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?

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we are reminded of just how fortunate all of us are to be the servants and followers of God because each and every one of us are truly precious in His eyes, and we are the most beloved and wonderful of all His creations. As mentioned in the Book of Wisdom from which our first reading was taken from today, although we may have been punished for our sins, but ultimately, immortality and eternal joy is what we have been destined for.

And it is also mentioned how the souls of the just are in the hands of the Lord, and He will surely never let us down, for if He can be so generous in mercy and compassion on all those who have disobeyed and sinned against Him, giving them opportunities one after another and patiently calling on them to return to Him, all the more He will bless and love all more abundantly those who love Him and serve Him. That is why we should really be thankful and grateful for God’s love.

In our Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus used the parable of a servant to illustrate this more succinctly, as He compared the relationship we have with God with that of a servant and his master. At that time, as was common, any servants must obey the commands and expectations of their masters, and they had to do whatever they were told to do, as part of their job and duty, or else they would be punished or fired from their employment.

Therefore as all of us are God’s servants and followers, we ought to do what we are called to do as our obligation and duty to Him, and all the more because our Master is truly a loving and caring Master Who is always ever concerned for our well-being and Who went out of His way to ensure our safety and our salvation from the destruction we should have suffered from because of our sins and wickedness.

Unfortunately, many of us had preferred to remain in sin because we allowed ourselves to be tempted by the many temptations of this world which caused us to fall deeper and deeper into sin and into paths that led us away from God. And the devil and all of his forces are always ever active in trying to strike at us, persuading, coercing, tempting and pressuring us to walk down the path of sin and to disregard and abandon our responsibilities as God’s followers and people.

And amidst all these darkness, we should seek the sources of light, our inspirations in life, by looking at those who have been faithful in their lives and actions, our holy predecessors who showed us the way forward in faith, in their tireless dedication and commitment to God, in their righteousness and in their willingness to suffer and even to die for the sake of their Lord and Master, for their faith in Him.

Today, we have St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, the great martyr of Church and Christian unity, who was a bishop of the Church in what is now Ukraine, during the time when some members of the splintered and divided Church began to seek reconciliation and reunion with the Holy Mother Church. St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was one among those bishops belonging to the Eastern Orthodox communion seeking to return to the embrace of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church under St. Peter and his successors.

Through the Union of Brest which was affirmed in the year of Our Lord 1596, several bishops and their flock rejoined the Mother Church, as what would become eventually the many Eastern Catholic Churches today. Unfortunately, there were quite a few communities and their leaders who were against reunification and reconciliation, and these caused bitter troubles and difficulties for the Christian faithful and their leaders including that of St. Josaphat Kuntsevych.

Regardless of the challenges and the oppositions he had to face, St. Josaphat Kuntsevych worked tirelessly among the people of God, enduring the difficult challenges and committing his time and effort to serve the Lord as a faithful servant and disciple. His efforts managed to gain converts among those who still resisted the efforts at reunion and reconciliation. Nonetheless he still faced significant resistance and eventually, he was murdered by his enemies.

The courage and faith which St. Josaphat Kuntsevych showed us all amidst persecution and challenges of the world both remind us of the obstacles that we as Christians will encounter in life of being faithful to God and also encourages us to follow in his footsteps in serving God just as he has done. Let us all dedicate ourselves anew to God and love Him with ever greater faith and zeal from now on. May God bless us all and be with His Church, and unites all those who believe in Him in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Amen.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 17 : 7-10

At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner’? No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterward.'”

“Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I do not think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.'”

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 : 32nd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Psalm 33 : 2-3, 16-17, 18-19

I will praise YHVH all my days; His praise will be ever on my lips. My soul makes its boast in YHVH; let the lowly hear and rejoice.

The eyes of YHVH are fixed on the righteous; His ears are inclined to their cries. But His face is set against the wicked, to destroy their memory from the earth.

YHVH hears the cry of the righteous and rescues them from all their troubles. YHVH is close to the brokenhearted and saves the distraught.