have yet to hear or to witness this truth, and they still remain engulfed in darkness. And it is our duty and obligation to bring the words of truth to them.

But we cannot be hypocrites of our faith, or else we will be like speaking babbles to the people. We have to therefore translate it into something that they would be able to understand, and that is our actions. That means, we have to make sure that we live according to our faith. We cannot be indifferent to others who need of our love, and we have to be proactive in loving others just as our Lord had loved us.

May Almighty God therefore guide us and show us the way, that we may all be examples and role models for all to see, and so that all of those who see us will come to believe in us, and put their complete trust in us, and thus be saved from eternal death. May God bless us. Amen.

Monday, 29 December 2014 : Fifth Day within the Octave of Christmas, Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we hear about listening to God and obeying His laws, and fulfilling the commandments which He had given to us. It is highlighted in the first reading today from the first letter of St. John the Apostle, that as the servants and disciples of God, that we have to live out our faith and be concrete in that faith, showing it in our actions, words and deeds, and not doing what is contrary to the teachings of our Lord Jesus.

If we call ourselves as the children of God and as the members of His Church, then we have to behave as one. We cannot profess to be the children of God, and yet our actions prove to be completely otherwise. The very reason why it has been so difficult for many to believe in Christ and indeed why many of them refused to believe in Him is because we who are the disciples of Christ preached about Him but we did not practice what we preached.

How can they believe in us and in what we preached to them if we ourselves did not embody what we have preached. Instead, we become an embarrassment of the Faith, and our Lord will not be pleased at us. Not only that we have failed to observe His laws and commandments, but we have also made others to lack the faith in Him because of our own wicked actions and deeds, not in line with what we preached.

Therefore, we have to mean what we say, and we have to act on what we believe in. Otherwise, our faith in God is empty and meaningless, and instead of salvation we will gain condemnation from God and eternal punishment. St. James in his epistle, the letter of St. James, highlighted in it that faith without works is essentially the same as dead. That means faith without action based on that faith is a useless one and indeed, as I have elaborated, this kind of faith is harmful to us.

Yes, and that is the same faith which the hypocrites committed. The Pharisees and the scribes of the Law whom the Lord condemned as hypocrites were externally and outwardly seeming to be pious and good servants of the Lord, but in reality, they have no God in them, for whom they spared no place in their hearts. They preached faith and devotion to God and trumpeted their devotion loud for others to see, and yet they did these for themselves and to satisfy their own vanity.

Jesus condemned them precisely because they have no regards for the Lord and did not obey His laws and commandments as they should have. They have besmirched the Name of the Lord and spat on His precepts. They cared not for the Lord nor for His people but for their own self-aggrandisement. They were the ones who should have recognised the Christ when He came, and yet they doubted Him, rejected Him and laid difficulties along His works and His paths.

Our actions must not be like that of theirs, and instead we have to do as we believed, and we have to act in the way not contradicting the very Creed we profess. And this is what we can learn from the saint whose feast we are celebrating today, namely St. Thomas of Canterbury, also known by his name, St. Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury during the high Medieval age of the twelfth century, during the reign of King Henry II of England.

St. Thomas Becket was a devoted man of God, who followed the will of God wholeheartedly and who took the laws and commandments of God seriously in his heart. He was particularly staunch at the enforcement of the law of God and the Church. He was once a servant of the king entrusted with many matters because of his skills in management, appointed to chancellorship by the king.

The king had hoped that if he appointed St. Thomas Becket to the position of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the primate of England and the chief of the religious officer of the state, he would continue to show preference to serve the king and the state as he had been before. But St. Thomas Becket would prove him to be wrong. He was a faithful and pious servant of the Church, who did not mince his words and who was sorrowed by the great corruption in the lives of the king and his servants.

St. Thomas Becket practiced his faith faithfully to the core of its foundations, fulfilling the teachings of Christ. He showed mercy and love to sinners who sought God’s help, but to those who were wicked and unrepentant, and to those who persisted in their love for the world, he had no love for them. He excommunicated and expelled many from the Church those who had followed the path of the Pharisees, getting themselves rich at the cost of others and those who have caused untold sufferings for many.

He gained the enmity and hatred of many in the king’s court and circles, and this eventually led to a group of knights who plotted to assassinate him as he celebrated the solemn prayers. He was assassinated in cold blood at the holy places, while he surrendered himself completely to God. Those who were involved in the assassination including the king were punished severely by the Church, excommunicated and asked to do serious and long series of penance for their murder of the holy man of God, who was canonised as a martyr and saint soon after his murder.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the example of St. Thomas Becket should inspire us all to walk and practice our faith with genuine intention and devotion to our God. If only that all the faithful would emulate his upright life and devotion to his Faith, then the whole world would have been converted upon seeing our brilliant examples and dedication to the way of the Lord.

It is therefore necessary that we mean what we say, and if we are to preach the Word of God, then we have to mean what we preach and practice it ourselves, so that others who see us may know that we truly belongs to Christ, and not following our own selfish way. May St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Thomas Becket pray for us and intercede for us sinners. Amen.

First Reading :

Psalm :

Gospel Reading :

(Usus Antiquior) Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 27 July 2014 : Epistle

Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Romans.

Romans 6 : 19-23

Fratres : Humanum dico, propter infirmitatem carnis vestrae : sicut enim exhibuistis membra vestra servire immunditiae et iniquitati ad iniquitatem, ita nunc exhibete membra vestra servire justitiae in sanctificationem. Cum enim servi essetis peccati, liberi fuistis justitiae.

Quem ergo fructum habuistis tunc in illis, in quibus nunc erubescitis? Nam finis illorum mors est. Nunc vero liberati a peccato, servi autem facti Deo, habetis fructum vestrum in sanctificationem, finem vero vitam aeternam.

Stipendia enim peccati mors. Gratia autem Dei vita aeterna, in Christo Jesu, Domino nostro.

English translation

Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh; for as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice, unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice.

What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting.

For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.